Music, Health and Wellbeing

Led by Caroline Bithell from the Music department, this research group is concerned with the diverse ways in which music making can enhance the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities.

It aims to develop theoretical understandings of the impact of music in specific socio-cultural contexts in a way that enriches professional practice and contributes to the strategic case for supporting musical interventions in community and healthcare settings.

The group seeks to bring ethnographic and interpretative methodologies into dialogue with social-scientific and healthcare approaches and with the working methods and insights of practitioners as a way of exploring, theorising and presenting evidence for the use of music as a tool for individual transformation and social change.

In this, it is informed by work in applied ethnomusicology, community music therapy, medical humanities, the social sciences and health sciences.


The group encourages research interactions between academics and practitioners with professional interests in the field by hosting a range of events, including:

  • fora and networking events at which group members present work-in-progress, creative practice, case studies and research findings;
  • participatory workshops offering opportunities for group members to demonstrate and share methodologies and creative content with one another;
  • open training and workshop events focusing on skills and methodologies for those working in community, educational and healthcare settings; 
  • public showcases featuring presentations by group members and guests, with invitations extended to a range of potential stakeholders and users.

Recent events

Colleagues from Music, Nursing and Social Care, Creative Manchester and Manchester Camerata mounted a half-day online workshop on Music, Health and Wellbeing as part of the 2020 ESRC Festival of Science in November 2020.

Featuring presentations by researchers, practitioners and policy makers, and with a special focus on Music and Dementia, the event also showcased research carried out at the University by Simon Industrial Fellow Helena Bull under the supervision of professors Caroline Bithell and John Keady, in association with Manchester Camerata’s ‘Camerata in the Community’ programme.


The group's growing membership joins academics with community musicians, arts practitioners and consultants based in Greater Manchester.

Members have professional experience working in diverse settings with groups such as children with acquired brain injury, older people with dementia, and refugees, as well as in the wider community.