The Voice Study Centre and De Montfort University’s Mary Seacole Research Centre are delighted to announce their next online symposium on Singing, Wellbeing and Social Inclusion on 24 September 2021 between 9am and 12:30pm (BST).

The symposium will be held on Zoom and is free of charge.


9:00 Welcome with Prof Raghu Ragavan (Mary Seacole Research Centre, De Montfort University) and Debbie Winter (Voice Study Centre)

9:15 Prof Johann van der Sandt, University of Bozen/Bolzano, Italy

Musical Habits and Wellbeing of adolescent choir singers in Italy, Austria and Finland during Covid-19 Lockdowns

9:45 Dr Sanna Salminen, University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Benefits of Singing reflected in the conceptual framework of social inclusion

10:15 Celi Barberia, Sing Up Foundation, UK

Sing Up: Children and Young People and the benefits of singing

10:45 Emily Foulkes, Singing for Health Network and Voice Study Centre, UK

Singing for Health

11:15 Dr Motje Wolf, De Montfort University and Voice Study Centre, UK

The Effect of Covid-19 Lockdowns on Performer Identities of Professional Singers in the UK

11:45 Plenary

12:15 Good-bye

If you would like to attend, please register using the form below.

Dr Motje Wolf

Dr Motje Wolf was awarded a PhD in Music Education from De Montfort University Leicester (UK) and an MA from the University of Leipzig (Germany) in Musicology and Dramatics. Her research focuses on vocal pedagogy, epistemology and pedagogic knowledge exchange.

She is fascinated by knowledge: who holds it, how is it constituted and shared, how has it developed? Hence, her current research projects include the investigation of Models in Vocal Education (MOVE) where she investigates knowledge models in vocal pedagogy. Furthermore, Dr Wolf is the Editor-in-Chief of the Music MESHGuide project aiming to share relevant pedagogic research with music (and singing) teachers globally. Dr Wolf is an active member in the European Association of Music in Schools, where she is part of the steering committee of the Special Focus Group ‘Singing in Music Education’. Moreover, she sits on the editorial board of the International Journal of Research in Choral Singing. She is a Trustee of the Sing Up Foundation and a member of the Mary Seacole Research Centre at De Montfort University Leicester, UK, where she also holds a position as Senior Lecturer in Education. As part of this role, she carries out research and works with Undergraduate and PhD students in Music Education. Dr Wolf also works as a mezzo-soprano, choir conductor and singing teacher.

Emily Foulkes gained a Distinction in her Master’s in Voice Pedagogy, specialising in Singing for Mental Health, Pain Management, and Trauma-Informed Practice. Her pioneering work within this field led her to establish the Signing for Health Network, attracting National funding to sustain and build the initiative. With a clear mission statement to bridge the gap between theory and practice, Emily has drawn together leading academics and practitioners to engage in knowledge dissemination and research.

Emily has presented at several conferences and events, including the BVA, Voice Geek conference, the MARCH Network, and the Spheres of Singing conference. She was also invited to peer review for the World Health Organisation (WHO). Emily’s recent research Exploring Online singing and Mindfulness for Mental Health is published in the peer-reviewed International Journal for Community Music. She is a trainer for Trauma-Informed Schools UK and is the Director of Music for Good, a music for well-being charity based in Cornwall. In her work in Cornwall, Emily is a practitioner for the Music Education Hub, Primary Healthcare (Social Prescribing), and local hospital. She has delivered training/workshops for Cornwall Music Education Hub, Arts & Health South West, Sing for Pleasure, Voice Workshop, ArtsLink (West Midlands), Trinity Laban (London), NYMAZ (for Music Education Hub leads in Yorkshire), Sing Space and for the Centre for Child Mental Health (London).


Johann van der Sandt completed his studies at the University of Pretoria, and his choral conducting at the Institute of Choral Conducting in Gorinchem, Netherlands. He is a sought after juror, composer and choral clinician.
He is a professional choral conductor and has led numerous choirs throughout his career. Before his appointment as professor of music education at the University of Bolzano in Italy he was professor of choral conducting at the University of Pretoria, South Africa and choir director and musical rector at the Drakensberg Boys Choir School, South Africa. Apart from his teaching and research interests at the University of Bolzano, he also leads the male choir Brummnet and the Provincial Youth Choir of South Tyrol.

Dr Sanna Salminen is an acknowledged music educator in her home country. She works as a university teacher in Music Pedagogy under the Department of Education at the University of Jyväskylä. She graduated with a Licentiate degree from the University of Jyväskylä in 2004 and recently completed her PhD. Her main subject was Music Education and during her studies, she specialized in conducting and multicultural music. She has led and performed in various instrumental and vocal groups, for example medieval and renaissance music, folk music of different cultures, classical music and pop music.

Salminen leads the Vox Aurea Children’s Choir and has also worked as the voice trainer and assistant conductor of Musica Chamber Choir (1998-2005). She also established Ruamjai choir which she conducted from 2000 to 2009. Sanna Salminen has worked as a researcher and a teacher in developmental co-operation projects in South Africa and she is also known for making school music books, arrangements and compositions.


Celi Barberia has been working in music education for over 15 years, through fundraising and policy roles at Youth Music and then communications and marketing roles at Sing Up and has had a lifelong passion for the arts, education and working in charities. Celi worked on the original advocacy and bid which led to Sing Up’s creation and funding via the Department for Education in 2007 – 2012. With a special interest in communications and content development, Celi established and developed the Sing Up website and was Editor of the Sing Up magazine for nearly a decade. With experience in policy development, programme creation, strategic planning, marketing and communications, Celi is now the Head of the Sing Up Foundation, Sing Up’s charitable arm focussed on promoting singing for mental health and wellbeing.

Start typing and press Enter to search