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Arts in health in the self-management of chronic respiratory disease

   Physiotherapy and Physician Associate

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  Dr Adam Lewis, Dr Vicky MacBean  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Arts in Health participation is recognised by the World Health Organisation as being beneficial to holistic health outcomes.

Such interventions include singing and dancing, both of which have relevance to physiotherapy in the potential to improve outcomes for people living with chronic respiratory diseases such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or Interstitial Lung Disease (management of symptoms, improving balance and exercise capacity).

A small number of randomised controlled trials have explored the clinical effectiveness of singing for lung health for individuals living with COPD, showing improvements in physical health-related quality of life. Further mechanistic and clinical effectiveness trials are now warranted to further explore the potential of Arts in Health in the management of Chronic Respiratory Disease.

As part of this PhD the student will:

  • Learn different Arts in Health practices applicable to individuals with Chronic Respiratory Disease
  • Perform a systematic review of arts in health intervention content and outcomes
  • Explore physiological changes that occur during performance of arts interventions, when healthy and for individuals living with Chronic Respiratory Diseases
  • Co-design an intervention pilot with a range of stakeholders including individuals with respiratory disease, to explore physiological changes during the repeated performance of Arts in Health exercises


The physiology of singing and implications for ‘Singing for Lung Health’ as a therapy for individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 

Singing for Lung Health—a systematic review of the literature and consensus statement

Moving singing for lung health online in response to COVID-19: experience from a randomised controlled trial

Dance for people with chronic respiratory disease: a qualitative study

What is the evidence on the role of the arts in improving health and well-being? 

Research journey

Doctoral research programmes (PhDs) take a proud place in the world-class research environment and community at Brunel. PhD students are recognised and valued by their supervisors as an essential part of their departments and a key component of the university's overall strategy to develop and deliver world-class research.

A PhD programme is expected to take 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time, with intakes starting in January, April or October.

The general University entrance requirement for registration for a research degree is normally a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree (1st or 2:1) or an international equivalent. A Masters degree is a welcome, but not required, qualification for entry.

Research support

Excellent research support and training

The Graduate School provides a range of personal, professional and career development opportunities. This includes workshops, online training, coaching and events, to enable you to enhance your professional profile, refine your skills, and plan your next career steps as part of the Researcher Development Programme. The researcher development programme (RDP) offers workshops and seminars in a range of areas including progression, research management, research dissemination, and careers and personal development. You will also be offered a number of online, self-study courses on BBL, including Research Integrity, Research Skills Toolkit, Research Methods in Literature Review and Principles of Research Methods.

Library services

Brunel's Library is open 24 hours a day, has 400,000 books and 250,000 ebooks, and an annual budget of almost £2m. Subject information Specialists train students in the latest technology, digital literacy, and digital dissemination of scholarly outputs. As well as the physical resources available in the Library, we also provide access to a wealth of electronic resources. These include databases, journals and e-books. Access to these resources has been bought by the Library through subscription and is limited to current staff and students. 

Dedicated research support staff provide guidance and training on open access, research data management, copyright and other research integrity issues.

Find out more: Brunel Library

Careers support

You will receive tailored careers support during your PhD and for up to three years after you complete your research at Brunel. We encourage you to actively engage in career planning and managing your personal development right from the start of your research, even (or perhaps especially) if you don't yet have a career path in mind. Our careers provision includes online information and advice, one-to-one consultations and a range of events and workshops. The Professional Development Centre runs a varied programme of careers events throughout the academic year. These include industry insight sessions, recruitment fairs, employer pop-ups and skills workshops.

Funding Notes

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: https://www.brunel.ac.uk/research/Research-degrees/Research-degree-funding. The UK Government is also offering Doctoral Student Loans for eligible students, and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.

How good is research at Brunel University London in Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy?

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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