Michael Koon Boon TAN, Ph.D.

Associate Professor in Art and Design
Lab4Living, Culture and Creativity Research Institute
Sheffield Hallam University
Cantor Building, 153 Arundel Street, Sheffield, S1 2NU
United Kingdom
Email: M.K.TAN@shu.ac.uk

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orcid_128x128 orcid.org/0000-0001-8227-0407


My research interest lies at the intersection of art & design, health and wellbeing, and human flourishing. My effort to transform the landscape and culture of care can be observed in my creative practice, research, publications, teaching, collaborations and public engagements.

In my current role, I have developed the new MA in Design for Health, alongside my research responsibilities and PhD supervision.

Recent publications:

  • Tan, M.K.B., Tan, C. M., Tan, S. G., Yoong, J & Gibbons, B (2021) Connecting the Dots: The State of Arts and Health in Singapore, Arts & Health, DOI: 10.1080/17533015.2021.2005643
  • Ho, A.H.Y., Ma, S.H.X.M, Tan, M.K.B., and Bajpai, R.C. (2021) A Randomized Waitlist-Controlled Trial of an Intergenerational Arts and Heritage-based Intervention in Singapore: Project ARTISAN, Frontier Psychology, DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.730709
  • Tan, M.K.B. and Tan, C.M. (2021) Curating Wellness during a Pandemic in Singapore: Covid-19, Museums and Digital Imagination, Public Health, Vol 192, 2021, 68-71, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.puhe.2021.01.006
  • Tan C.M., & Tan M.K.B. (2019). 回艺 (huí yì): Exploring art-based life review to support the relocation process for older adults with dementia in nursing homes. Journal of Applied Arts & Health. https://doi.org/10.1386/jaah_00011_1
  • Tan M.K.B., Atkinson S. (2020) Multiplicity and Encounters of Cultures of Care in Advanced Ageing. In: Atkinson S., Hunt R. (eds) GeoHumanities and Health. Global Perspectives on Health Geography. Springer https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-030-21406-7_14
  • Tan M.K.B. (2020) Towards a caring practice: reflections on the processes and components of arts-health practice, Arts & Health, 12:1, 80-97, DOI: 10.1080/17533015.2018.1494452

As a leading advocate for arts & design for health development in Singapore, my creative practice, publications, collaborations, public engagements, and teaching have contributed to improving community and Long-Term Eldercare through developing and implementing the seminal island-wide nursing home art residency programme in Singapore with The Agency for Integrated Care Singapore (AIC) and the National Arts Council (NAC), supporting community care sectors by developing publicly accessible resources such as the Sparks! Art for Wellness toolkit, and Arts, Ageing and Wellbeing Toolkit; promoting wellbeing of people living with Chronic Illness (Dementia Singapore, Parkinson’s society Singapore, Project Dreamcatcher- Youth with Chronic illness), informed policy development on arts and community wellbeing.

In my previous appointment as an Assistant Professor at the School of Art, Design and Media (ADM), Nanyang Technological University, I led and contributed to arts & design for health development in Singapore by engaging stakeholders in the arts, design, health and social care sector to share and explore the potential of arts and design to improve experiences, services, and products related to health and wellbeing. I developed several platforms to support capability development. Through the Art and Design for Health (AD4H) Lab that I established, I provided an exploratory, critical and creative space for undergraduate, Master (Research) and PhD students to develop their art, design for health and wellbeing projects. My work on arts, ageing and wellbeing has also connected me with the MSc in Applied Gerontology programme at the School of Social Science at NTU. I was invited to develop and teach the interdisciplinary module on Arts, Ageing and Wellbeing. In addition, I was also a member of the Medical Humanities research cluster – School of Social Science.

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  • PhD in Arts and Health (Durham University)
  • M.A. in Photography and Urban Culture (Goldsmiths College)
  • B.F.A. (School of the Art Institute of Chicago)


Fellowship & Research Capability Development

  • NIHR GROW Mental Health Research Programme 2022, UK (Summer 2022) Link
  • Visiting Research Fellow, Center for Art, Design and Social Research (CADSR),Cosmological Gardens, Encuentro VI: Cultivating Caring Cultures, Villa Pinciani, Spoleto, Italy Summer Jun/ JUL 2022

Selected Invited Appointment 

  1. Invited member of the advisory board for the Design for Health Journal (2021- Present)
  2. Invited Reviewer,  Design for Health Journal, Taylor and Francis, (2020- Present)
  3. Invited Guest Editor, Special Topic A Critical Appraisal of Research in Arts, Health and Wellbeing, Frontiers (Health Psychology),(2020- Present)
  4. External Reviewer (2021- 2025), Bachelor (Hons) Design Communication Lancaster University (Campus: Sunway University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
  5. Invited Grant Reviewer (2019), The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development
  6. Singapore Representative, Arts Health Early Career Research Network, UK (2017 – Present).
  7. Member of Ng Teng Fong Hospital Art Advisory Group, JurongHealth (1 Jun 2014 – 30 Jun 2017)
  8. Grant assessor, the Singapore International Foundation, Singapore Internationale Programme (1 Oct 2015 – 31 Mar 2017)
  9. Board member, the Society for Arts in Healthcare, USA (15 Mar 2012 – 22 Jan 2013)

Programme and Course Development

  • MA in Design for Health, Sheffield Hallam University, UK (Developed and approved 2021)
  • Arts, Ageing and Wellbeing Module, MSc in Applied Gerontology programme, School of Social Science, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (Developed and approved 2018)
  • Thinking Photography (Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Elective), School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (Co-developed with Assoc. Prof Oh Soon Hwa, 2018)

Teaching Experience

May 2020 – Present
Associate Professor in Art and Design, Lab4Living, Sheffield Hallam University
Postgraduate Education: PhD Supervision, MA Development

Sep 2007 – June 2020
Assistant Professor, Nanyang Technological University
School of Art, Design and Media, Member of Faculty – Undergraduate Education: 4D Foundation and Visual Communication; Postgraduate Education: MA Research and PhD supervision, MA Taught module – Thinking Photography – Co-teach with Assoc. Prof. Oh Soon Hwa

School of Social Science – Programme Faculty (2018 – Present), MSc in Applied Gerontology, Arts, Ageing and Wellbeing Module

Jan 2007 – Apr 2007
Part-Time Lecturer, Department of Visual and Performing Arts,
National Institute of Education, Singapore

Jan 2007 – May 2007
Part-Time Lecturer, Faculty of Media Arts
MA Supervisor, Faculty of Fine Arts
LaSalle-SIA College for the Arts, Singapore

Jan 2005 – Sept 2005
Part-Time Lecturer, Department of Visual and Performing Arts,
National Institute of Education, Singapore

Jul 2003 – Sept 2005
Part-Time Lecturer, Media Arts Department,
LaSalle-SIA College for the Arts, Singapore