This group brings together arts-based and participatory scholars from medicine, nursing & midwifery, and the performing arts, as well as a leading NGO for migrants. Our vision is to develop increased understanding of the role of arts-based methods as participatory strategies for involving migrants in health research.

Migration is a global phenomenon and in 2016 WHO Europe published the first ever WHO strategy and action plan for refugee and migrant health. 17% of the population of Ireland is now born outside the country. In line with international imperatives for Public and Patient Involvement (PPI), involving migrants in health research is important. However, there is a persistent pattern of migrants’ exclusion from health-related participatory spaces.

University of Limerick scholars are field leaders in participatory approaches to health research. There is also a pioneering cohort of scholars focused on arts-based research and health, particularly in relation to singing. Both groups have developed capacity in participatory and arts-based research with specific reference to issues of migration.

Combined, we represent a unique and innovative collaboration to support existing and new collaborations and to shape national and international migrant health research and policy. Drawing on our experience of using participatory and arts-based methods, and utilising the existing infrastructure of the PPI theme in the Health Research Institute (HRI) at the University of Limerick (UL) we will work with existing civic engagement energies including the UL Sanctuary group and UL Engage towards three key goals:

Research: to expand the evidence base for the role of arts-based methods in migrant health research and to evaluate training in the use of participatory and arts-based methods.

Collaboration and networking:  to develop stronger links between arts, heath and migrant research energies within the university and beyond, and model networking strategies such as the Irish World Music Café.

Capacity Building and Training: to develop training opportunities in arts-based research methods for health workers, migrants and researchers, with a view to building skill, knowledge, resources, and confidence in the application of this approach.

Our People

Principal Investigator: Prof Helen Phelan (Irish World Academy of Music and Dance)

Research Team

Co-Applicant: Prof Anne MacFarlane (Graduate Medical School)

Co-Applicant: Dr. Sylvia Murphy Tighe (Department of Nursing & Midwifery)

Official Collaborator: Dr. Tríona McCaffrey (Irish World Academy of Music and Dance)

Official Collaborator: Dr. Hilary Moss (Irish World Academy of Music and Dance)

Official Collaborator: Dr. Susann Huschke (Graduate Medical School)

Official Collaborator: Maebh Barry (Department of Nursing & Midwifery)

Postdoctoral Researcher: Dr Fran Garry

Official Collaborator: Ahmed Hassan, Doras Luimní


Connolly, L. & Moss, H. (2019) 'Music, spirituality and dementia: Exploring joint working between pastoral care professionals and music therapists to improve person-centred care for people with dementia (Innovative Practice)', Dementia (London, England), Available:

Dingle, G. A., Clift, S., Finn, S., Gilbert, R., Groarke, J.M., Irons, Y., Bartoli, A. J., Lamont, A., Launay, J., Martin, E.S., Moss, H., Sanfilippo, K. R., Shipton, M., Stewart, L., Talbot, S.,Tarrant, M., Tip, L., & Williams, E. J. (2019) 'An Agenda for Best Practice Research on Group Singing, Health, and Well-Being', Music & Science, 2, Available:

Fitzpatrick, K., Moss, H. and Harmon, D. (2019) 'Music in the chronic pain experience: An Investigation into the Use of Music and Music therapy by Patients and Staff at a Hospital Outpatient Pain Clinic', Music and Medicine, 11, 6- 22.

Hannigan, A., Villarroel, N., Roura, M., LeMaster,J., Basogomba, A., Bradley, C., MacFarlane, A. (2020) Ethnicity recording in health and social care data collections in Ireland: where and how is it measured and what is it used for? International Journal for Equity in Health

McCaffrey, T., Cheung, P. S., Barry, M., Punch, P., & Dore, L. (2020). The role and outcomes of music listening for women in childbirth: An integrative review. Midwifery, 83. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2020.102627

McNamara, P., Wang, R., Moss, H. (2019) 'Exploring a potential role for music therapy to promote positive communication and emotional change for couples: A single-session pilot case study'. Approaches - an Interdisciplinary Journal of Music Therapy, Available:

Moss, H. & O' Donoghue, J. (2019) 'An evaluation of workplace choir singing amongst Health Service staff in Ireland', Health promotion international, Available:

Nelligan, S., Hayes, T., & McCaffrey, T. (2020). A personal recovery narrative through Rap music in music therapy. In A. Hargreaves & A. Maguire (Eds.), Schizophrenia: Triggers and Treatments, (pp. 233-268). New York: Nova Science.

Nelligan, S., & McCaffrey, T. (2020). An investigation of music therapists’ experiences of verbal dialogue in music therapy sessions. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 20(1). Retrieved from:

O'Donoghue, J., Moss, H., Clements-Cortés, Freeley, C. (2020) `Therapist and individual experiences and perceptions of music therapy for adolescents who stutter: A qualitative exploration'. Nordic Journal of Music Therapy

O'Neill, D., Kelly, B., O'Keeffe, S, Moss, H (2020) 'Mainstreaming medical humanities in continuous professional development and postgraduate training. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 20 (2),208 - 11.

Tierney, E., Hannigan, A., Kinneen, L., May,C.,  O’ Sullivan, M., King, R., Kennedy, N., and MacFarlane, A. (2019) Interdisciplinary team working in the Irish primary healthcare system: Analysis of ‘invisible’ bottom up innovations using Normalisation Process Theory. Health Policy

van den Muijsenbergh METC, LeMaster JW, Shahiri P, Brouwer M, Hussain M, Dowrick C, Papadakaki M, Lionis C and MacFarlane A. (2020) Participatory implementation research in the field of migrant health: Sustainable changes and ripple effects over time. Health Expectations


Helen Phelan and Fran Garry delivered a workshop on "Arts-Based Methods in Health Research" as part of the Public and Patient Involvement Summer School (June 25-26, 2020). Several workshop participants expressed interest in ongoing involvement with PART-IM training opportunities.

To mark World Refugee Day (June 20th) the "Irish World Music Cafe" launched a week of on-line video contributions from around the world, culminating in a live cafe event on June 26th, 2020. The cafe was started by Helen Phelan in 2016 as a social and cultural space for newcomers to meet other people living in Ireland. The participatory ethos of the cafe is being utilised by PART-IM as a model for the development of arts-based partnerships.

The two day symposium on Arts-Based Approaches to Health Research postponed in the context of the COVID crisis has been re-scheduled as a series of online webinars which will take place during the Fall semester. Highlight events include:


Social Media Links

Irish World Music Cafe Facebook Page: