Academic Profile

Academic Profile

Asst Prof Michael Thaddeus Tan Koon Boon

Assistant Professor

School of Art, Design and Media
College of Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences

Phone: (+65)6316 8991
Office: ART 4-30

  • PhD University of Durham 2017
  • MA (Photography & Urban Cultures) University of London, Goldsmiths Coll. 2006
  • BFA Sch. of the Art Inst. of Chicago 2001

Since joining the School of Art, Design and Media (ADM) in September 2007, Asst. Prof. Michael Tan has taught in the area of 4D Foundation Studies and Visual Communication. Using art and design practice as a starting point, his work explores the role art and design in fostering an inclusive and supportive society by developing creative strategies that attend to health and well-being inequality and encourages human flourishing.

Michael holds a PhD in Arts and Health from Durham University, a Masters in Photography & Urban Cultures from Goldsmiths College, University of London and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is also a recipient of the Singapore National Arts Council Postgraduate Scholarship (2012) and was awarded the Nanyang Award for Excellence in Teaching by NTU in 2011.

His current professional and public services include serving as an art advisory committee member at Ng Teng Fong Hospital, Singapore, and an assessor for the Singapore Internationale Programme by the Singapore International Foundation. Prior to joining NTU, he served as a part-time lecturer at LaSalle College of the Arts and at The National Institute of Education (NIE) where he taught a range of media art related courses in studio practice, theory and history. As a visual artist, he has exhibited widely in Singapore and internationally. And where an opportunity arises, he does occasionally venture into curatorial work.
Research Interests
Areas of research Interest:
- Arts & Design for Health and wellbeing
- Creative Ageing
- Cultural engagement for Health and Well-being (eg Museums, Health and Wellbeing)
- Socially-Engaged Art
- Arts-based Social/ Health Research / Visual Methods

Asst Prof Tan's research interest explores art and design practices in relation to health & Well-being, care, aging, and human flourishing. Informed by assemblage theory, he explores the role of creative practice in shaping culture of care in various care settings and the wider context of medical humanities, health communication and equality.

He is active in mapping arts and health practice locally and internationally, examining the roles and contributions of artists and designers operating in health and caring context or who are involved in socially engaged creative practices. He is also interested to explore methods to prepare artist and designer to undertake such endeavors and ways through which embodied processes can facilitate mindfulness in interpersonal interaction particularly in health and care context. As a practitioner in arts and health, he has designed and conducted art programs for the patients, staff and caregivers, in organization such as the Parkinson's Disease Society Singapore (PDSS), Singapore General Hospital, National University Hospital,Tan Tock Seng Hospital. He has previously partnered The Agency for Integrated Care in an exploratory study to examine the impact of art engagement on general wellbeing of residents at the participating nursing home.

His most recent art and health project is with the Alzheimer's Disease Association (ADA) where he developed a Art and Dementia project titled 'Let's have tea at the Museum'

Project In the News:
- The Tulip Story - Participatory Arts For Parkinson Patient and Caregiver

Grants Awarded:

- National Arts Council, Singapore, Let’s have tea at the Musuem – an art and dementia project, Principal Investigator in partnership with Alzheimer’s Disease Association (ADA), Singapore for Arts and Dementia Project.
- Research and Development Grant, The National Arts Council, Singapore, Art Engagement, Aging and Wellbeing in Nursing Home, Principal Investigator.

- Agency For Integrated Care, Singapore, Arts in Healthcare Programme at Sree Narayana Mission Home,
- National Youth Council Pitch to Shine Grant, Singapore, Project Dreamcatcher 2012, Collaborator and artist mentor for Project DreamCatchers National University Hospital.

- Ministry of Education Academic Research Fund (MOE ACRF) TIER 1, Singapore, Art and Design In Healthcare: A Pilot study on the significances and role of art and design to improve the quality of life of patients in Parkinson’s Disease, Principal Investigator.

- Ministry of Education Academic Research Fund (MOE ACRF) TIER 1, Singapore, Shoes and social fabrics: Exploring the journeys and life-worlds of a pair of flip-flops, Principal Investigator. Collaborator Dr Caroline Knowles, Professor of Sociology, Goldsmiths College, University of London

- Small Research Grant, The British Academy, UK, Shoes and social fabrics: exploring the journeys and life-worlds of a pair of flip-flops, Collaborator, visual artist in an interdisciplinary research project with Dr Caroline Knowles Professor (Sociology), Goldsmiths College, University of London.
Current Projects
  • Art & design in healthcare: a pilot study on the significances and roles of art and design to improve the quality of life
  • Shoes and social fabrics: Exploring the journeys and life-worlds of a pair of flip-flops
Selected Publications
  • Michael Tan. (2015). The Tulip Story. Self-Published.
  • Tan, Michael Koon Boon. (2014, November). Arts in healthcare - A human-centred art practice? Some conceptual considerations towards better practice for artist in care settings. Paper presented at 6th Annual International Arts and Health Conference, 11 – 13 November 2014, The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia.
  • Tan, Michael K B. (2013, January). Expanding Culture of Care: Imagining Art, Care and Well-being. Paper presented at Up and Up: A Forum on Community Care, Singapore.
  • Tan, Michael K B. (2012, November). More than just an activity: Learning, Bonding and self actualization with Creative Paper Clay for individuals affected by Parkinson's Disease,. Paper presented at 4th Annual International Arts and Health Conference, Notre Dame University, Fremantel, Australia.
  • Tan, Michael K B. (2012, May). Expanding Culture of Care: Arts in Healthcare In Singapore. Paper presented at Society for the Arts in Healthcare 23rd Annual International Conference, Detriot, USA.

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