Academic Profile

Academic Profile

Asst Prof Michael Thaddeus Tan Koon Boon

Assistant Professor, School of Art, Design and Media

Asst Prof Michael Thaddeus Tan Koon Boon


Research Cluster/ Affiliation:
- Medical Humanities
- Programme Faculty, MSc Applied Gerontology

Asst. Prof. Michael Tan's 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. Since joining the School of Art, Design and Media in September 2007, he has taught a variety of courses at undergraduate and postgraduate level, namely in the area of 4D Foundation Studies and Visual Communication. His interdisciplinary work in art and health has also connected with the School of Social Science at NTU. He is a member of the Medical humanities cluster and was appointed as a programme faculty in the MSc in Applied Gerontology since July 2018, where he innovated and taught a course on Arts, Ageing and Wellbeing (AG6309). His work has been published in journals including Journal of Arts and Health and Journal of Applied Arts and Health and also shaped arts and cultural policies as well as long term care service development in Singapore. His 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.

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 was awarded the Nanyang Award for Excellence in Teaching by NTU in 2011 and is a recipient of the Singapore National Arts Council Postgraduate Scholarship (2012).


Marina Zaccurelli (PhD, Aug 2017 - Present)
Regina De Rozario (PhD Aug 2018 - Present)
Chun Wan Ying (MA Research Aug 2018 - Present)
Research Interests
Areas of Interest:
- Arts, Design and Culture for Health and Wellbeing
- Creative Ageing
- Health/ Medical Humanities
- Arts in Medicine Education
- Socially-Engaged Art
- Arts-based Social/ Health Research / Visual Methods
- Health Communication

Michael'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/ health humanities and health communication.

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 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, the Alzheimer's Disease Association (ADA) 'Let's have tea at the Museum'.

More recently, he partnered with the Agency for Integrated Care and the National Arts Council to roll out a pilot nursing home Artist In Residency Project (June 2017-March 2018) involving 10 Artists and 9 Nursing Homes. The project result in an exhibition 'Sparks Art Wellness Exhibition' (9-18 Mar2018) which was opened by the President of Singapore

Project In the News:

Sparks Art Wellness Exhibition
-Channel 8 News at 7pm, 9 March 2018
-The Straits Time Online, 9th March 2018
-The Straits Time, 10 March 2018, P. B8
-The Lian He Zao Bao, 10 March 2018

Grants Awarded:

- Academic Medicine Education Institute (AM•EI), Singapore, Art and Dermatology: Enhancing Observation Skills Using Visual Thinking Strategies, Co-PI with Adj Assoc Prof Tan Haur Yueh, Duke-NUS Medical School Singapore

-Ministry of Education Academic Research Fund (MOE ACRF) TIER 1 The State of Arts and Health in Singapore: A Review of Arts and Health Practice, Policy and Development, Principal Investigator

- National Arts Council, Singapore, Let’s have tea at the Museum – 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,
Current Projects
  • Art & Design in Healthcare: A Pilot Study On The Significances and Roles Of Art And Design To Improve the Quality of Life of Patients in Parkinson's Disease.
  • Shoes and social fabrics: Exploring the journeys and life-worlds of a pair of flip-flops
  • The State of Arts and Health in Singapore: A Review of Arts and Health Practice, Policy and Development
Selected Publications
  • Michael Koon Boon Tan. (2019). Art and Design Education in the Ecology of Care. The International Journal of Art & Design Education, .
  • Michael Koon Boon Tan; Sarah Atkinson.(2019). Multiplicity and Encounters of Cultures of Care in Advanced Ageing. Geohumanities and Health(241-259). United Kingdom: Springer.
  • Michael Koon Boon Tan. (2019). Arts health Assemblage. Fourteenth International Conference on The Arts in Society.
  • Michael Koon Boon Tan. (2019, February). Art and Design Education in the Ecology of Care. Paper presented at InternaSonal Journal of Art and Design Conference, Creating Spaces: Inclusivity, ethics and participation in art and design education, Goldsmiths, University of London.
  • Michael Koon Boon Tan. (2018). Towards a caring practice: reflections on the processes and components of arts-health practice. Arts & Health, .

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