IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


IOE and Shout at Cancer project wins public engagement award

28 October 2020

UCL Institute of Education (IOE) academic Professor Evangelos Himonides and charity Shout at Cancer have won the Provost’s Public Engagement Experimentation Award for their project looking at beatboxing after laryngectomy.

People stood in a circle at a beatboxing workshop

The annual UCL Provost’s Public Engagement Awards celebrate the achievements of the projects and people whose collaborations have made a positive impact in and with communities locally, nationally and around the globe.

The project brought together clinicians, musicians, patients with laryngectomy and young people from East London to explore the role of beatboxing in voice rehabilitation and raise awareness of the difficulties facing those without voice boxes.

A series of beatboxing workshops for patients and clinicians with UK beatboxing champion Marv Radio, explored the different techniques applicable in speech rehabilitation. These workshops culminated into a final performance, a world premiere of Beatboxing Without a Voice, at the Olympic Village in Stratford, East London. 

The team discovered that beatboxing has helped all participants with their breathing, which is something they hope further systematic research will explore. The collaboration continues to experiment with different forms of singing techniques. In February 2020, a feature-length documentary about the Shout at Cancer choir,  'Can You Hear My Voice?' was released. The film has been screened worldwide and used in clinical settings to raise awareness of the possibilities for those experiencing and caring for laryngectomy patients. The team has also published a methods paper on Frontiers of Psychology (Performance Science), where all methods, tools and materials have been made available openly so that other groups can also benefit from this work.

The awards are organised by the Engagement Team at UCL Culture and sponsored by UCL’s President & Provost Professor Michael Arthur.

Speaking about the award winners, Professor Arthur said: “The value of this work is all the more important as we see communities around our campuses and across the globe where UCL research and teaching is embedded, being adversely impacted by the pandemic.

“These projects show that through genuine partnerships, which embody a spirit of experimentation and respond to communities’ needs, UCL can help make a tangible difference to people’s lives around the world.”

Professor Himonides said: “I am absolutely delighted to accept this award as the celebration of the value of experimentation in engagement that is innovative and impactful for the work that I conducted in collaboration with the Charity Shout at Cancer.

“I am very proud to see how research informed exploration and public engagement can have a continual impact on the lives of vulnerable people but also how absolutely vital the engagement of the public is in strengthening and furthering educational practice.

“Last but not least, I would like to stress the importance of the work that we do as educators here at the IOE; none of this work would have been possible if I hadn't had the opportunity to forge this meaningful synergy with Dr Thomas Moors from Shout at Cancer, a brilliant medical practitioner who had undertaken the 'Choral Conducting, Leadership and Communication' postgraduate module that I lead.”



  • Image credit: Professor Evangelos Himonides