For many years, IAP2’s Public Participation Spectrum, which explores different levels of community engagement, has been a part of what I teach in blended workshops where I combine Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) and the Art of Hosting or Participatory Leadership, amongst other frameworks.

Since first delivering the DRUMBEAT program in schools and subsequently becoming a Holyoake DRUMBEAT trainer, I intrinsically knew that this program had the potential to blend into my community engagement and development work. In addition, through having taken part in numerous community drumming circles, the convergence is becoming more apparent.

For this purpose, I have reflected on the connection in greater detail by looking through, what I think, is one of the best critiques of the Spectrum, by Max Hardy; Reflections on the IAP2 Spectrum.

DRUMBEAT’s underpinning theoretical model offers a range of non-threatening engagement methods and is easy for people to access, even if they have never drummed before.  The model benefits individuals, groups and the broader community in the following areas:

Individual level:

o   Positive mood

o   Sense of achievement

o   Increase in self-confidence and self-esteem

Group level:

o   Goals reached through cooperation with others

o   Feeling of belonging with more trust and less antagonism

Community level:

o   Promotes constructive and cooperative behaviours

o   Building positive relationships with peers, family and community

DRUMBEAT is based on 5 Core Elements; Core Rhythms, Discussion & Story Telling, Games, Improvisation and Performance.

In summary, throughout the 10-week DRUMBEAT program there are multiple activities and exercises about discovering individual skills and abilities, exploring the dynamics of working in groups and learning the importance of connecting with others both in the group and with the broader community.

This is achieved through creating a safe space where participants can be courageous and step up to try new things and by sharing individual stories, experiences and insights.

DRUMBEAT offers the space and opportunities for participants to explore individual challenges and to reflect on their relationships with others, including the broader community. Upon reflection, the potential for this program to reach further into the broader community and increase public participation is an obvious next step and will only limited by the facilitator and/or participant’s imagination.

Dee Brooks is a Director of the Jeder Institute, Faculty Member of the ABCD Institute, Facilitator of the ABCD Asia Pacific Network, an Art of Hosting Steward, a Holyoake DRUMBEAT Trainer and the Oceania Director of the International Association of Community Development (IACD)