Drumming Up the Future: Musical Creativity and Drum Circles as a vehicle for personal and social change, and for improved wellbeing amongst women in a pre-release facility

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Music Honours


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

First Advisor

Dr Helen Rusak

Second Advisor

Tim White


Some arts programmes have used drum-circle techniques with the aim of facilitating personal and social change. These include those developed by Arthur Hull in the USA (Hull & Marie, 2014) and Drumbeat projects in Australia (Martin, Wood, Tasker & Coletsis, 2014). There is, however, limited research in the field and none that focuses explicitly on females in pre-release detention facilities. In exploring a range of creative drumcircle activities, informed by theories and practices from music therapy, community music settings and arts programmes in prisons, the present study examines the impact of participation in a ten-week drumming project upon women’s senses of wellbeing, and upon personal and social change. Findings are theorised using Seligman’s PERMA model of wellbeing (Seligman, 2002) and DeNora’s theory of Musical Events (2000, 2003). They illustrate music’s agency in personal and social behaviour and provide additional evidence for the advocacy of musical engagement in prison facilities.

Access Note

Access to this thesis is not available.

Access to this thesis is restricted. Please see the Access Note below for access details.


Thesis Location