Drumming for community building: The development of the Community Drumming Network (CDN) and its impact in Singapore society | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 7, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1752-6299
  • E-ISSN: 1752-6302



This article is based on the commissioned research report submitted to the National Arts Council (NAC) of Singapore on the Community Drumming Network (CDN). The eight-month-long qualitative field research is a collaborative project by the NAC and the UNESCO National Institute of Education Centre for Arts Research in Education (UNESCO NIE-CARE). The two main objectives of the research are: (1) to gain insights into the social impact of the CDN; and (2) to understand the mechanisms of the CDN in order to advocate and support the growth of arts interest groups1 in Singapore. The study was conducted from 30 January to 31 August 2012. The focus of this article is on the factors that make a successful arts interest group in Singapore, highlighting the synergy between community grassroots leaders and government statutory boards. In the Singapore context, government support and events have the capacity to encourage the growth of local interest groups. In the responses gathered in this study about the benefits of engaging in a community interest group, there appears to be a strong goal of harmonizing the diverse ethnic communities and creating intergenerational bonds.2 The model that ensues from this unique situation would hopefully be helpful in understanding local interest groups elsewhere. Central to the study is the art activity that was used to facilitate individuals of different ethnic backgrounds to come together as one community; this is the drum circle. This study shows how the drum circle is found to have the potential to be an effective tool in promoting racial harmony and to bridge the gap between generations. It features the voices of the community members who relentlessly engage in this activity in bringing out the meanings and benefits of the drum circle at the personal and communal levels.


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