First annual public Christmas lecture will bring ground-breaking drumming research to life

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Hartpury University is preparing to host its first ever annual public lecture that is hoped to become a regular event taking place each Christmas. The inaugural event will bring showcase ground-breaking neuroscience research that uncovered the benefits of drumming for people with autism spectrum disorder. It’s hoped that the annual lecture will establish itself as an exciting new way to present science and research to the community.  

Drumming into Christmas: Science of Drumming and Wellbeing will take place on Thursday 15 December at 7pm (6.30pm arrival). The event will be an informal and entertaining night with mulled wine, mince pies, and plenty of drumming, including opportunities to have a go yourself. Associate Dean at Hartpury University, Professor Stephen Draper, will explore the story of the influential Clem Burke Drumming Project through music and in the form of a festive quiz. The project was co-founded in 2008 by legendary Blondie drummer Clem Burke, as well as Professor Draper himself and Professor Marcus Smith from the University of Chichester.

What initially set out as a project to examine the physiological demands of playing the drums ‘live’ during one-off (i.e. Glastonbury) and multiple gigs (i.e. World Tour), grew quickly into exploring the physical, mental and health benefits of drumming.

Professor Stephen Draper will discuss the formation of the Clem Burke Drumming Project, showing how the team worked with rock and pop drummers along the way. Notably, he’ll explain the neuroscience behind the act of learning to drum and the impact of drumming in autism spectrum disorder and other populations.

The purpose of the event is to engage with the local community and showcase some of the leading research being carried out at Hartpury University.

To bring the research and its findings to life, guest drummer DJ Stephani B will perform during the lecture. Gloucestershire-based Inspire Drums will also be part of the event.

Professor Stephen Draper said: “We’re really looking forward to our first ever annual public Christmas lecture and can’t wait to bring a hugely important and influential piece of research to life in an entertaining and engaging way.

“As an institution, we’re committed to sharing the research we do with our local community and want to show how research really makes a difference in practice. Who knows, an event like this may also inspire the next generation of students and researchers.”

Members of the public can attend the event for free but will need to register via Eventbrite. Guests are asked to donate to the Heart Heroes ‘I Can Drum’ initiative that brings physical activity through drumming to children with congenital heart conditions.

Research carried out by Hartpury University, submitted as part of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 process, was recognised as ‘world-leading’ and ‘internationally excellent’, placing Hartpury amongst a prestigious group of well-established institutions.

The REF is a UK-wide assessment of the quality of research in universities undertaken by expert review panels and is undertaken on behalf of Government by the funding councils for higher education.

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