Rhythms in Scotland

Rhythms in Scotland was a workshop programme funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh. A series of events on rhythm were held in Glasgow and Edinburgh during 2012, culminating in the three-day international workshop, Perspectives on Rhythm and Timing (PoRT), in July 2012.

The award holders were Tamara Rathcke and Rachel Smith (University of Glasgow) and the project was developed in collaboration with Fred Cummins (University College Dublin), Anja Lowit (University of Strathclyde), and Katie Overy (University of Edinburgh).

Several of the contributions to PoRT were published in 2014 in the form of a special issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, entitled "Communicative rhythms in brain and behaviour".

The issue was launched at the University of Glasgow on 25 November 2014 with talks from Fred Cummins ("The two faces of rhythm") and Nigel Fabb ("Poem, brain, speech, rhythm") and a fascinating performance by sound poet Hannah Silva.



Perspectives on Rhythm and Timing

Perspectives on Rhythm and Timing was an interdisciplinary workshop held at the University of Glasgow, UK, on July 19-21, 2012. It formed part of a Scotland-based event series around the unified theme of rhythm supported by the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

PoRT was structured around inspiring orientation sessions from linguistic-phonetic (Francis Nolan, Alice Turk, Jelena Krivokapic), neurobiological (Ed Large, Sophie Scott, Sarah Hawkins) and clinical (Sonja Kotz, Anja Lowit, Katie Overy) perspectives.

Fred Cummins provided ‌a tutorial introduction to dynamical systems modelling. See the PoRT2012-Programme and PoRT2012-Abstracts for details of over 70 presentations spanning the disciplines of neurobiology, music psychology, linguistic phonetics, poetry, forensics, computational modelling, clinical linguistics, and sociology. Congratulations to the winners of our student prizes, Sylvie Nozaradan ("Selective neuronal entrainment to the beat, spontaneously unfolded while listening to syncopated musical rhythms") and Maria Witek ("...And I feel good! Subjective, neural and embodied correlates of the pleasure of groove").

Although our funding has now drawn to a close, watch this space for details of future events organised by the Rhythms in Scotland (RiS) network. 

PoRT group photo

Contact: PoRT was organised by Tamara Rathcke and Rachel Smith. You can also follow us at @RiS_2012 on Twitter or join our low-traffic rhythm-community JISCmail list.

The scientific committee were Fred Cummins (University College Dublin), Anja Lowit (University of Strathclyde), Katie Overy (University of Edinburgh), Tamara Rathcke (University of Kent), Rachel Smith (University of Glasgow).

A one-day symposium, Approaches to Rhythm and Timing in Scotland Today (ARTiST), was held on June 1st, 2012 at St. Cecilia's Hall, the University of Edinburgh (Cowgate, Edinburgh EH1 1NQ). We invited researchers who were based in Scotland and working on rhythm or closely related topics. The list of participants can be viewed here: ARTiST participants.

In the morning session, the participants briefly presented their lab facilities, research programmes and complementary data, and outlined open questions they were interested in pursuing. The afternoon session consisted of several focus groups, each guided by a designated discussion leader, on themes according to participants’ interests. We also heared a talk about collaborative funding opportunities, kindly offered by Edinburgh Research and Innovation group. The ARTiST schedule successfully initiated knowledge exchange and revealed some potential for collaborations across Scotland.

ARTiST was hosted by

As a collaborative project between the Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde, a half-day seminar on rhythm models was held in March 2013 at the Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) Unit of the University of Strathclyde. The seminar introduced 40 students of phonetics and SLT to current models of rhythm and timing.

The organisers, Anja Lowit, Tamara Rathcke and Rachel Smith, gave orientation lectures from clinical and linguistic-phonetic perspectives, and led a discussion of common themes. The theoretical introduction was followed by hands-on small-group exercises examining data from clinical praxis, to facilitate transfer of skills between the two student groups.

Non-native learners frequently struggle with the prosodic aspects of English, and the rhythms of Scottish accents differ dramatically from those of the widely-taught varieties Southern British or Mainstream American. It is interesting to explore how training in production and perception of the rhythms of an accent might help learners understand and be understood.

In February 2012, we organised a half-day tutorial on rhythmic aspects of English as foreign language at the University of Glasgow. Around 20 international students at the University of Glasgow participated and feedback suggested they found the workshop very useful.

An ongoing collaboration between the University of Glasgow and Micro-Phonics Ltd through an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award explores these issues further. Please contact Ewa Wanat for more information.