EFDSS launches Musicians in Museums scheme

A new project to bring the collections at three national museums to life through traditional music has been unveiled by the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS).

The national development agency for the folk arts has opened applications for the first in its Connections – Musicians in Museums series which will give musicians 12-month residencies in the following museums:

  • National Coal Mining Museum for England (near Wakefield, West Yorkshire)
  • National Maritime Museum (Greenwich, London)
  • Museum of English Rural Life (Reading, Berkshire)

Artists will receive a £5,000 bursary to develop new music inspired by the museum’s collections and deliver outreach activities to engage people with the museums and folk music. The scheme will run for two years and is funded by Help Musicians UK.

The first residency with the National Coal Mining Museum will start in Autumn 2017 and applications are open at www.efdss.org/efdss-artists-development/musicians-in-museums. The closing date for applications is 31 July 2017 and interviews will be held at the museum on 12 and 13 September 2017.

Residencies with the National Maritime Museum and the Museum of English Rural Life will be advertised in September 2017 for a January 2018 start.

Katy Spicer, EFDSS Chief Executive and Artistic Director, said:

‘This is an exciting creative and learning opportunity for six musicians over the next two years. We are inviting applications from musicians who are currently working in the traditional folk sector and have a strong knowledge of traditional English songs and tunes. They will explore the creative links between the tangible culture and history of their museum’s collections and artefacts and the intangible culture and history of folk songs and tunes. We are looking for imaginative musicians with excellent creative and teaching skills who can demonstrate a passion for the project and innovative ways to engage new audiences.’


More information and how to apply

One artist will be appointed per museum per year and offered a bursary of £5,000 to provide funding for:

  • research and creative time over a year including an agreed number of contact days with the host museum
  • devising and delivering 10 days of learning programme
  • devising and writing learning resources to accompany the learning programme to be used by EFDSS and the host museum
  • creating 15 to 20 minutes of new music (song and/or instrumental)
  • one public performance at the end of the residency at the host museum. A further performance at EFDSS’s performance venue, Cecil Sharp House, may also be arranged

There is also a travel and accommodation allowance of £500. The museum may arrange with the artist (and pay for directly) additional teaching days within reason.


Header photo: Folk musician, John McCusker performing with his band

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