Achieve Your Greatness (AYG)

London, UK

  • The Big Lottery Fund
  • The Garfield Weston Foundation

'I haven’t witnessed this type of project before and that’s why this is exciting to me. This is what I wish our education system had time to do – to ask young people, who are you and how can you be great?' - Pia Furtado, The Philippa Project

The overall aim of the programme is to develop participants' artistic and transferable skills which fall under the Foundation's 5Cs:

  • Creativity
  • Confidence
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Critical Thinking

AYG aims to address:

  • the de-prioritisation of arts subjects in schools
  • funding cuts that restrict access to the arts for those from underprivileged backgrounds
  • a decline in the teaching of soft skills as part of the curriculum


Achieve Your Greatness (AYG) is the Abram Wilson Foundation‘s multi-arts education programme for children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

It targets schools in deprived areas and works with teachers to identify students who are at risk of bullying or exclusion, lacking in confidence, struggling to find their place at school and are not engaging in the arts at school. AYG is particularly interested in working with young people who are from diverse backgrounds, are eligible for Free School Meals or have Special Educational Needs.

Programme participants access high-quality, professionally trained artists who deliver music workshops combining theatre, dance and creative writing.

Musicians in Museums

National Maritime Museum, London, United Kingdom

  • To offer a creative opportunity for a professional musician working in the English folk idiom (song/instrumental) to draw upon the collection(s) and themes of the museum to inspire a new piece of music;
  • For the artist to develop their communication skills through leading workshops with eg young people, schools, adult groups, which will illuminate their creative practice and process and providing a different way to present the museum’s collections.
  • To bring together tangible and intangible heritage through the creation of a new musical work and associated education projects and develop new audiences for both.



The Programme

The English Folk Dance and Song Society in partnership with the National Coal Mining Museum for England, the National Maritime Museum, and the Museum of English Rural Life, and funded by Help Musicians, are offering a creative opportunity for folk musicians to become artists-in-residence at one of the aforementioned museums over a 12 month period.

The programme is aimed at folk music artists working in the English folk idiom with a strong knowledge of traditional English music material (songs/tunes), proven creative excellence that draws upon English traditional material, and with proven teaching skills.

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

  • research and creative time over a year’s period including an agreed number of contact days with the host museum;
  • devise and deliver 10 days of learning programme;
  • devised and write learning materials to accompany the learning programme to be used be used by EFDSS and the host museum;
  • create 15-20 minutes of new music (song and/or instrumental)
  • 1 public performance  at the end of the residency at the host museum.  A further performance at Cecil Sharp House may also be arranged; an additional performance fee would be paid for this.

There is also a travel/accommodation allowance of £500

The museum may arrange with the artist, and pay for directly, additional teaching days within reason.

The Artist will work with the museum over a period of 12 months, spending sufficient time with the museum staff and collections to fully understand the materials and themes of the host museum.  The exact schedule for the year is flexible and aims to enable artists to continue to undertake a level of other work eg touring, recording etc, but a commitment to this project is crucial.  The Artist will be supported by the Artists Development Team at EFDSS and is also encouraged to use the Vaughan William Memorial Library (EFDSS’s Library) for research (in person/online).

The Residencies

National Coal Mining Museum for England, Wakefield, Yorkshire

The National Coal Mining Museum for England is based at the site of Caphouse Colliery in Overton, near WakefieldWest Yorkshire. It opened in 1988 as the Yorkshire Mining Museum and was granted national status in 1995. The museum offers guided underground tours where visitors can experience the conditions miners worked in and see the tools and machines they used as the industry and the mine developed through the years. Above ground there is a visitor centre which houses exhibitions on the social and industrial history of the mines. The extensive library and archive contains issues of “Coal News” and details of collieries throughout England. Other features include the pit head baths, steam winding house, boiler house and coal screening plant. It is possible to see former working pit ponies, ride the paddy train and follow the nature trail near to Hope Pit and water filtration tanks. | |


Late September/early October 2017 for 12 months


The Artist will work alongside the exhibition team to identify the ‘unseen’ collections of the museum, in particular the art/photography collection and the Library collection.


The Artist will work with some/all of the following:

  • Cultural Olympiad project – workshops to celebrate culture and creativity in the mining industry (families –  autumn half term. 2017)
  • young musicians (11+) who attend Wakefield Music Hub music centres
  • young musicians from local secondary schools 
  • museum volunteers
  • family audience – over summer holiday 2018

National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

The National Maritime Museum (NMM) in Greenwich, London, is the leading maritime museum of the United Kingdom and may be the largest museum of its kind in the world. The historic buildings form part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site, and it also incorporates the Royal Observatory and 17th-century Queen’s House. In 2012, Her Majesty the Queen formally approved Royal Museums Greenwich as the new overall title for the National Maritime Museum, Queen’s House, the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, and the Cutty Sark | |

Period – January 2018 for 12 months

Full details will be advertised in September

Museum of English Rural Life, Reading

The Museum of English Rural Life is owned and managed by the University of Reading.  It was established by academics in the Department of Agriculture in 1951 to capture and record the rapidly changing countryside following World War II.  In 2005 the Museum moved to its current premises in St Andrew’s Hall, a building designed by Sir Alfred Waterhouse in 1880 for local businessman Alfred Palmer of the Huntley & Palmer biscuit company.  The Museum was awarded £1.8million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) in 2014 for the redevelopment of the galleries, reopening in October 2016. The new Museum uses its diverse and surprising collection to explore how the skills and experiences of farmers and craftspeople, past and present, can help shape our lives now and into the future. The Museum has worked alongside rural people, local communities and specialist researchers to create displays and activities that engage with important debates about the future of food and the ongoing relevance of the countryside to all our lives. ||

Period – January/February 2018 for 12 months

Full details will be advertised in September

English Folk Dance and Song Society

The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) was established in 1932 by the merger of the Folk-Song Society, founded in 1898, and the English Folk Dance Society, founded by Cecil Sharp in 1911. As the national development organisation for the folk arts, EFDSS aims to place the traditional arts of England at the heart of our cultural life – preserving, protecting, disseminating and promoting English traditional folk arts. Since its beginnings EFDSS has been supporting artists and practitioners, engaging people in folk arts activities, and raising the profile of this art form.  This is currently achieved through programmes of performance, participation and education at EFDSS’ London venue, Cecil Sharp House, and with partners in the UK and overseas. EFDSS is increasingly developing projects to support the creative development of artists and expanding their opportunities for performance. | |