From: Jo Cunningham [press_at_efdss_dot_org]

Sent: 22 March 2012 09:54

Subject: EFDSS introduces new role to support folk artists


22 March, 2012




A new role to offer more support and create new opportunities for folk artists has been introduced by the organisation that represents folk culture, the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS).


Neil Pearson has been appointed as Artist Development Manager at EFDSS. Key aspects of his job will be to manage the Society?s Folk Rising programme, which showcases emerging musicians, commission new projects and administer the bursary programme.


Neil, who is also Programming Manager for EFDSS?s headquarters Cecil Sharp House in Camden, is part of the management team that organises Shrewsbury Folk Festival, one of the most progressive and forward-looking folk festivals in the UK.


In recent years he has been Project Director for two high-profile and successful multi-artist projects; both the Darwin Song Project and the Cecil Sharp Project have seen British and North American folk musicians come together for a residential period with the aim of creating new works together.


Alistair Anderson, the founder of Folkworks, which has done much to introduce more young people to traditional music, has welcomed the new appointment.


Anderson, who also developed England?s first degree course in folk and traditional music at Newcastle University, said: ?I truly believe that traditional music has an important place in contemporary society and this new role will give young and emerging artists valuable support.


?These gifted youngsters will be the ones who create a new place for folk arts alongside all the other elements of our multifaceted cultural life today. It is important that they have a range of experiences and performance contexts to feed their love of the music and power an ambition to connect with new audiences and inspire a whole new generation to join in and enjoy singing, playing and dancing themselves.?


EFDSS?s Chief Executive Katy Spicer said: ?Since 2009, EFDSS has been proactively working with artists, musicians and dancers to offer them training and creative opportunities.  Neil?s experience and knowledge will enable EFDSS to provide even more training and creative opportunities, strengthening the support we can offer.?


Artist development projects to date:


Funding for creative research and development to artists including Laurel Swift, Debs Newbold, Hazel and Emily Askew, and Tim Van Eyken.  

Bursaries to help with areas of professional development including marketing, touring opportunities, international showcases and material for a CD and concert.


Support to Jon Boden?s inspirational internet project A Folk Song a Day.  


Associate Artist status given to Laurel Swift, Jackie Oates, Lisa Knapp and Tim Van Eyken as artists developing new and innovative work rooted in a traditional English folk repertoire.


Folk Rising, giving a platform to 115 new and emerging artists some of whom are now becoming familiar faces on the folk music circuit including Walsh and Pound, The Staves, Blair Dunlop, Ewan McClennan, Emily Barker, Sam Sweeney and Hannah James, Sam Carter.


Folk Rising performances in London (CSH/Nest Collective) and at Keith Summers Festival, Beverley and Hull (Beverley Folk Festival), The Sage Gateshead, Derby Music Month, Fylde Folk Festival, Bright Phoebus Sheffield. 



For more information or images please contact press_at_efdss_dot_org or Sophia Linehan (Director of Marketing and Communications) E: sophia_at_efdss_dot_org / T: 020 7485 2206 ext.39



  1. For over 100 years the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS), and its parent organisations, have been preserving, protecting, disseminating and promoting the English folk arts. EFDSS is the national folk arts development organisation for England, aiming to place the indigenous folk arts of England at the heart of our cultural life. Through programmes of performance, outreach and education at its headquarters, Cecil Sharp House in north London, and around the country, EFDSS seeks to support folk artists? and practitioners? development. EFDSS aims to promote the best of folk arts through a range of mediums including dance, music, song, film, exhibitions, and publications. Cecil Sharp House is also home to the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library ? the national folk music library and archive ? which contains a vast collection of books, manuscripts, films and audio-visual materials, serving as a touchstone for anybody working in the folk arts.

    In March 2011 EFDSS received confirmation of Arts Council England National portfolio funding. The Vaughan Williams Library is supported by the R.V.W. Trust and National Folk Music Fund. The Esm?e Fairbairn Foundation supports EFDSS? Education programme. EFDSS is a charity registered in England and Wales, no. 305999. For more information, visit
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Jo Cunningham

English Folk Dance and Song Society

Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent's Park Road, London NW1 7AY

T: 07815 913887  

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