Board of Directors
Governing the EFDSS
The EFDSS, a member-based organisation, is a company limited by guarantee (No. 297142) and a charity registered in England and Wales (No. 305999). All members can play a part in the government of the Society by attending and voting at the Annual General Meeting (AGM); by electing fellow members to the EFDSS Board; or by serving as Board members.
EFDSS is governed by both company and charity law and must comply with the reporting requirements of Companies House and Charity Commission. EFDSS’s own governing document is its Articles of Association [pdf]. These were last revised and up-dated by the AGM in November 2010, following consultation with the membership. The Articles now include the EFDSS’s objectives, slightly revised and up-dated from the original Memorandum of Association [pdf] agreed in 1935, which becomes an historical document. There is provision in the Articles to make Bye-Laws [pdf]. These have to be approved by Society Members in a General Meeting.
The day to day management and direction of EFDSS lies with the Chief Executive, assisted by the professional staff.
The role of the Board
The Board is responsible for the strategic direction of the Society and for ensuring that it acts in accordance with its objectives set out in its Memorandum of Association. The Board is ultimately responsible for all aspects of the governance of the EFDSS but, in reality, most aspects of this responsibility are delegated to the Chief Executive (CE), who in turn delegates them to the staff. The Board listens to and interacts with the staff, but does not, at any time, direct the staff, other than the CE.
To ensure that the Society is well governed and that there is no conflict as to responsibility the Board has adopted a system of Policy Governance with a single written "Board policy document". This document, which is regularly updated, defines:
- the EFDSS’s Ojectives, and therefore those of the CE and staff who must create the strategies to achieve those Aims;
- the boundaries (financial and otherwise) within which the Aims must be achieved;
- the way in which the relationship between the Board and the CE is managed;
- and the rules by which the Board governs itself, for example, the standards of conduct for its members
The Board has two standing committees: the Operational Standards Committee and the Finance Advisory Committee to monitor the performance of EFDSS and provide advice to the Board.
The Board is responsible for approving and publishing the EFDSS Annual Report and Accounts (ARA) [pdf] as it is required to do under Company and Charity law. This is a formal document, the content and structure of which has to meet our legal obligations and the accounts have to be audited and approved by our Auditors. A copy of the ARA is provided to both Companies House and the Charity Commission.
The Board meets for a whole day, at least four times a year. In addition it meets regularly with senior staff so that strategic issues can be considered in depth. Minutes of Board Meetings are published on the website after they have been approved by the Board.
Board Members are Trustee /Directors that is they are both Directors of EFDSS, a company limited by guarantee, and Charity Trustees as the EFDSS is also a charity registered in England and Wales.
The Board can have up to 12 Directors elected by and from the membership and up to four Directors appointed by the Board. The Board appoints its Chairman from among the elected Directors and an Honorary Treasurer from the Board as a whole. At every AGM at least four (one third) of the elected Board places must be available for election. Retiring members can be re-elected provided they have not had more than six continuous years in office. The Board can co-opt EFDSS members to fill any casual vacancies which arise between AGMs. Those who are co-opted to fill these vacancies will hold office until the following AGM, usually held in November and a postal ballot will be held if required to elect Board members.
Under Article 11.6 the Board can appoint an additional four Trustee/Directors. Article 11.7 requires that the appointments must be approved by EFDSS members at the next AGM. Members will not be asked to vote for those who have been appointed but simply to confirm that they are happy for that person to continue to be a Director, provided of course the appointed Director wishes to continue for the maximum of three years. Appointed Trustee/Directors need not be EFDSS members.
All Trustee Directors should be actively interested or involved in the some aspect of the Folk Arts and the EFDSS. They must develop an understanding and acceptance of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of Trustees who are also Company Directors. The Board meets at least four times a year, usually in London and uses an internet discussion group to keep in contact and help progress EFDSS affairs between meetings. Reasonable travel, accommodation and other costs are reimbursed.
To meet the challenges of the times the Board tries to ensure that it has the appropriate balance of interests and skills, and is always interested to hear from those who are interested in serving as Board members. Please contact the Chairman or the Company Secretary.
The current Board
|Elected Members||Society e-mail
|Lorna Aizlewood||November 2012 (appointed 2011)|
|Pete Aldridge||Nov 2010|
|Alistair Anderson||Nov 2009|
|Jon Brenner||Nov 2011|
|Jack Crawford||Nov 2007|
|Alan James (Chairman)||firstname.lastname@example.org||Nov 2009|
|Gordon Jones||Nov 2007|
|Howard Mitchell||Nov 2011|
|Peter Slavid||Nov 2011|
|Andrew Swaine||Nov 2010|
|Doug Oates||Nov 2012|
|Ed Fishwick (Honorary Treasurer)||email@example.com||Nov 2012|
|Tamsin Austin||Nov 2011|
|Sherry Neyhus||Nov 2011|
Contact Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org
Conract Mary at
About the Board Members
Pete Aldridge (East London)
Pete’s prime folk interest is song. As an amateur social historian he finds it fascinating that Ballard stories tell so much about life and love in past times. His first "brush" with folk music was at the age of nine, listening to his father's copy of Fairport's Babbacombe Lee and being transported by the story in the lyrics and on the sleeve.For 20 years Pete has worked as a professional fundraiser for a variety of social welfare charities and education bodies. He is also trained an investigator of work place complaints and as an employment based mediator.Pete hopes that his experience of working with charities, developing their marketing and fundraising programmes, can be used to enable EFDSS to develop its own fundraising programme, thereby enabling it to become a stronger, more independent organisation. As a member of the EFDSS Board he hopes he can help the organisation move forward with its objectives at an important time as well as getting more directly involved in the various music and dance opportunities available, and learning more about the history that the Society so successfully keeps alive.
Lorna Aizlewood (Norfolk)
Lorna is a qualified solicitor, specialising in intellectual property and commercial law, who works in the Music industry. This knowledge and experience will be extremely valuable to EFDSS and Lorna has already joined the Board’s Finance Advisory Committee. Lorna plays various instruments, sings “badly” and is learning to clog dance. She also has an interest in folk lore.
Lorna has joined the Board as she wants to give something back to an organisation which has given her so much. She welcomes the chance to play a part in the exciting and challenging future plans and she comments that the arrival of the new young musicians, artists, and dancers on the folk music scene has made folk seem more inclusive than in the past. Lorna wants to ensure that it now remains inclusive.
Alistair Anderson (Northumberland)
Alistair has been fascinated by the rich diversity of traditional music, dance and song of this country for over 40 years. He is convinced that these traditions- both the actual material and the process – can stand alongside all the other elements of contemporary culture. Alistair is particularly keen to help a new generation access the richness and variety of traditions in contemporary Britain and set up Folkworks and subsequently the first Degree in folk and traditional music at Newcastle University. He helped to secure funding and steered the design for the Regional Music Centre (now known as The Sage Gateshead). He is also well known as a professional performer on English Concertina and Northumbrian Pipes; dance Caller; and Rapper Sword Dancer (retired).
Jon Brenner (Sheffield)
Jon will be known to many as an active member of the folk community, both performer and organiser. He plays in The Gloworms; dances or has danced with three Morris teams; acts as a festival MC; and was Shooting Roots youth organiser, tutor, and National Advisory Group Member.
Jon sees it as vital for English traditions and folk arts to have EFDSS as an organisation able to act as a strong advocate for folk, and as well as playing an integral part in helping the folk scene develop and evolve. He feels he has the professional skills and drive to make a substantial contribution to shaping and delivering the aims of EFDSS. His experience as a senior public sector professional in local government - delivering major strategies, consultations and negotiations; leading transformation of the ‘back office’ support to Sheffield’s schools; managing a review of relationships between public sector, local communities and partners; and running significant budgets, staff, contracts and projects; as well as past service as a Board Member of Yorkshire Metropolitan Housing Association should all be useful.
Jack Crawford (Derbyshire)
First and foremost Jack is a singer, regularly performing unaccompanied solo folksong in the traditional style. He also sings Shape Note and West Gallery in four part harmony groups, and carols in crowded village pubs around Sheffield. In addition, Jack has danced and taught Cotswold, Border, North-West, and longsword and was for many years a Morris Fool. As a social dancer he enjoys Irish Set and what has become known as e-ceilidh. One day Jack would like to achieve proficiency on one of the many instruments he owns, but this has so far eluded him.
Through researching folksongs for performance Jack has come to appreciate the immense value of the resources at VWML and the generous support of the library staff. Living in the Midlands, he is keen to further the development of remote access to these resources by the effective application of modern technology.
Alan James (Worcestershire)
During the 1990s Alan James was in charge of Performances and Projects at the Midlands Arts Centre in Birmingham; in 2000 he managed Birmingham City Council’s millennium celebration, the Forward Festival. He was Head Of Contemporary Music at Arts Council England from 2001 to 2006. In 2007 he set up Hold Tight Management which currently works with Spiro, Sam Lee and Three Cane Whale. Hold Tight has also worked with The Imagined Village, The Bays and The Heritage Orchestra, Chris Wood’s Handmade Life, and Sheema Mukherjee. Alan is Executive Chairman of the Welsh Music Foundation, which develops opportunities for Welsh music and - with its partnership Cerdd Cymru:Music Wales - brings WOMEX, the globe’s leading world music expo to Cardiff in 2013. Alan is an Artistic Assessor for Arts Council England, an Advisor to PRSF, Chairman of Stan’s Café Theatre Company, Birmingham and a FRSA.
Gordon Jones (Cumbria)
Gordon started playing folk music in clubs and concerts on Merseyside. Then in Edinburgh he was a founder member of Scots traditional band Silly Wizard. The band toured extensively bringing experience of the music and its practitioners throughout Europe and North America as well as practical understanding of recording, theatre and broadcast media work. Gordon founded a small record company and has since produced and marketed over 50 folk albums. Currently he lives in Cumbria and is Chair of Furness Tradition which runs a small festival and works year round to facilitate access and understanding of traditional music, song and dance locally. He can also be found playing guitar in local dance bands.
Howard Mitchell (Leicester)
Howard is currently a member of: The Derbyshire Volunteers; The Ram Company; ceilidh band Up Tails All; and The Old Fashioned trio, playing double bass, melodeon and concertina.
He has served as an EFDSS Board member before, for three years from 1999 and fully understands the move to strengthen the skills and knowledge of the Board in priority areas. He hopes that his previous and current experience in consultancy, management, technology and performing arts will meet those requirements. He sees his management experience in the effective use of technology to support a changing business and an expanding customer base as being particularly useful to EFDSS. His past experience includes production and presentation of complex proposals, strategic planning and management of change.
Lucy Neal (South West London)
Lucy made her first contact with EFDSS in 1993 when she inherited the personal papers of Mary Neal, her great aunt. Lucy worked closely with folk dancers and singers as well as contemporary dancers and performers to bring Mary’s remarkable ‘undertold’ story to light. The Mary Neal project, funded by the Heritage Lottery, the Arts Council and the University of Winchester resulted in February 2009 in a day of celebration of Mary and the Espérance Club, with a reconciliation of the stories of Mary Neal and Cecil Sharp. Mary’s papers now reside in the VWML to delight, educate, and inspire. As a Board member Lucy will continue to contribute to a field of British culture she feels is vibrant, innovative and important.
With her encouragement the annual Mary Neal lecture has been established and Lucy now looks forward to seeing how EFDSS can grow and develop an ambitious platform for the radical cultural debates of the day, celebrating participation in a dynamic cultural life for all. She sees EFDSS as well placed to bring together leading players in folk culture, music, dance, the UK and international arts, education, social justice and reform, democracy, sustainability and more!
Peter is involved in his local Uxbridge folk club and lots of festivals around the country. He has experience as a Trustee/Director, fundraiser, marketer and event organiser.
Peter recognises that EFDSS has made great strides with a more professional, clearer outlook but still feels it “punches below its weight” with both the public and the “establishment”. He believes passionately in the importance of nurturing music from outside the mainstream art forms and sees English folk music as a crucial element, which must be sustained and promoted more strongly. But he senses that EFDSS is not seen as particularly relevant to the majority of people who attend folk clubs and festivals.
He regards it as critical that EFDSS becomes better known around the regions, more relevant to our diverse multicultural society, and clearer in its positioning and marketing so that people know its role and its work better. He believes there may be things to learn from the experience of other genres.
Before early retirement Peter worked in the Computer industry specialising in international corporate marketing.
Andrew Swaine (Sheffield)
Andrew has been addicted to English Folk dance, music and song since he was a child. He has recognised how our folk traditions can enrich the lives of all they touch, by providing community, fun, identity, fitness and challenge, and he wants everyone in the country to know and have access to these traditions.
He is a well known caller in several genres and dances even more styles. He plays the accordian for dance, usually trying to make it sound like a melodeon. He is a member of Gog Magog Molly, and has been involved with running several Inter-Varsity Folk Dance Festivals, chairing in 2006. In his day job he is head of knowledge management and internal communications at ARM Ltd.
Doug Oates (Bristol)
Doug (better known as Jim Moray) has been involved in folk music from an early age, and as a professional performer for ten years. Since graduating from Birmingham Conservatoire in 2003, he has recorded five albums of mostly traditional song (gaining BBC Folk Awards, the fRoots Critics Poll and Mojo folk album of the year) and produced records by Jackie Oates, Belshazzar’s Feast, Wheeler Street and James Raynard. Doug won Best Traditional Track for Lord Douglas at the recent BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. He is also an enthusiastic Morris dancer, keen writer and occasional DJ.
Ed Fishwick (North London)
As a student Ed helped run the folk club at Cambridge in the early 1980s, and spent countless hours busking, and playing English tunes to subsidise his bar bill. He has continued to play and perform as time permits. Without question English folk song has been the pre-eminent cultural interest all his life, listening, watching, and playing for over 35 years. He sees the increase in interest in folk music over recent years, especially amongst younger people, as remarkable. He has also been aware of the activities of EFDSS, and has attended concerts at Cecil Sharp House for many years. Ed’s professional activities over three decades have involved finance, investment, and risk management and he welcomes the opportunity to apply some of these professional experiences and insights, along with a deep love of English folk art, to help in the activities and evolution of EFDSS. His area of financial expertise is Investment Management, and particularly quantitative analysis and investment risk management. He has wide experience of business strategy, investment strategy, and risk assessment. He also has extensive experience of the working of boards and committees, and continues to serve on several corporate boards. NORTH LONDON
Tamsin Austin (Tyneside)
Tamsin is Head of Popular and Contemporary Music at The Sage Gateshead. During her career she has worked as an artist’s agent and tour manager for folk agency, Adastra, representing many folk acts from the UK and North America and is also one of the founding directors of Music Beyond Mainstream a network of concert hall sized venues dedicated to promoting and producing non-mainstream music tours, including folk.
She worked with Folkworks as a consultant on its initial lottery bid for The Sage Gateshead, devising sample non-classical music programmes including folk. She brings fourteen years of well rounded programming and venue management experience to the Board, including a stint in Glasgow during which time she worked with Celtic Connections to produce the Nordic Nights folk music series. She is lead programmer at the SummerTyne Americana Festival in Gateshead and is currently co-producing The Lady: A Homage to Sandy Denny for Music Beyond Mainstream as well as managing the year round programme at The Sage Gateshead.
Tamsin is a fiddle player in the Scottish and Shetland styles particularly and also has a strong interest in the songs, music and dances of Northumbria. She is well known as a founding member of Fosbrooks (North West clog and clog dance) as well as being a teacher of both before taking a degree in performing arts in music at Northumbria University, followed by a year at Sheffield University studying Oral Culture and Folklore in Literature.
Sherry Neyhus (East London)
Sherry is a London-based professional arts producer and non-profit manager currently producing and touring dance shows for Sadler's Wells. This work and her previous positions both in the UK (The Opera Group, the National Theatre), and in her native US have given her strong financial management and programme planning skills. She has also had significant experience in fundraising and in working closely with key UK arts funding organisations and institutions.
Sherry has also been an active enthusiast for English music and dance since her first visit to Sidmouth quite a few years ago (now dancing as a member of Chiltern Hundreds Northwest Clog Morris and supporting other family members in three other Morris teams) -- and is committed to finding ways to bring English culture back to the heart of both in-school and out-of-school education. As a Board member of EFDSS, Sherry wants to support the increasingly professional approach of EFDSS. EFDSS is an organisation built upon the culture of the community; but while keeping it true to its grass roots membership, as an arts professional, she hopes to forge a synthesis between the professional and non-professional aspects of EFDSS.
Involving the Members
All Members can attend the EFDSS Annual General Meeting (AGM) usually, but not always, held in London in November. Those unable to attend can appoint a proxy to speak and vote at the meeting on their behalf. The date of the meeting is announced in Board Matters, circulated to all members with the spring issue of the quarterly magazine, English Dance and Song (EDS). The same issue of Board Matters will ask for nominations for the election of new Board members and give the closing date for receipt of nominations (early June). The date (late May) for the receipt of Members’ Motions and Resolutions for debate and discussion at the following AGM will also be announced.
The minutes from the latest AGM can be found here.
The formal notice of the AGM with details of any resolutions and motions from the Board and from members will be published in Board Matters issued with the autumn edition of EDS.
If required, voting papers for the election of Board members with details of the candidates will be issued in mid-September. All voting for elected Board members is by post or internet and is conducted by and overseen by our appointed agent.
Proxy voting papers with details of the AGM resolutions and motions will be issued to all members at the same time as any Board voting papers. All voting papers and internet votes must be returned to the appointed agent two days before the AGM.
The AGM will allow Members to ask questions about the Annual Report and Accounts for the previous financial year and hear about more recent developments and activities.
Members will be asked to approve:
- the Minutes of previous General meeting(s)
- any membership subscription changes for the following year
- any new Bye-Laws under Article 23.1
- the appointment of the Society’s auditors
and to discuss and vote upon individual motions and resolutions, which may be proposed by the Board or EFDSS members.
Following the AGM the Minutes will be published on the website. Printed copies will be available for those who attend the next AGM
Communicating with Members
Each year the Board publishes the EFDSS Annual report and Accounts (ARA). The ARA is a formal document and includes audited accounts for the financial year (1 April- 31 March). Copies are available for all members who request them. Please apply to the Membership Secretary if you would like a copy.
All members receive a copy of the Review of the Year, based on the ARA but with pictures and less financial information.
Board Matters issued quarterly with EDS is specifically intended to help communications between members and the Board.
English Dance and Song (EDS) includes EFDSS Matters.
EFDSS's website contains news, events and much, much more of interest to Members and non-Members alike. It also provides on-line access to Library collections.
The Folk Music Journal, the journal of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, containing research articles and reviews of publications, published each December, is issued to all members.
Or you can always talk to Board members at festivals, concerts, dances, gigs etc, but do remember that they too may be on holiday or en route to their next booking.