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At the heart of English folk

Artists' development

Fostering creativity

"The EFDSS scheme was the spark – without it Sam Sweeney’s Fiddle: Made in the Great War wouldn’t be happening."
Sam Sweeney, Creative Bursary holder 2013/14

The Artists’ Development programme champions the development of the English folk arts by providing training and development support to artists at all stages of their careers. Read the 2016 Artist Development Newsletter here.

Over the past seven years our work has included the commission or support of many new works covering a broad range of music and dance.

Our emerging showcase platform, Folk Rising, which began at Cecil Sharp House in 2010, now also takes place with partners across the country including venues and festivals. Over 150 artists have now performed on a Folk Rising stage including Sam Carter, The Staves, Keston Cobblers Club, Gilmore & Roberts and many more.

We have expanded our work to develop international opportunities, and from the momentum gained through the Spotlight England showcase at Celtic Connections Festival, we have expanded to showcases at Folk Alliance Toronto & Kansas City, Folk Nations for the British Council in India, and projects with Canadian partners Music PEI and Folk Music Canada.  All artists we work with internationally come under our Douglas Kennedy International Fellowship scheme.

Our work with developing artists on the Aspire Programme, supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Help Musicians, included professional development residential courses, performance development days, mentoring and more.

We are proud to be a founding, and ongoing partner in the English Folk Expo (EFEx). Find out more about our recent projects here.

We are a PRS for Music Foundation Talent Development Partner TDP

"Industry intelligence from EFDSS has been crucial in helping us match projects and ideas to potential funders, and their advocacy has raised our profile and enabled us to be seen by industry professionals."
Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker, Aspire Artists 2014/15



English Folk Expo

English Folk Expo

Summary for English Folk Expo



EFDSS help to create official and private showcase opportunities for artists at key industry events, worldwide…

Theatre Ballads


Where suitable opportunities or partnerships are present themselves or are created we aim to...

Polly Paulusma

Artists' Bursaries

EFDSS offer a range of valuable professional development opportunities for artists, including two annual bursaries.