The Graeme Miles Bursary is open to artists or groups based in the North East of England. The aim is to fund an important development opportunity, project or programme of activity that will have a lasting impact on their career. The £1,200 award is made annually to celebrate the life of Middlesbrough’s Graeme Miles who died in 2013.
A contemporary of Ewan MacColl, Miles wrote his first song, Sea Coal about Hartlepool, at the age of 14, and after hearing the traditional songs of Tyneside, set himself a 20-year task to create a collection for his adopted native Teesside.
The memorial bursary, which is funded and administered by The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) and funded by The Unthanks through fundraising concerts, has been running for 2 years, and will continue to organise events to fund future awards.
The Graeme Miles Bursary scheme is open to artists or groups, aged 18 to 25, in the North East of England, which includes Northumberland, County Durham, Tyne and Wear, and the Tees Valley. The bursary is to fund a significant development opportunity, project or programme of activity that could have a lasting impact on their career.
The inaugural winner was Joe Hammill from Thornaby on Tees. The singer songwriter, who fronts the band Cattle & Cane, invested the award in home studio equipment to record his own music. The 2016 recipient was the Rachel Hamer Band, a Newcastle folk band with strong links to Teesside.
EFDSS’ Artist Development Manager, Neil Pearson, said:
“There are no limits to what it can be used for. We would like artists to tell us how the money could be used to help develop their career.
“For instance, this could include touring support, an artistic collaboration with other musicians, paying for recording costs, funding an industry showcase or buying a new instrument.”
The selection panel includes Adrian McNally and Rachel Unthank from The Unthanks.