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At the heart of English folk
Artists from Wren Music at Pathfield School (The Full English)


Inclusive Folk: music and dance with disabled young people and adults

Friday 17 June 2016
10am - 5pm
Cecil Sharp House

Inclusive Folk was a one-day conference for both new and seasoned practitioners to uncover the rich seam of folk arts and their exciting possibilities as inclusive art forms – in schools, informal learning and community settings.

The day featured leading practitioners working in SEN/D contexts - from folk and beyond. Presentations and practical sessions explored high quality practice and how to embrace inclusion.

It was a fantastic day, really well programmed and genuinely positive.
Zoe Carassik-Lord, Programme Co-ordinator, Sound Connections

Read Zoe's review of the day here.

Artists from Wren Music at Pathfield School (The Full English)

The day aimed to:

  • Share practice and experience of creating and delivering inclusive folk arts projects

  • Provide practical training in using the folk arts with disabled young people and adults

  • Highlight examples of successful folk arts projects in SEN/D settings

  • Explore ideas for projects

  • Signpost further professional development

  • Introduce freely available learning resources on the EFDSS Resource Bank and elsewhere, for using folk music, dance and drama in SEN/D settings

  • Provide a networking opportunity 


Keynote speech

Suzanne Bull MBE - Chief Executive Officer, Attitude is Everything

Improving deaf and disabled people's access to live music



Instrumental music, song and dance for participants with a wide range of physical and sensory disabilities
Led by: Paul Wilson, David Faulkner and Jon Dyer – Folk Arts Practitioners, Wren Music; Jenni Coats - Music Co-ordinator, Pathfield School Barnstaple (Devon)

Wheelchair folk dancing in an SEN/D school
Led by: Sue Coe – Freelance Folk Arts Practitioner; and Julia Barnes – Sensory Manager at Ravenscliffe High School and Sports College; with Rosie Allport – Sixth form student at Crossley Heath School and a volunteer at Ravenscliffe (West Yorkshire)

Creative approaches to music for a wide range of participants with PMLD
Led by: Emmie Ward, Sarah Glover – Folk Arts Practitioners (London)

Using Makaton with folk song
Led by: Cat Kelly - Freelance Folk Arts Practitioner (Oxford)

There’s a folk song for everyone: exploring folk song, inclusive singing and autism
Led by: Rebecca Denniff – Freelance Folk Arts Practitioner (Whitby, North Yorkshire)

Creative approaches to seated folk dance with disabled older adults
Led by: Fergus Early – Artistic Director, Green Candle Dance (London)


Case Studies

Maypoles, Mummers and Merry England – working in an SEN/D school
Led by: Jan Reynolds and Sarah Matthews – Folk Arts Practioners, Folk 3D; and Sara Rose – Further Education Tutor, St Andrews SEN School (Derbyshire)

Performing and using folk music in SEN/D settings
Led by: Matthew Jones and Dave Gray – Freelance Folk Musicians (Newcastle)

SoundBox - assistive technology in action
Led by: Daryl Beeton - London Regional Programme Manager, Drake Music (London)


Ceilidh dance for all!

The conference ended with a closing ceilidh led by Alex Cumming and Nicola Beazley (USA / North East)


A full timetable for the conference is available in the Downloads section at the bottom of this page.


For more information contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 020 7241 8953

Promoted by EFDSS' Folk Educators Group



Inclusive Folk timetable (pdf)

Inclusive Folk session details and presenter biographies (pdf)



Vlog on the Inclusive Folk event, created by Wired4Music Ambassador, and ‘journalist on wheels’ Lilly Cook.

Supported by Sound Connections