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At the heart of English folk

Inclusive Folk conference: full programme announced

EFDSS’ first national conference on folk music and dance with disabled young people and adults is taking place at Cecil Sharp House on 17 June. 

Presented by our Folk Educators Group, we are delighted to announce the full conference programme. We have an excellent line up of speakers and workshop leaders from around the country – from Devon to Northumberland - representing years of experience working with participants with special educational needs and disabilities (SEN/D) - in schools and informal learning.

The conference promises to be a valuable and inspiring day of professional development for music and dance educators at all stages in their career – with or without prior experience of folk. It’ll be a great opportunity to learn new repertoire and techniques, and be exposed to new information and ideas.

Those new to the folk arts will experience some of the fantastic wealth of material folk has to offer; material that is accessible and adaptable in many settings.

Those who are new to work with disabled participants will gain invaluable insight and ideas from experienced educators, with the chance to talk to like-minded practitioners.

All delegates will have the opportunity to network with the speakers, workshop leaders and fellow delegates. There will be presentations and practical workshops, with a chance to discuss practice and develop ideas.

To set the tone for the day is our key note speaker, disabled arts activist, Suzanne Bull MBE, CEO of Attitude is Everything - improving deaf and disabled people's access to live music. In the spirit of folk participation, our morning will continue with a folk song with Makaton signing led by Cat Kelly, and our afternoon will conclude with inclusive ceilidh dancing led by with Alex Cumming and Nicola Beazley.

In between we have a packed day of case studies and workshops. We have Daryl Beeton of Drake Music, Folk 3D and their work with St Andrew’s SEN School Derby, plus Matthew Jones and Dave Gray who are using folk music in SEN/D settings in Newcastle.

Along with skilled folk arts practitioners, presenters include experienced teachers from three SEN schools, who have been working on folk arts projects in their schools and are keen to inspire more such collaborations.

There will be the opportunity to be actively involved, choosing to participate in two workshops - instrumental, song or dance. Music making workshops will be led by Wren Music with Jenni Coates of Pathfield Special School, and Emmie Ward and Sarah Glover; song workshops with Rebecca Deniff and Cat Kelly and dance workshops with Fergus Early of Green Candle Dance and Julia Barnes from Ravenscliffe High School and Sports College with Sue Coe and Rosie Allport.

For full conference programme and to book, visit


National Youth Folk Ensemble

National Youth Folk Ensemble


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