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At the heart of English folk

EFDSS awards funding for new music rooted in the English folk tradition

Eight projects will create new music rooted in English folk, funded by The English Folk Dance and Song Society – England’s national development agency for the folk arts.


A total of four Creative Bursaries and four Creative Seed Funding bursaries have been awarded, all of which are funded through the PRS for Music Foundation Talent Development Partner scheme. They come under the umbrella of EFDSS’ Artists’ Development Programme, which provides professional development support, both creative and business, to artists at all levels of their career.

Creative Seed Funding Bursaries
are for emerging artists. Each award provides up to £750 to research and develop new work linked to the English folk arts. The four successful applicants are:

  • Grace Smith, to create new music inspired by sources of traditional Cleveland music and clog dance.
  • Louise Jordan, to support the development of the project ‘No Petticoats Here’, telling the stories of extraordinary women from the First World War, and the creation of songs exploring themes of social and political activism and responding to the experiences of women over the past one hundred years.
  • Thom Ashworth, to support the creation of work inspired by what it means to be English in a post-colonial era, and how to voice dissent when freedoms are eroded and/or monetised.
  • Nicola Beazley for a composition and performance project looking at new English dance tunes, influenced by other traditional English music forms, including but not limited to English folk, brass band music, Indian raag, jazz and klezmer. 


Creative Bursaries are awarded to established artists. Each bursary is worth up to £2,000, and supports creative research and development together with use of rehearsal space at Cecil Sharp House and access to the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. The four successful applicants are:

  • Rowan Rheingans to support the creation of a first solo show, inspired by Rowan's grandmother’s recollections of life under the Nazi regime and exploring performance techniques with dramaturg Liam Hurley.
  • Ian Stephenson to create a solo multi-layered performance using emerging technologies to showcase arrangements of traditional English folk repertoire alongside self-penned pieces.
  • Ben Walker and Rob Harbron for ‘The Lost Tunes project’, which will research, arrange, rehearse and perform a set of traditional and original music.
  • Stick in the Wheel. Following the success of their recent albums, ‘English Folk Field Recordings’ and ‘Follow Them True’, Stick in the Wheel will undertake further research into English folk music and traditions.


Katy Spicer, EFDSS Chief Executive and Artistic Director, said: ‘Our bursary and funding schemes are designed to kickstart projects, giving both established and emerging artists time to bring their ideas to life. All the successful applications are rooted in the folk arts but will bring a fresh take on their subject matter. By its very nature, folk music has always evolved and reflected the issues of its generation, and these awards exemplify this by helping to develop some very innovative and relevant proposals. We look forward to supporting and working with the artists as their ideas take shape.’

PRS Foundation supports organisations from across the UK which have been selected as PRS Foundation Talent Development Partners. These organisations are working at the frontline of talent development in the UK, supporting a broad range of individual music creators across different music genres and UK regions. This reflects PRS Foundation’s commitment to supporting composers and songwriters of all backgrounds either through direct investment or by helping organisations which nurture music creators and promote their music to audiences at home and overseas.

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