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At the heart of English folk

Bursary scheme for young North East musicians

Young musicians who live in the North East are being invited to apply for a bursary worth £1,200 in memory of an acclaimed songwriter from the region.

The Graeme Miles Bursary is made annually to celebrate the life of Middlesbrough’s Graeme Miles, who died in 2013. It is funded by The Unthanks (pictured here).

The bursary is open to artists or groups aged 18 to 25 who are based in the North East of England, including Northumberland, County Durham, Tyne and Wear, and the Tees Valley. It aims to fund an important development opportunity, project or programme of activity that will have a lasting impact on their career.

Applications are invited from individual musicians (including composers) and groups who are in the early stages of their professional career, or final stages of advanced musical training, with a genuine commitment to build a professional career in music.

Adrian McNally and Rachel Unthank from The Unthanks will be on the bursary's judging panel.

A contemporary of Ewan MacColl, Graeme Miles (1935–2013) wrote his first song at the age of fourteen. After hearing the traditional songs of Tyneside, he set himself a twenty-year task to create a collection for his adopted native Teesside. He wrote hundreds of songs about the area, finding poetry and beauty in the industrial landscape of Middlesbrough and the surrounding Cleveland hills and dales.

2017 is the third year of the bursary, which is funded and administered by The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS). The Unthanks raised the money for the bursary through fundraising concerts, and will continue to organise events to fund future awards.

The winner of the first bursary in 2015 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.

The closing date for applications is Midnight on Sunday 29 October 2017. The winner will be announced in December. 


How to apply


National Youth Folk Ensemble

National Youth Folk Ensemble


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