Events 2015

The weekend runs from approx 4pm Friday to 6pm Sunday (plus a survivors session on Sunday night for those who are able).

Activities include lectures and big group sessions alongside more intimate workshops of around 10 people. There is also opportunity for smaller group or individual surgeries. A great mix of watching, listening, singing, playing, thinking and talking ensures there’s something for everyone and hopefully each and every person will develop their thinking and practice during their time here.

Below are descriptions of the events which you need to choose between for the booking form. Depending on how everything pans out these are subject to change and other events may be added. We always have your best interests at heart though so you can rest assured there will be some amazing stuff going on.

How to Handle Broadsides - Gavin Davenport

Broadsides can be a tricky business! Gavin will lead us through a session focused on reinvigorating the printed songs that didn’t make the leap into the oral tradition and how to add them to your repertoire. He will look at how to remedy songs without tunes, deal with the contested issue of political incorrectness, and to show us what changes are needed to make the un-sing-able sing-able! This will be a practical workshop in finding and fitting tunes to printed sources and learning how to explore broadsides in the archive.

Ballad Editing - Fay Hield

It can be hard to identify with songs when they are written in books, singing them straight from the page sometimes doesn’t do them justice! It is important to make them your own to make sense of them. Fay will explore ballads used in the Full English Band and from her current work to show how she develops songs from source material into new versions. You’ll get a chance to edit your own ballad as well, so bring one along (don’t worry, others will be available on the day if you need inspiration).

From Page to Stage: Tunes - Rob Harbron & Sam Sweeney

This session will explore the process of taking tunes from manuscript and into live performance. Rob and Sam will look at exploring the creative interpretation of tunes found in manuscripts including those in The Full English Digital Archive, using elements including rhythm, phrasing, variation and ornamentation.  Please bring your instruments and come prepared to have a play.

Instrumental Arrangement for Songs - Fay Hield, Sam Sweeney & Rob Harbron

Fay, Sam and Rob often work together to draw out elements of songs and tunes to work into full band arrangements. In this masterclass style workshop we will go through the process in front of your very eyes, building up a song from solo a cappella into a full arrangement, talking about what we are doing as we go and how we are reaching the decisions we do, exploring the process from the perspective of both the singer and the accompanist. We will split into smaller groups half way through and you will have a chance to develop your own arrangement too, so bring instruments along.

Less is More: Accompanying Song - Martin Carthy

Ever wondered how Martin Carthy thinks about using instrumentation in his songs? Martin will work with a small group to discuss his approach to using guitar with songs and applying these ideas to a variety of instruments. This session will run as a question and answer, problem solving session so please bring your instruments and a song you already sing!

From Page to Stage: Songs - Jon Boden

How do you get a folk song ready for the stage? How does this process change the very nature of a song not intended for staged performances? Jon will take us on a whistle-stop, taboo-blind look at writing and editing melodies. We will look at updating archaic language, constructing choruses, working with instrumental riffs and with other musical genres. Bring along a song from The Full English Digital Archive to work on.

Making Links: engaging with local material for community use – Frances Watt

What sorts of activities can you develop with community partners to explore local folk material from archive sources? This session looks at examples from the range of community and family projects developed with mainstream arts venues and organisations as a result of The Full English learning programme. Frances will give you the chance to build on those examples and create your own project, and to develop your own ideas and activities of work to take back to your community.

Finding Five Finger Frank - Pete Coe & Alice Jones

Who is the Leeds Folk Song Collector? Frank Kidson collected folk songs from his mother, singers he met on his painting expeditions and contacts made from his newspaper articles. With copies of his original notation, passed on from Kidson’s descendants, Pete & Alice’s presentation will include some of the songs he collected and published in ‘Traditional Tunes’ in 1891, and some anecdotes from the Kidson’s family history.

Whose handwriting is this anyway? Backstories of The Full English Digital Archive - Julia Bishop

The Full English Digital Archive is a resource that has got us all talking! Searching the archive leads us to pages of handwritten or typed words and pages of handwritten music notation, or both combined. Some are messy, some are neat. There are fair copies, rough ones, copies that don’t match and sometimes scribbled notes. What are we to make of these? This workshop looks at the backstory of The Full English – not the history of songs and tunes, but the backstory of the documents left behind by the collectors.

Digital Folk: Possibilities and Implications - Simon Keegan Phipps & Cinzia Yates                     

How – and why – do traditional musicians and dancers in England use digital resources? Does the use of modern digital resources affect the way we think about the “traditional” material that we perform? Are they likely to have an impact on the ways in which we perform – and experience – folk music? These questions (and more) are the focus of a new, two-year research project hosted by the University of Sheffield. This session will introduce the projects and encourage people to reflect on how they explore and experience folk in the digital world.

The Full English Archive: exploring the online resource - Laura Smyth

An introduction to The Full English Digital Archive! This session will look at the various tools and features hosted on the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library website and how to make the make the most of the Digital Archive by formulating intelligent searches through simple and advanced search techniques and browsing. Laptops will be available, but feel free to bring your own laptop or tablet device to access the website and try sample searches.

Adaptation, Composition and Creating from the Archive – Nancy Kerr

Some song texts in the archive have no tunes – some appear “incomplete” lyrically. How can the tradition inform the act of composition in order to resurrect or reinvigorate songs? What are the boundaries of adaptation? How may it serve as an “apprenticeship” to the practise of creating original music? Nancy will use fragments found in The Full English Digital Archive to explore songwriting as it relates to the idea of an applied “folk” musical grammar. All are welcome, singers and writers (new and experienced) and observers!

Mining the Archives - Bryony Griffith

Bryony will draw from her experiences working on The Full English learning programme to investigate how material from The Full English Digital Archive can be used to encourage our young people to examine local history, geography and issues such as social change? Can we combine fragments of songs with stories gleaned from the experiences of children and their families to create new songs? During the workshop we will learn the new songs ‘A Basket Full of Coal Dust’ and ‘The Bonny Pit Laddie’ and look at the process of adapting them for use in the school curriculum and generating ideas for songwriting.

Folksong for the Non-folkie - Gavin Davenport

It is often difficult to use folk song in a wider context, in a way that keeps the essence of the music constant, whilst still appealing to a non-folkie audience. In this session we will look at ways to dig into the Full English Digital Archive and find material to support work that doesn’t necessarily revolve around working towards performance. Gavin will draw on his work with The Full English learning programme to look at folk songs for community work, museums, local history, schools projects and more – how to find them and how to use them to engage new audiences.

Community Voices: introducing newly adapted material for community choirs - Frances Watt and Bryony Griffith

A chance to vibrate your vocal cords! Try out a variety of different songs sourced from The Full English Digital Archive and arranged for community choirs across the country as part of the work of The Full English learning programme. In this session, we’ll try out excerpts of some of the songs together, and there will be chance to discuss what the highlights and challenges are of arranging and singing folk material in choral settings.

Songs & Tunes from the Kidson Collection - Pete Coe & Alice Jones

Pete & Alice will teach some of the songs and tunes noted by Frank Kidson from his collections of books and broadsides. The songs and tunes will be taught alongside examples and suggestions for arrangements, so bring your instruments! Musical notation will be provided but the songs and tunes will also taught by ear.

The Full English learning programme: how the digital archive inspired learning in schools and communities – Rachel Elliott

Folk manuscripts included in The Full English Digital Archive were used as a resource and inspiration for creative learning projects in 19 schools across England, and in participatory and learning events involving community choirs, adult learners, families and young people. Rachel will look at The Full English learning programme, with vibrant film footage of the project in action. We will see, hear and experience some of these case studies, and be introduced to the materials in the freely downloadable resources available on the EFDSS Resource Bank – one of legacies of the project.

Martin and Fay in Conversation - Martin Carthy & Fay Hield

Martin will talk about his experience of working with traditional songs and how he goes about developing his material. Probed with pertinent questions from Fay, we will draw out the thorny issues of when it all goes wrong and how you know when it’s going right.

Making Links to the National Curriculum - Fiona Taylor

Drawing from the Full English learning programme’s work with Fiona’s students at Shawlands Primary School, we will see how projects using The Full English Digital Archive can be developed to fit the new National Curriculum. In September 2014, due to changes to the National Curriculum, the doors were opened to many new opportunities for artists to work in schools – especially for singers and storytellers. In this practical workshop, we will look at how to link your project ideas to new KS1 and KS2 curriculums in England in order to maximise your opportunities for gaining funding or work in this sector. Bring along your project ideas!

Mind the Gap – Gavin Davenport

19th century popular song – seeing the whole picture! From the funny to the weird and wonderful, join Gavin on an exploration of the place that people’s songs held before the folksong revival and discover where to find the songs that Cecil Sharp found too ‘degenerate’ to collect. Gavin will discuss what the folk song collectors left out of their collections, what it tells us about both the collectors and the social climate at that time, and how to use it! We will be reinventing the ‘degenerate’ from the 1800’s for the modern day singer.

When is the Full English not the Full English? - Cinzia Yates

… When it’s Manx! Using the newspaper clippings contained in the Lucy Broadwood and Anne Gilchrist collections, available via The Full English Digital Archive, this session will explore the impact of the archives on Manx music and dance traditions. By investigating the wealth of songs and song lyrics available within The Full English, and how they relate to the ‘Manx’ journal editions, just how Manx or English these editions are can be explored. You will be given a first-hand opportunity to investigate the way in which individual collections can show alternative histories.

Open to all Sessions

Because we would like you to get exactly what you want out of the weekend we have designed a number of sessions ranging from discussions to sessions as open for all to attend – just turn up and drop in and out of these as and when you fancy.

Full English Band Q & A - Nancy Kerr, Sam Sweeney, Fay Hield, Rob Harbron

Your chance to ask members of The Full English Band about their approach to the material, selecting, arranging and general tricks of the trade.

Rolling Workshops - Nancy Kerr & Gavin Davenport

Nancy and Gavin will lead two rolling singing workshops to warm you up for the weekend ahead.

Singing Session - Jon Boden & Bryony Griffith

Blow out the cobwebs and start the weekend with a clear head. Jon and Bryony will lead this chorus heavy singing session. Come and lead or song or join in a chorus to get the weekend off to a proper start!

Tune Session - Nicola Beazley and Friends

To ease us into the weekend gently, our very own Student Intern, Nicola, joined by some friends from the University of Sheffield, will lead a tune session with tunes and instruments of all shapes and sizes. All are welcome!

Over to you - You!

A chance for you to take over and make what you will of your time here – you’re in charge – just turn up and make something happen.

TEDx - Fay Hield 

Watch Fay’s recent TEDx talk where she asks “Why aren’t we all folk singers?” Then take part in a group discussion and Q&A session to explore some of the ideas raised.

Tutors’ Concert – Various

A selection of our guests perform on Saturday night. A chance to sit back and think about everything they’ve been saying during the day as you watch them in action. Tickets available in advance for friends.

Performers, Sources and Ambiguity - Julia Bishop & Rob Harbron

Join Rob and Julia for an informal discussion exploring the nature of written and recorded sources of folk music, and the possibilities they open up for creating new performances. Through examples and reflecting on our own experiences as performers and audiences, we will explore relationships between individual singing and playing styles, transcriptions and field recordings. What are the possibilities for performers to apply their own voice to songs learnt from historical sources, and what does this mean?

Gentle Session - Bryony Griffith

This will be a chance to take a breather by playing some of the slower, less frantic tunes.  Bryony will help us all get inside the music and take the most we can from each tune.

Ballad Session - Gavin Davenport

Big ballads, broadsides, story songs, stories or whatever you think fits the bill.  The gorier the better, and a chance to air those 10 minute ones you just can’t always sing at a session!

Informal Farewell - Various

We say goodbye… in whatever way develops! Some sharing of music from our participants, in groups and/or individually, as well as a chance to hear some of our tutors in action.  While we know what a fabulous programme we have put together we don’t know what you’re going to make of it yet, this is a chance to explore what we’ve achieved over the weekend – not a showcase as such, just a sharing and proud recognition of all the growth.

Survivors Session

Come and play, sing and talk together just one last time – anything goes. If you’re still standing and your brain doesn’t hurt too much! Everyone welcome!


Intimate discussions of particular problems you are facing, or concerns you have. We cannot offer enough of these for everyone, but hope a few will prove beneficial to those in need of extra support. Sign-up sheets will be at Dungworth Village Hall from Friday evening.