Courage calls, we need to talk…

Dec 18, 2018

After a lifetime of quietly getting on with my own brand of feminism, I have recently been involved in not one but two all-female line ups, more or less overtly questioning the roles of women in the world and the folk world more locally...

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Modern Fairies Gather

Aug 28, 2018

It’s all a bit vague this project, and a bit magical – a bit like fairies themselves I suppose. Everyone who gathered that first time in Oxford was palpably anxious about what was to come, but conversation flowed and a wealth of different experiences and perspectives emerged from the chrysalis. The openness was startling, and I had to quickly expand my perception of belief on hearing what the others had to say. ..

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The problem with gypsies and outsiders…

May 09, 2018

Yesterday I went to a ‘Widening Participation’ conference, hearing about all things bias, barrier and bigotry when it comes to accessing university for various social groups. I am on the side of stopping all that nonsense and on the team that spots it in others and finds ways to address it.  The conference happened to fall on a Trad Song Tuesday, so while learning how to be the saviour of education for all, I was also tweeting away discreetly at the back. The theme was ‘Gypsies and outsiders’ – chosen through popular vote in a twitter-poll. Now, if the context I was in wasn’t enough to ring alarm bells, I got a tweet from a follower sensitively pointing out the potential for offence - cue to think more deeply.

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In Defence of Revivals

Jan 24, 2018

I recently found this article I wrote for a fairly obscure publication. It strikes me that it might have some interesting information about how we run Royal Traditions that it would be good to share, and that it might open up the conversation around the folk club practice  more broadly - so with the generous permission of David Atkinson, I reproduce it here. I'd be really interested to hear your thoughts.....

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#TradSongTues - how it works*

Jan 09, 2018

#TradSongTues is a place on Twitter to explore all things traditional song - with themes. Posts include exciting findings, recordings, photos, quotes, blogs and other oddments. You are welcome to just follow us and look at the posts but we’d love you to contribute too as the whole thing relies on people sending in interesting things that others are interested in seeing.

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Audiences and Expectations

Oct 26, 2017

I was invited to King's College, London as part of their colloquium series yesterday and, as the talk introduced my research in a fairly succinct way, I thought it might be useful to share here so you can get a broad overview of what I do and how I go about it.  Some of the key findings are on the slides, but obviously I used a lot of words too, and some videos (which I will post in another post soon)....  It would be great to go into more depth about anything you find interesting through the comments below - go on, post your thoughts and let’s thrash it out - I'm up for a discussion...

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Folkies Against Fartface

Feb 13, 2017

Hello again, dearest reader, I hope the year is settling down well for you? What with all last year’s Brexit, Syrian nightmares and the political upheaval in the States, many people are unsettled but perhaps that unsettledness is becoming a new kind of norm while we try to make sense out of what is going on. Please excuse the broad political opening to this post – but it is really very tied to the theme this time around – just how political is folk song?..

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Ringing out the old, blogging in the new

Jan 05, 2017

Welcome to my first ever blog post.  This is going to be an experience for us both.  I have been meaning to do this for a while and I’m sure you have no idea what to expect, so I’ll start by telling you why I’m doing this and what sort of things I envisage writing about.  Firstly, it is not going to be about my navel or what’s growing in the garden.  Neither is it going to be about life backstage.  I want to share some ideas in the work I come across in the course of my research and teaching at the University of Sheffield – this will often involve music making and touring, but I’m trying to approach it as opening questions for discussion and debate rather than purely giving you gossipy tit bits.  Sorry if that’s put you right off!..

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