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Call for papers: Diversity in Folk

The annual conference of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library will take place on 13 and 14 November 2021 at Cecil Sharp House in London. Its theme will be ‘Diversity in Folk’.

We seek papers on any aspect of folk music or dance and the issue of racial and ethnic diversity, both historically focused and in contemporary discourse. Topics may include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • England’s folk traditions in the context of racism and anti-racism
  • Early song collectors’ attitudes on race, ethnicity and the nature and purpose of folk song
  • Minstrelsy and folk music
  • Blackface in the folk arts
  • The diverse roots of songs and tunes
  • The treatment of ‘the other’ in the folk arts
  • Library and archive approaches to potentially offensive material in music or dance
  • Folk arts, diversity and society today.

We welcome submissions from everyone throughout the world, including from people who would be unable to get to London physically, with the intention of providing an electronic means of delivery.

Our focus is mainly on the UK and Ireland, but we welcome papers – which should last around 20 minutes – on other traditions which tie into our theme, and those which encourage us to view England’s folk traditions from the widest possible range of viewpoints.

Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information or to submit a proposal of no more than 400 words.

The deadline for proposals is Friday 30 July 2021.