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Library Lectures 2024


The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library will present a series of four lectures in Spring 2024.

All lectures will take place on Zoom, and will be priced at £5 each or £15 for the whole series.

Stephen Rowley
Sticks, Bells and Baldrics: Ball de Bastons – a Catalan tradition evolving with the times

Tuesday 16 January 2024 | 7.30pm

Stephen Rowley examines the history and contemporary survival of a Catalan dance form which has much in common with morris dancing, showing how the folk music and dance community can work together to ensure the continuation of tradition.

Find out more and book

Frances Wilkins
Seinn Spioradail: Sacred soundscapes of Scotland’s Highland and Island communities

Tuesday 13 February 2024 | 7.30pm

Frances Wilkins shares the findings of her project
on singing and belief in the Gaelic tradition of the West Highlands and Western Isles.

Find out more and book

Adèle Commins
Shaping and controlling tradition: Charles Villiers Stanford’s contributions to the preservation and reworking of folk melodies

Tuesday 12 March 2024 | 7.30pm

In the centenary of his death, Adèle Commins highlights the use of folk melodies in the music of Stanford, his involvement with the Folk Song Society, and his contribution to debates on folk music in education at the turn of the twentieth century.

Find out more and book

Nigel Tallis
Seeing music: George Scharf and the street musicians of London

Tuesday 16 April 2024 | 7.30pm

Nigel Tallis introduces the work of Bavarian expat artist George Scharf (1788-1860), which depicts the music and dance of Georgian London’s streets, and may hint at the origins of some of English folk culture’s traditional beasts.

Find out more and book

Watch selected past Library Lectures on YouTube

Broadside Day 2022 Online

Saturday 12 Feb 2022, 9:30am-5:00pm, on Zoom

Broadside Day 2023: Call for papers

Call for Papers: Broadside Day

Saturday 11th February 2023

One-day conference – In-person and online

Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regents Park Road, London NW1 7AY

For more than 20 years, the annual Broadside Day, organised jointly by the Traditional Song Forum and the EFDSS, has been the gathering place for people interested in street literature and cheap print – broadsides, chapbooks, prints, tracts, penny histories, woodcuts, and so on.

We would be pleased to receive submissions for 20-minute papers on any aspect of cheap print and street literature.

Please send a title, short abstract and short biography to Steve Roud (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) by Wednesday 7th December 2022.

Most of our papers are concerned with British and Ireland, or English-language print traditions elsewhere, but we always have one or two from further afield, so we would welcome submissions from other places.

Contributors might like to know that many previous Broadside Day papers have been published by The Ballad Partners.


Library Lectures 2022


Cotswold Arts and Crafts and Folk Music
by Martin Graebe

Wednesday 12 January 2022

Late in the Victorian era, the Arts and Crafts movement and the revival of interest in folk music both looked back to past ways of life. Meeting in these cross-currents, Cotswold villagers and the arts and crafts community sang and danced together, with the help of Mary Neal, Cecil Sharp and others.

Martin Graebe is a researcher and writer about traditional song and song collectors.

‘Is local, traditional music dying?’
by Michael Church

Wednesday 16 February 2022

A summary of the pitfalls and problems of field-recording, and some measures to arrest – or at least slow down – the process by which musics can wither and die.

Michael Church’s book ‘Musics Lost and Found: Song Collectors and the Life and Death of Folk Tradition’ was published in October.

CANCELLED: Songs, Tales and Drolls
by Joan Passey

Wednesday 16 March 2022

This event has been cancelled and we hope to have a rescheduled date in place soon.

In the nineteenth century Cornwall was the last county to be connected to the national rail network. Folk collectors mobilised to preserve narratives threatened by the perceived onslaught of tourists and modernity, and some of these collectors also wrote fiction.

This talk considers the relationship between folklore collecting and literature set in Cornwall at that time.

Dr Joan Passey is a Lecturer in English at the University of Bristol, specialising in nineteenth-century literature and the Gothic from the eighteenth century to the present.

‘All together in the dance’
by Matt Simons

Wednesday 20 April 2022

Alec Hunter (1899–1958) was an artist, textile designer and Morris dancer. Raised on Arts and Crafts precepts, he perceived Morris dancing as a highly developed form of English ‘social art’, an apt panacea for an age of disenchantment and division.

This illustrated lecture will examine Hunter’s influence on the interwar Morris revival and will explore many of the threads woven throughout his life.

Dr Matt Simons is a Morris dancer and scholar. His doctoral thesis examines ideas of Englishness in the Morris dance revival of the early twentieth century through a series of intellectual biographies.

Watch selected past Library Lectures on YouTube


Library Conference 2022

‘Once more to the mouths of the people’: Ralph Vaughan Williams and Folk Song