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What's Happening with EFDSS?

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Downshift 18 Apr 07 - 07:08 AM
manitas_at_work 18 Apr 07 - 08:53 AM
The Sandman 18 Apr 07 - 09:25 AM
GUEST,Goodbye Cecil 18 Apr 07 - 09:31 AM
Downshift 18 Apr 07 - 09:52 AM
George Papavgeris 18 Apr 07 - 09:56 AM
Malcolm Douglas 18 Apr 07 - 10:03 AM
GUEST 18 Apr 07 - 10:07 AM
concertina ceol 18 Apr 07 - 10:49 AM
Downshift 18 Apr 07 - 11:10 AM
GUEST,Gadaffi 18 Apr 07 - 11:15 AM
The Sandman 18 Apr 07 - 11:29 AM
Folkiedave 18 Apr 07 - 11:50 AM
Downshift 18 Apr 07 - 12:27 PM
The Sandman 18 Apr 07 - 01:00 PM
The Sandman 18 Apr 07 - 01:03 PM
GUEST,Robbie H Thomas 18 Apr 07 - 02:03 PM
George Papavgeris 18 Apr 07 - 02:30 PM
concertina ceol 18 Apr 07 - 02:33 PM
Ruth Archer 18 Apr 07 - 02:54 PM
GUEST,Melodeon Man 18 Apr 07 - 03:02 PM
Ruth Archer 18 Apr 07 - 03:05 PM
GUEST,Melodeon Man 18 Apr 07 - 03:16 PM
Ruth Archer 18 Apr 07 - 03:19 PM
BB 18 Apr 07 - 03:23 PM
GUEST,Melodeon Man 18 Apr 07 - 04:20 PM
BB 18 Apr 07 - 05:41 PM
Malcolm Douglas 18 Apr 07 - 05:56 PM
The Sandman 18 Apr 07 - 06:09 PM
Ruth Archer 18 Apr 07 - 06:43 PM
Balsto da Loteya 18 Apr 07 - 07:03 PM
Surreysinger 18 Apr 07 - 07:57 PM
Ruth Archer 19 Apr 07 - 02:57 AM
The Sandman 19 Apr 07 - 04:14 AM
The Sandman 19 Apr 07 - 04:23 AM
Ruth Archer 19 Apr 07 - 04:45 AM
Stu 19 Apr 07 - 04:51 AM
The Sandman 19 Apr 07 - 05:02 AM
Ruth Archer 19 Apr 07 - 05:06 AM
GUEST 19 Apr 07 - 06:02 AM
Stu 19 Apr 07 - 06:26 AM
Folkiedave 19 Apr 07 - 07:22 AM
GUEST,The black belt caterpillar wrestler 19 Apr 07 - 07:37 AM
The Sandman 19 Apr 07 - 07:52 AM
GUEST 19 Apr 07 - 08:00 AM
Stu 19 Apr 07 - 08:50 AM
GUEST,Melodeon Man 19 Apr 07 - 09:15 AM
Folkiedave 19 Apr 07 - 09:37 AM
George Papavgeris 19 Apr 07 - 09:37 AM
Stu 19 Apr 07 - 09:55 AM
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Subject: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Downshift
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 07:08 AM

Just heard a rumor that the Board of Trustees has made all the staff at Cecil Sharpe House redundant, except the librarian and the caretakers.

Does anyone know if this is true?


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 08:53 AM

I have just heard that there is a six week consulation period starting with a new organisation chart but no job descriptions to go with it yet. It seems to be affecting the admin staff where there are a lot of part-timers and it looks as if some consolidation is taking place.

I don't want to reveal my source in case they are in breach of their conditions of employment.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 09:25 AM

Dear o dear,what will they do next


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,Goodbye Cecil
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 09:31 AM

Probably sell Cecil Sharpe House and relocate to to a cheaper place outside London as many other organisations have done?


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Downshift
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 09:52 AM

Thanks, Manitas - that does confirm that what I've heard/seen isn't just a bad practical joke.

My source is in much the same situation as yours, I suspect!

The bit of paper that I saw showed 9 jobs redundant, 2 seriously changed (including the librarian - that's worrying!) and 13 unchanged, 7 of which are cleaners & caretakers and 3 of which are managers! Wonder who they'll be managing?

The Society might be salvageable if they sold Cecil Sharpe House, but as I understand it the "Friends" of CSH pretty much ensured back in the 80s that it could never be sold due to that hideous mural in the main hall.

So sad to see it all going to hell in a handbasket. I just hope that the library doesn't suffer through all this.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 09:56 AM

So, what were the redundant jobs, Downshift? That would be a good pointer for the future of the place.

And they retain 7 cleaners?!?! As permanent staff?!?! These days, this seems a tad extravagant for any organisation (or building) that size.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 10:03 AM

Personally I would refrain from comment until something actually happens, rather than speculate over what may or may not be in a confidential discussion document.

Please do try to spell Cecil Sharp's name properly. He deserves that courtesy.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 10:07 AM

Sell Cecil Sharpe House? They'll never do that. It's a pity the rest of the country hasn't yet realised the EFDSS council are more interested in keeping Cecil Sharp House as their personal dance club than in operating a viable national organisation. The real question is, why haven't they made plans to replace their education director, who announced her retirement a year ago and whose last day is coming up soon, if I'm not mistaken.

Still, when they eventually grind to a halt and are left with that big albatross of a building and no funds to support themselves, the time will be ripe for folks interested in and passionate about folk music and dance to come in and start making a difference in London. Luckily, there are other folk music support organisations elsewhere in the country that actually work, so the very small hole left by the demise of EFDSS won't affect people who are actually interested in folk music. I suspect the thriving network of London-area folk clubs will continue on no matter what happens to EFDSS. Pity about that library, though.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: concertina ceol
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 10:49 AM

Is it me or is this an annual event? EFDSS should have sold their main asset and moved to Sheffield when they had the chance a few years ago.

The problem with EFDSS is that it is seen as being distant from what is happening in terms of folk on the ground. My parents have been members for years but I don't know anyone of my generation who are members or knows what EFDSS does.

oh dear! how very very sad.....


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Downshift
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 11:10 AM

Concertina ceol - the difference this time is that they are actually getting rid of the staff. Previously, as far as I can tell, the Trustees have just moved staff around, prevented them from working and that's about it. This time they've just sacked over half of the people who keep things running.

You're right about the age of the membership, tho. I joined because I wanted to use the library. Great resource, helpful people - couldn't have been happier with it. The rest? I got the impression that the staff were wading through treacle to just try and operate. I think the fact that they couldn't keep a Chief Exec for more than a year at a stretch says something about how they treat people.

I let my membership lapse because what else was I getting for £35 a year? A rather parochial little magazine and err... That was it. Oh, and public liability insurance if you're a club. Which I'm not.

They seemed to have picked up in recent times with a few stonking publications - "Traveller's Joy" is great, particularly, and they've had some good occasional events - the Shirley Collins talk, Cyril Tawney's memorial and so forth. I wondered if they'd found the plot again.

I guess the Trustees must have decided that they looked a bit too much like a working folk organisation, so decided to sack some people and get the boot in.

Bloody shame. I'd hoped it was all a bad practical joke. All the Trustees should be ashamed of themselves.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,Gadaffi
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 11:15 AM

FWIW, my understanding is that the librarian's job is funded separately through the Douglas Kennedy Trust, not directly from the EFDSS. Much of the staff have been volunteers or part-time since the hiatus of the 1980s.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 11:29 AM

malcolm,douglas.
for god sake stop worrying about how cecils name is spelt,and start worrying about what is happening to EFDSS.
You remind me of Nero fiddling while Rome was burning


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 11:50 AM

Dick I suspect Malcolm is much closer to what is happening to the EFDSS and is more worried about it than you will ever be.

Politely asking people to spell Cecil Sharp´s name correctly is not exactly onerous. When people do get it correct it gives the impression they know what they are talking about at least a tiny bit.

Spelling his name incorrectly gives just the opposite impression.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Downshift
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 12:27 PM

Sorry, initial spelling my mistake.

Do I get to make up any brownie points by being able to spell both "Karpeles" and "Trefusis"?


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 01:00 PM

Dave,no need to be patronising,why do you assume I am not worried about what is happening at cecil sharp house.
to tick someone off for not spelling his name correctly ,when there are more serious issues to be concerned with does remind me of Nero.
who is responsible for the decline of efdss,over the last thirty years,that is what I would like to know.
when I was a member I voted for the house to be sold and relocated,fearing that what appears to be happening now ,would happen.
the only useful purposes efdss,appear to have now,are the library,insurance coverage for festivals and publications,my god how the mighty have fallen,.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 01:03 PM

oh yes and no one could be bothered to take me up on my donation for a song writing competition,typical.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,Robbie H Thomas
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 02:03 PM

May I, as an EFDSS Trustee and a NC member involved in this matter, echo Malcolm's post and ask that you all refrain from making comments on assumptions based on misquotations of a confidential discussion document. Announcements will be made and information given as and when appropriate.

I would also ask that those people amongst you who have been, or who may be in the future, given sight of any confidential document relating to this matter refrain from quoting from it or discussing it on any forum, public or private, as it breaches the confidence not only of the EFDSS, but also of the other EFDSS staff members who have chosen to keep this matter in confidence.

Thank you
Robbie H Thomas
EFDSS National Council National Member

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Now, I'd like to make some purely personal comments arising from a couple of points made in earlier posts on this thread:

(1) Cecil Sharp house is the headquarters of a UK national folk organisation - the English Folk Dance and Song Society - whose Mission Statement is:
"The EFDSS will develop its resources, namely the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, Cecil Sharp House, its professional staff and members, to:
•maintain itself as a centre of excellence for the study, practice and dissemination of traditional English folk song, dance and music;
•provide national and local outreach services that enable and increase access;
•celebrate diversity and promote equality"

The EFDSS is also the Trustee of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, whose Mission Statement is:
"To:
•Continuously expand access to the library, by always being outward looking and developing partnerships which celebrate the many and various cultural traditions of England'
•Build our membership and encourage a larger and more diverse range of people to discover, use and develop the library
•Make a full contribution to national, regional and local educational and social programmes which develop citizenship and help to build communities
•Maintain and enhance our unique heritage asset in innovative ways to achieve the highest standards of care for the collection and the building it lives in
•Employ the best staff and volunteers possible, and to continuously support their professional development to the benefit of our users."

The agreed and declared Strategy of the EFDSS is:
1. EFDSS will commit itself to a major renovation of Cecil Sharp House which will greatly increase the capacity of the VWML; enable the collection to be preserved in accordance with professional standards, renovate the performance spaces; increase the areas also suitable for commercial letting (in order to offset running costs); add an exhibition space and an interactive "museum" space and significantly rework the public areas.
2. Nationally, EFDSS will continue with and expand its outreach programme by disseminating information through the VWML; through EFDSS publications; through its education programme and by providing access to its extensive network of folk contacts.
3. Locally, EFDSS will concentrate on outreach projects that: promote use of the VWML through educational activities; and that promote use of CSH through folk activities (particularly those involving children, the disabled, the elderly and ethnic groups).
4. EFDSS will give priority to programmes and projects which can be developed in partnership with other organisations.

Those Mission Statements and Strategy are what the EFDSS and the VWML are committed to, and everything that they do is being aligned with that Mission Statement and Strategy.

(2) As well as housing the administrative office of the Society, Cecil Sharp House is the home of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library.

(3) Any surplus from the operation of Cecil Sharp House (and CSH does generate an operational surplus annually), any surplus from the membership income of the Society (after the costs of running the Society, producing the Folk Music Journal and English Dance and Song), any surplus from the Society's Publications programme, and any other available monies (ie that are not given or raised for a specific pupose) that come into, or are generated by, the Society from grants, fundraising, donations, legacies etc go towards supporting the costs of running of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library and the upkeep of the building that houses it - Cecil Sharp House. Some of these additional monies (for example the annual grant from the Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust) are given to the Society specifically for the Library.

As a Trustee of the EFDSS I have a legal duty to ensure that the Society fulfils its charitable purposes, makes best use of its resources and that it is and remains financially secure.

On a personal level I thoroughly resent, and feel extremely insulted by, being told in this thread that I should be ashamed of myself, that I'm only interested in having a London dance club house, that I've "... decided that they (sic) looked a bit too much like a working folk organisation, so decided to sack some people and get the boot in...." and being accused of all the other clap-trap that gets regurgitated incessantly every time CSH and EFDSS get mentioned in the same breath.

I'm happy to discuss and debate with anyone, anywhere and on any forum what EFDSS could and should be doing, but I'm not happy to be gratuitously insulted. If anyone wants to accuse me (and by extension the EFDSS National Council)of getting something wrong then tell me to my face and I'll respond and defend our actions and motives - and I'll happily admit it and change my and the NC's ways if you're right and we're wrong... but you'd better have your facts right and not just be regurgitating ancient assertions!

In this day and age where other organisations, some commercial, some charitable, have sprung up to take advantage of "market opportunities" and available grants for "projects" and the like, the EFDSS remains the only organisation that is dedicated to preserving a national treasure and resource (the library) and to "maintain itself as a centre of excellence in the development of traditional English folk dance, song and music by providing national and local outreach services which enable and increase access to all; to celebrate diversity and promote equality."

The EFDSS gets very little grant funding (unlike many other folk arts organisations) as the majority of the costs that it has to find are core costs and, as anyone who works with funders knows, it's much easier to get funding for an eye-catching project than to get funding for core activities - especially when these core activities are as unglamorous as keeping a folk music, dance and song archive (in our case the VWML) going and growing.

I'll be the first to state (not to admit, but to state) that EFDSS hasn't got everything right in the past and it hasn't got everything all right now. Furthermore, I have my own severe and valid criticisms of how, where and why it does what it does. However, unlike many of the detractors out there who are only too quick to bitch about what EFDSS did and didn't do over the last 75 years, does and doesn't do now, should and shouldn't do in the future and those who are seemingly stuck in the self-destructive timewarp of the "Sell the House" debate, I decided last year to get stuck in and to help the Society work towards ensuring that it (and thereby the VWML) survives and prospers.

One lesson that I have learned in life is that I can't change what happened yesterday, what is happening today was largely decided yesterday and that the only difference that I can make is to change what is going to happen tomorrow. Or as my Mum used to say, "Don't cry over spilt milk, mop it up and get on with milking the cow!"

With regard to EFDSS, its operation and its relationship with the wider folk world there is a tremendous amount that needs to be done, there is a lot that is being done and there is an awful lot that is going to be done. To people like me and the other NC members who are all working together to drive the transformation of the EFDSS into a strong, relevant, proactive organisation and thereby to ensure an enhanced future for the VWML, many of the comments elsewhere on this thread are unhelpful at best and downright insulting at worst.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

That's my personal comments over.

Just to reiterate where I started from - can I again echo Malcolm's post and ask you all to refrain from comment on this confidential matter until something actually happens. Announcements will be made and information given as and when appropriate.

Thanks again,
Robbie Thomas
EFDSS National Council National Member


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 02:30 PM

Can't say fairer, Robbie. Good luck.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: concertina ceol
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 02:33 PM

The basic issue seems to be money. Should the more successful artists and festivals charge a levy which goes toward EFDSS?


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 02:54 PM

I'm a member, on the "right" side of 40 (for a little while longer, anyway!) and I see lots of signs of positive change in EFDSS.

I recently joined the education advisory committee. What does that mean in real terms? Well, EFDSS are a partner in our Shooting Roots summerschool in July, and I look forward to partnering them in the long term with our other folk development work. I think that these kinds of partnerships represent part of the way forward for EFDSS, and it's exciting that they're embracing regional development projects like this.

The "parochial magazine" is now a full-colour quarterly, packed with features on the contemporary folk scene while still fulfilling its remit for exploring the history and heritage of folk music and dance. I think it stands favourable comparison with, say, Living Tradition these days. Which is why I'm proud to contribute to it. And I think the other recent publications, both the CDs and support materials for schools, and books aimed at the general membership like Traveller's Joy, have been brilliant.

Finally, my understanding is that there are solid plans for the replacement of the Education Director.

IMHO, EFDSS is making a real effort to move forward, and should be helped and supported by those who purport to care about the tradition, not given a gleeful kicking by people with obvious axes to grind.

Admittedly, if I were the boss of everyone I'd sell CSH tomorrow.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,Melodeon Man
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 03:02 PM

Ruth - you're right. The recent publications have been brilliant. I can't imagine why the team behind them have been let go if that's what's happened.

And why isn't the new EDS hitting the news-stands along with Living Tradition and fROOTs? It should do. Maybe then there'd be more money to actually invest in staff and premises.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 03:05 PM

Wow - where do you see LTrad or fRoots on the newsstand? I always used to have to order them from my newsagents or subscribe, and I don't think I've ever seen them sitting next to Mojo or Kerrang at WH Smiths.

EDS is available on the record stall at loads of festivals, though.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,Melodeon Man
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 03:16 PM

Err... All of the big bookshops up Oxford Street and Charing Cross Road where I work stock them. Along with Dirty Linen, Sing Out etc. The bigger music shops with magazine sections usually stock fRoots and LTrad, too.

Don't get to many festivals, so can't speak for that, though.

I'm not having a go, honestly. I agree that the public face of EFDSS has greatly improved recently, and would stand up along many of the other organisations working today if given a chance.

I guess that this news just worries me - I'd rather see them consolidate on the good work that's happening now instead of knocking it all down and starting again.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 03:19 PM

I'd rather wait and hear what's going on when they're ready to tell us, to be honest, instead of fretting based on rumour...I reckon that building on the good work is probably what they're trying to do...

Ah - Oxford Street. I think you'll find that situation isn't reflected outside London! I used to order fRoots from the newsagents and they took it out of a little brown file behind the counter. It was like buying porn...


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: BB
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 03:23 PM

I have no wish to speculate on what is happening as far as staffing is concerned at the moment, but any organisation has to cut its coat according to its cloth, which is what EFDSS seems to be doing at the moment. I also don't wish to bring up the 'sell CSH' debate again, which is what lost the Society an awful lot of members in the '80s.

What I do want to do is to refute some of the statements which have been made.

"The difference this time is that they are actually getting rid of the staff. Previously, as far as I can tell, the Trustees have just moved staff around, prevented them from working and that's about it." Not so. When the Society was going through a hard time at the beginning of the '80s, initially two of the full-time regional staff were made redundant, followed a year or so later by another one who had been made up to National Events Officer, leaving only one full-time member of staff not based in London, who was the Education Officer at the time.

"Why haven't they made plans to replace their education director, who announced her retirement a year ago and whose last day is coming up soon, if I'm not mistaken." Because that post was funded by the Sports Council, who are no longer operating in the same way, and therefore the funding is no longer available.

"A rather parochial little magazine" - the last issue of which seemed to be rather more interesting than the last issue of 'Living Tradition'. At least, I found more of interest to an English person primarily interested in song, but also interested in other areas of the tradition.

"The only useful purposes efdss,appear to have now,are the library,insurance coverage for festivals and publications" And is that so bad? The library is an invaluable resource to anyone interested in English song, amongst other things, even when, like me, one has a pretty vast library of one's own. The insurance cover is not just for festivals (in fact, I'm not sure it's *even* for festivals), but it is of great value to organisers of small events. And as for publications, there are some great ones coming out at the moment, including the reissue of the 'Marrowbones' series. No-one else seems to be bringing out books of traditional songs these days, which has been a problem for newbies for years now - the only place they've been able to find songs has been from recordings, which isn't necessarily the best way to learn songs as there's a tendency to slavishly copy the style of the people singing the songs.

As for the person who didn't think this was worth £35 a year (less than the price of a decent meal out), have you ever thought how much more the Society could do if more people put in their £35 a year, and actually thought, in the words of JFK I think, 'Don't ask what EFDSS can do for you, but what you can do for the EFDSS!' and all things that they might be able to achieve if people joined it instead of forever complaining about it?

I'm not saying that I never criticise the Society - I do, but I hope from a position of some knowledge - but it makes me mad when people complain from a position of almost total ignorance. If you're a member, as far as I am concerned you have a right to criticise; if you're not, you haven't - it's not *your* money that's going into it!

There, I feel better for that!

Barbara


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,Melodeon Man
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 04:20 PM

Barbara: I *am* a member. Proudly wearing my badge at dances and spreading the word :-)

Am I right in thinking that EFDSS is the only fee/membership based folk organisation/agency in the country? How do other people do it and make it profitable? This isn't a weighted question - genuinely curious as to how people like Eddie Upton and Paul Davenport make it pay (or at least support itself) whilst appearing to have less "public face" than EFDSS.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: BB
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 05:41 PM

Good for you, Melodeon Man, but then, you weren't one of those complaining!

Eddie's Folk South West is an Arts Council funded folk development agency - not membership based. Not sure about Paul's, but it's basically small and local, although doing good work - don't know whether it's membership based. Certainly has no headquarters to maintain. I think it's rather like Ryburn 3-Step, local enthusiasts who make things happen locally.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 05:56 PM

If you're talking about Paul's 'Hallam Traditions', that's just him and Liz, so not really comparable.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 06:09 PM

BB.Everyone has a right to criticise whether they are a member or not.
Jim Carroll frequently criticises comhaltas[he is not a member],I disagree with some of his criticisms,but he has aright to make his points.
secondly, comhaltas also bring out books of traditional music.
thirdly comhaltas had the good sense to realise,that competitions brought in revenue,,,,,,and that fleadhs/festivals brought much needed trade to the areas in question,something that efdss didnt seem to realise.
you can get as mad as you like,but as the western world believes in free speech,lots of ex and non members will continue to criticise,
what EFDSS needs to do is listen to some of that criticism.,and ask themselvers why the ex members are ex members.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 06:43 PM

good lord, Dick. We've been here before with the festivals and competitions. Comhaltas is hardly a model to hold up of relevant, dynamic contemporary practice.

Festivals are best organised by professional festival organisers - why duplicate what's being done very well elsewhere?

If this is really just you being chippy because EFDSS didn't leap on your offer of funding some competition as long as you were the judge...well, it was a bit daft.

As an EFDSS member, I would oppose your ideas about festivals and competitions most vociferously. But please let's not have this discussion again - it's still irrelevant and unhelpful.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Balsto da Loteya
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 07:03 PM

i think your Cecil Sharp House a very good thing. Some people say move it to Sheffield. Where that? Londion is a place I have heard of here in Portugal. Capital opf England no? Good place for study of English folk music yes?


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Surreysinger
Date: 18 Apr 07 - 07:57 PM

I've been a member for about 36 years, through thick and thin, having joined while a student, and certainly not feeling the need to let my membership lapse during the problems of the 1980's. Through the years I've valued receiving ED&S in its many guises (have to say I'm actually not sure about ALL colour magazines of any type- I'm more concerned with the content of the articles , and not the pretty pretty look of something - which in fact I find a distraction rather than a benefit), and in the last few years the Journal far more so (something I never read in my younger days, but devour with interest now). Until recent years I NEVER used the library, but always valued the fact that it was there for me if I wanted to - all of the benefits which were being scorned earlier in the thread have been of value to me in one way or another. I too have been known to wear my badge proudly (at the moment it seems to have done a runner, but it will turn up, I have no doubt - it always does). As far as I'm concerned my annual subscription is partly a statement of my support for what the Society does and is - I do not necessarily need to get anything out of it.

By the way, could I echo Ruth's thoughts about the question of festivals and competitions being raised again - old ground covered at length previously.

As to the points raised at the start of this thread, even though I'm a member I can't see that internal documents, and proposals (and proposals don't necessarily result in actualities) are any business of the rank and file and non-members at this stage, and therefore are not a suitable matter for discussion here.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 02:57 AM

Agreed on that last point, SS. It's not really fair to be speculating on the future of the organisation or its direction based on gossip.

Re the colour magazine: I think it's a great step forward. The magazine is not just a good read - it's a good marketing tool for EFDSS. When it's sold at festivals it is available to the general public. While I think that the content has, for some time, been able to hold its own against more commercial publications, it has not quite had the equivalent professional look, largely because so few magazines are produced in monochrome these days. By updating that look, I think it gives a better impression of the society itself: an organisation that's not a parochial backwater, but which instead is striving to be relevant and contemporary.

I think everyone would agree that EFDSS could do with an influx of new, younger members. Hopefully the new-look magazine will be one tool in helping to achieve that goal (especially now that the magazine has got its own Myspace!). I think the content is still unique: there's not really any other folk magazine that carries the range of features that EDS does. But by updating its look, maybe the magazine can get that content out to a readership that extends beyond the current membership. And maybe some of those new readers will eventually want to become members themselves...

Of course, the magazine can't achieve this goal on its own. There have to be changes in perception about what the society is there for, and what it does, if a new generation of members is going to be attracted. But I think there have been some very interesting things happening recently, and the general direction seems to have been a very positive one. So I'm reserving judgement about the latest developments at CSH till we know what's really going on.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 04:14 AM

Ruth Archer,you say comhaltas is hardly a model to hold up of contemporary dynamic practice.
Comhaltas have recently been holding round the fireside sessions,involving children and adults,these have been very successful..
During the summer they organise seisuins throughout Ireland,which again are very successful,
A national tradional concert tour was also organised[featuring top Irish musicians and singers],again a success.
they publish books/cds on traditional music,.
they organise fleadhs both regionally and nationally,as well as instrument workshops.,and produce a colour magazine.
viewers can make their own decisions from this information.
In my opinion this information shows comhaltas to be more dynamic and contemporary[particuarly the fireside sessions]than EFDSS.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 04:23 AM

RuthArcher,why is a song writing competion daft ,efdss were involved with one at cheltenham festival,.
do you mean that its daft for me to be judging,let me remind you that I have been a professional performer for over thirty years,have written a number of songs[some have been recorded by other performers].your remark[daft]is either insulting to me,or denigratory to efdss[Cheltenham festival].


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 04:45 AM

I was at the competition at Cheltenham, actually. There was a judging panel made up of a range of interesting young folk performers, rather than one person insisting on judging just because they were donating the prize money. If you're after that sort of self-aggrandisement, set up your own competition. But regardless of who is judging, do I think this represents a major strand in the way forward for EFDSS? No, I do not.

I'm not going to debate comhaltas aain. The last EFDSS thread got taken over by you banging on about comhaltas. It was tedious in the extreme. I'm sure anyone with a sufficiently masochistic bent can find and read that discussion if they so wish.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Stu
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 04:51 AM

"Wow - where do you see LTrad or fRoots on the newsstand"

As has been said, I often see them for sale, and every Borders I have been in has a reasonalbe selection of folk mags.

I have just let my membership lapse for the simple reason that I can't actually afford it (I'm a freelancer and everyone wants their pound of flesh from us!) due to cashflow problems and at £35 it's just too much money at the moment. I could stay in for two weeks I suppose, but as I work on myu own I'd go crackers. I'll rejoin when a big cheque finally lands on my doormat. I think it's reasonable value for money - the journal is excellent and you get insurance for playing gigs.

As for the magazine, I don't think it's as slick as LT which is a more commercial concern, but the quality is always excellent, the articles interesting and the reviews good. No compliants there, but to get it on the newstands it'd have to have more pages.

EFGSS is London-centric though, no doubt about it (primarily because it's based there I suppose). For those of us that never get the Smoke it can seem a bit of waste of cash being a member when you may only visit the library once a decade. Moving it to a more central location and making it a national centre for folk music and dance would make it more relevant - perhaps along the lines of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, which has vibrant branches across the country(ies) and which could teach music and dance to people across the land.

Digitising the library and making the entire collection available online to members would be a step forward too - the sound archive should be online and accessible as soon as possible, and this is well within the bounds of current technology.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 05:02 AM

as I have stated elsewhere,my offer still stands,I am prepared to agree on a judge mutually acceptable to efdss and myself.
you are again insulting me by suggesting that I am in this for self aggrandisement,
I thought this was one of the more progressive moves by EFDSS.and one that would be worth repeating,and was hoping to have some dialogue between EFDSS and myself,but nothing happened.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 05:06 AM

Maybe they'd take more notice if you were a member.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 06:02 AM

"Moving it to a more central location and making it a national centre for folk music and dance would make it more relevant"
Hello, can you tell me what part of England is more accessable to the rest of the country than London?


"Digitising the library and making the entire collection available online to members would be a step forward too - the sound archive should be online and accessible as soon as possible, and this is well within the bounds of current technology."
I take it you haven't heard of Copyright laws then. . . .


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Stu
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 06:26 AM

Ahhh, the nameless Guest . . .

"Hello, can you tell me what part of England is more accessable to the rest of the country than London?"

The answer is in the quote in your post - more central. London is not easily accessible to people living in the North of England, East Anglia or the South West even, whereas a location around the Midlands which is at the centre of the motorway and rail networks and therefore far easier (and cheaper) to get to.


"I take it you haven't heard of Copyright laws then. . . ."

I have actually - I deal with music, footage and image copyright as part of my work and whilst I don't know the provenance of all the sound recordings in the EFDSS library, copyright is a surmountable obstacle in many cases- simple as that.

I can tell you many folk musicians out in here in the dark 'parochial' provencies see the EFDSS as a rather stuffy organisation that caters to home counties that bears little or no relevance to them, keeping the tradition alive in pub sessions and singarounds. I don't agree with that view, but it is an image that needs to be addressed, and making the Society more accessible would be a major step,in that direction.

What are your objections to the CCE model Ruth?


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 07:22 AM

All the problems with the CCE model v. EFDSSS were voiced on a previous thread that Ruth mentioned. To repeat them all would be tedious. If the EFDSS had´half the funding the CCE get from the Irish government it could do a lot more.

As for digitising the library and making it available any suggestions as to who might meet the cost of this? There is a full-time librarian and two part-time librarians (I think) at present ansd every time I have been there they have been snowed under with work.

I agree the perception of the EFDSS needs altering - but people´s perception´s are often wrong too.................

Incidentally another EFDSS publication, a completely revised edition of "Marrow Bones" is due to be launched at the beginning of May.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,The black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 07:37 AM

London accessable? I've not been there in years.
I pass the NEC 30 or 40 times every year on my travels around the country and that's just 130 miles or so from me in Lancaster. Sheffield area I've get to about 5 or 6 times a year. On the other hand I've only ever been to Manchester 4 times in my life.
If you want somewhere accessable don't put it in a big city.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 07:52 AM

I mentioned three positives about EFDSS,and as a result am character assassanated for offering to sponsor a song writing competition.,.
Ruth Archer you owe me an apology,Iam not offering to sponsor a songwriting competition for my own self aggrandisement,you are unnecessarily aggressive,insulting and rude.
Folkie Dave,is right about the need for EFDSS to change the way it is perceived it also needs to change its own perception,try and learn from errors it has made in the past.
Any business that is not successful needs to look at and analyse successful businesses,see what they are doing ,look at the ingredients of their success,EFDSS is not successful, Comhaltas is.
Please do not insult all the volunteers in comhaltas,who work very hard in making it a success,by trying to imply that it is all down to more cash,it is also down to many other things,policies,branch membership,involvement in fleadhs/exams competitions,and social music playing,in the branches.,all of which is a result of hard work and superior organisation.[although there is still room for improvement].


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 08:00 AM

Balsto da Loteya: Sheffield is where the last vestiges of the sole remaining dedicated Folklore Department in England cling on NATCECT

It is also where Doc Rowe's Archive
has its physical home.

And you can get a decent meal for less than £35 (BB 03.23)


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Stu
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 08:50 AM

"And you can get a decent meal for less than £35 (BB 03.23)"

Sounds like London prices to me. You can get a cheese and bacon oatcake with beans and a brew for less than four quid in Macclesfield, and that's a reet decent meal.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: GUEST,Melodeon Man
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 09:15 AM

Stigweard - you're making me hungry now!


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 09:37 AM

Sheffield is a dump.

Houese are overpriced; there isn´t a decent restaurant for miles; scenery around is vastly over-rated; most of the beer is undrinkable; football teams are both rubbish;(that´s Sheffield United and Sheffield United reserves); no folk club worth talking about; sessions are few and far between; etc........etc...............

So don´t any of you Southern jessies bother coming.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 09:37 AM

So I can drive there for me tea tonight, stig - £4 for that plus £29 for petrol, why, I'd be quids in! :-)

Seriously though. You lot have it better up north, it's true. Bettr than Londong and the Home Counties anyroad. I'd move to Macclesfield like a shot, were it not for Herga; and I don't want to put too much distance between me and Shambles.


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Subject: RE: What's Happening with EFDSS?
From: Stu
Date: 19 Apr 07 - 09:55 AM

"All the problems with the CCE model v. EFDSSS were voiced on a previous thread that Ruth mentioned. To repeat them all would be tedious"

I assume it's this thread you're talking about - please correct me if I am wrong.

Well, after reading the thread I get a better idea of what you mean FolkieDave, especially with regards to funding. I've got great respect to all those (especially the volunteers) who make the Society work, who are trying to keep our traditions alive and who store this pricesless resource for future generations. Hats off to you and your work is appreciated.

But . . . I'm now less sure about renewing my membership than I was. I sense some hostility here to the idea of the EFDSS as a truly national organisation. It <>is London-centric, and it's relevance to the majority is questionable when you have to live inside the M25 to get the best out of it. I wouldn't know if the librarians are snowed under with work - I cannot get to CSH without a great deal of expense and time, I have never been and can't see me being able to go in the future.

The cost of digitising the library. How much do you think that would be? Possibly a lot less than you think unless you wanted it done by tomorrow. I'll do it here at home if you want, free of charge. Cost is not an issue - willingness to do the work is, and whether you want members from across the country access to the archive.


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