Aims & Objectives

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Patrons: Norma Waterson MBE & Kate Rusby



promoting folk arts through partnership




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Aims and Objectives



Every one of the 5 million people in Yorkshire and the Humber should be aware of folk arts and have a chance to take part; and every child in every school in the region should have the chance to learn traditional music, song and dance.

Yorkshire Folk Arts exists to raise the profile of the folk arts - principally, traditional song, music, dance, drama and storytelling. We are working with the Arts Council of England, Yorkshire Arts, and folk arts organisations throughout
Yorkshire, North and North East Lincolnshire and beyond, to develop new audiences, venues and performers.

Our aims are to

  • Raise the profile of folk arts in the wider community.
  • Develop new audiences, venues and performers.
  • Build strategic partnerships at regional level.
  • Create more coherence and strength by encouraging communication between existing folk arts organisations.
  • Offer education, training and advice for current and new performers.
  • Offer advice and practical help with issues of funding and sponsorship.

What's going on in folk arts in Yorkshire?

We have a vibrant and exciting range of folk arts in Yorkshire. These activities are an important part of our cultural heritage, and we want to ensure that more people know about them, enjoy them, and take part in them. As we become more European it's more important than ever that we cherish our national and regional culture and traditions. Yorkshire is home to around:

  • 80 folk clubs
  • 170 dance groups
  • 20 community choirs
  • 30 annual folk festivals
  • 100+ folk bands
  • 500+ traditional singers, musicians and dramatic performers.

More than a million people a year attend song, music and dance events in the county - but there's room for many more.

Yorkshire Folk Arts is not duplicating the work of any current organisations. We intend to build on the strength of a wide variety of organisations by encouraging more communication and sharing of information. There are some strong and well-established organisations flourishing in parts of
Yorkshire - including Ryburn 3 Step, Whitby Folk Festival and Yorkshire Dales Workshops. These are active and successful in their own areas, but there's no single organisation which promotes folk throughout the whole of Yorkshire. That's where Yorkshire Folk Arts comes in.

One of the Arts Council's key objectives is to create a national structure of stimulating and well-run networks/circuits of venues and promoters, which will meet the needs of both artists and audiences. Through a range of partnerships and initiatives the aim is to expand, develop and grow the circuits for the national distribution of work. Yorkshire Folk Arts will work in partnership with the Arts Council and Yorkshire Arts for long-term achievement of their objectives.

We work at a strategic level with organisations throughout the county to ensure they know how folk arts can help them, leading in return to more opportunities for performers and audiences. There is a wide range of ideas under discussion:

  • We approach local authorities to show how folk arts can play a key part in attracting tourists and regenerating communities. We will offer to work with them to develop or refine a cultural strategy which recognises the importance of folk arts; put them in touch with performers, tutors and events; and offer comments and help on any aspect of folk arts.
  • We liaise with Yorkshire Tourist Board and Tourist Information Centres to publicise folk events throughout the county - not just the big festivals, but any opportunities where visitors can see and take part in our cultural heritage.
  • We speak up for folk arts with any organisation concerned with regional development. For example, the Yorkshire Cultural Consortium produced a cultural strategy for Yorkshire's next ten years - and the only folk event mentioned was the Shipley Day of Dance. At least it was mentioned, but there's much more than this in Yorkshire, and Yorkshire Folk Arts will set out to wave the flag for all the folk arts.

One of our key projects is the development of this website, which has grown into the first stop for anyone wanting information about folk arts in Yorkshire.

Promoting folk arts throughout
Yorkshire is a huge task, and with the help of Arts Council Yorkshire, who funded our development worker, Jacey Bedford, to spend a year pulling all these ideas together, researching what's going on around the region, and producing a business plan, we are now in a position to apply for further funding from a solid base.

This is a long-term project which has required considerable time spent in initial planning and research, and in consolidating an effective management team. We are now in a strong position to move forward, the next major step being to secure funding for a Projects Manager to oversee a first series of initiatives. We are also exploring possibilities for youth audience development, and are in discussions with various regional organisations with a view to increased co-operation and resource sharing. In the long-term this will benefit everyone on the folk scene in

What can we do for local authorities?

Folk arts can play a key part in attracting tourists and regenerating communities. We can help you achieve your objectives in these areas. We can work with you at a strategic level to develop or refine a cultural strategy. We can put you in touch with performers, tutors and events. We can offer comments on any aspect of folk arts. If you have any queries or comments at all, please get in touch.





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