English Folk Dance And Song Society serves up ‘The Full English Extra’

English Folk Dance And Song Society serves up ‘The Full English Extra’New project will digitise three more archive collections and deliver a learning programme in partnership with three national museums 

The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) is to add to several important collections to its online archive and partner three national museums in a new initiative to preserve and promote the folk arts.

The Full English Extra will see the collections of Mary Neal, suffragette, radical arts practitioner and founder of the Esperance Girls Club, and folk dance educator Daisy Caroline Daking added to the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library online archive, alongside its collection of 19th century broadside ballads and songsters.

EFDSS will work with three national museums – the Museum of English Rural Life at the University of Reading, the National Coal Mining Museum for England near Wakefield in Yorkshire and the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London – combining folk arts and museum education to provide powerful new learning experiences for schools.

The Full English Extra, builds on the success of EFDSS’ flagship project The Full English, which created the world’s largest digital archive of folk songs, dances, tunes and customs, and a nationwide learning programme that reached more than 15,500 people.

Katy Spicer, Chief Executive of EFDSS, said:

“The Full English Extra will allow us to expose these important dance and broadside collections to a wider audience. The launch of The Full English archive was a landmark in digital archives and we know from its continuing popularity that people are keen to learn more about folk culture.

“We are very pleased to be working with the museums to develop individual programmes that will allow us to inspire a new generation about traditional folk music and dance.”

The Full English Extra, which is supported by National Lottery players through the Heritage Lottery Fund, will run from September 2015 to March 2016.

About The Full English Extra 

The Full English Extra project will extend the society’s Vaughan Williams Memorial Library digital archive by adding a further three collections. These include the scrapbooks and personal papers of two highly inspiring women, Mary Neal and Daisy Caroline Daking, who were instrumental in the proliferation, preservation and promotion of traditional English Morris and sword dances in the early 20th century.

Mary Neal, a social reformer and champion of working class women and a folk revivalist, founded the Esperance Girls Club to provide assistance to girls from disadvantaged backgrounds, and went on to form the Esperance Morris Club, which taught its members traditional dances and songs. Many of its members became teachers of dance themselves, and the club aided Cecil Sharp in the writing of his first morris book.

Daisy Caroline Daking was also a dance teacher. During the First World War she travelled to France and helped to rehabilitate injured soldiers by sharing her enthusiasm for traditional sword and morris dance with them.

As well as these two important dance-related collections, the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library (VWML) collection of 19th century broadside ballads and songsters will be digitised for online access.

The learning programme will be delivered in partnership with:

Museum of English Rural Life at Reading University – this programme will work with one or more local secondary schools and focus on rural and agricultural themes drawing from the museum’s collection and redevelopment of its galleries.

National Coal Mining Museum for England, Yorkshire  – this project will involve music projects with local schools in Wakefield during the autumn and spring terms, working in collaboration with Wakefield Music Education Hub.

National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London – EFDSS will work with the museum’s formal learning team focussing on themes in the Nelson, Navy, Nation gallery and developing these through work with a local primary school during the autumn term.

The learning programme will create new material for EFDSS’ Resource Bank (www.efdss.org/resourcebank) that provides freely accessible folk arts learning materials. It will provide three folk arts education traineeships across the project – one attached to the work with each museum – and CPD events for teachers and educators from the museum and cultural sectors.

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