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Library Lectures 2021

A new series of Library Lectures kicks off in February, welcoming four fantastic speakers who will guide you through fascinating topics around folk song and dance. 

All lectures took place online. 

Tickets £5 per lecture | £17.50 for all four


MARILYN TUCKER AND PAUL WILSON – Folk choirs: Their Origins and Contribution to the Living Tradition

Wednesday 3 February 2021



ANNE DAYE (Historical Dance Society) - Sweet and Ayry Activity: The Vernacular Dances of England c.1550–1700

Wednesday 24 February 2021

What was the dance historical context for Playford’s dedication of The English Dancing Master to the Gentlemen of the Inns of Court in 1651? This talk will explore the genius of the English people in devising new and complex forms of dance, not only the country dance but the hornpipe, jig, morris and measures, resulting in a vernacular dance culture of great sophistication. With the young men of the Inns of Court at the centre of the discussion, the journey of such dances from the people to the gentry, to the theatre and to the court were traced.


NATE HOLDER AND SHZR EE TAN - Folk Arts, Blackface and Race: a conversation with Nate Holder and Shzr Ee Tan

Wednesday 24 March 2021

Black British musician, author and educationist Nate Holder begins a dialogue with Singaporean ethnomusicologist Shzr Ee Tan about what the category of ‘folk’ might mean in British – and  beyond British – contexts. Some historical discussion of the nationalist and romantic/ nostalgia-laced underpinnings of ‘folk’ as a category (and its applications in multicultural/ international scenes from Japan to Indigenous Taiwan to Eastern Europe and the U.S.) were considered. We also examined more recent debates on Blackface, Yellowface and race politics in contested expressions of ‘folk-as-Other’ and ‘Black-as-Other-within-Folk’. 

Why we can no longer claim innocence about blackface: an extract from the lecture


ANNA GUIGNÉ (Memorial University, Newfoundland, Canada) - Maud Karpeles, Adventurer and Folksong Collector: A Reconsideration of her 1929 and 1930 Newfoundland Field Explorations

Wednesday 28 April 2021

In 1929, Londoner Maud Karpeles, a proponent of the early twentieth century British folksong and folk-dance revival movement, journeyed to the Dominion of Newfoundland to document British folksongs in England’s oldest colony.  From 14 weeks of fieldwork, carried out between 1929 and 1930, Karpeles acquired close to 200 songs and dances, later publishing her findings in a series of articles and the major publications Folksongs from Newfoundland (1930, 1931, 1934 & 1970).  Karpeles has always been a controversial figure for scholars because of her colonialist status and her sole focus on collecting songs of British origin. In this presentation Anna Guigné will offer a new consideration of Karpeles as an adventurer with the stamina and determination to carry out her fieldwork in a most challenging environment. When her entire collection of British song material is taken into consideration, particularly the fifty-two songs she acquired from Newfoundland’s remote south coast, we can also discern how and why some of the British songs she so diligently acquired are now part of the Newfoundland song complex.