The Singing Landscape Project

Lead Research Organisation: Bournemouth University
Department Name: Faculty of Science and Technology

Abstract

The Singing Landscape Project uses research by Yvette Staelens and Dr. C.J. Bearman to raise awareness of English folk music, create a sense of common ownership over 'the music of the people', and encourage enquiry into the rich but largely unknown store of music discovered and collected by George Gardiner, Percy Grainger, Cecil Sharp, and Ralph Vaughan Williams, amongst others. It proposes a three-way interactive knowledge transfer between academia, museums, and the general public on an exciting personal journey to a largely ignored heritage.

The project deals with more than 600 traditional musicians and dancers collected from in the three counties of Gloucestershire, Hampshire, and Somerset. It had been assumed that personal detail about their lives was not recoverable - a few lines in a census entry, no more - but diligent research in national and local archives, plus oral history material, has revealed a wealth of detail about the milieu within which traditional music operated. For example, so little was known about the great Somerset singer Emma Overd (1838-1928) that not even her first name was certain. Sufficient was recovered to give her a deserved place in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and to show that her fellow musicians were among the butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers of the street where she lived.

The project engages Bournemouth University with the museum and archive services of Hampshire, Gloucestershire and Somerset to produce a series of presentations and exhibitions revealing hidden collections and new knowledge. It also proposes to produce Folk Maps for Gloucestershire and Hampshire to join the existing Map (the first of its kind) compiled by C.J. Bearman and Yvette Staelens and published by Somerset County Council in 2006. 20,000 copies were printed for free distribution as a cultural, educational and tourism resource. Somerset County Council regards the Map as a valuable addition to its cultural output, and reported wide press interest in its release.

Initial research outputs have included 'Somerset Sisters', a musical performance of songs collected from Cecil Sharp's women source singers which was commissioned by the Chard Foundation for Women in Music in 2001. This performance was subsequently promoted by the rural touring scheme 'Take Art' and toured to seven venues in the county. In 2003, a commercial CD of collected Somerset Folk Songs was developed and issued to celebrate the centenary of Cecil Sharp's first collecting journey around Hambridge. Some of this material was broadcast by the BBC 1 in a 'Songs of Praise' programme in the UK and Australia and by Radio 4 as a feature on 'Women's Hour'.The research has also attracted American interest with the research team being invited to share their work via a presentation to the International Folk Alliance Conference in Nashville in 2003.

Back in the UK there is at present an unprecedented interest in family history. Among the project's aims in taking this material back to the public is that of inviting further oral history contributions to be placed in county archives to provide a resource for researchers and family historians. Some of the biographical material on Emma Overd came from her former employer's daughter who remembered Emma taking her out in her pram. This project investigates an undiscovered country, now present only in the mind and soon to be gone for ever.

The Singing Landscape Project is an exciting collaboration between museums and academia with a distinct focus on public engagement. We want to excite people to discover more about their singing ancestors and to join us in a celebration of the rich folk music heritage of the people of England.


Publications


10 25 50
Yvette Staelens (Author) "The Singing Landscape Project".
 
Title "The Singing Landscape - a celebration of Cecil Sharp", 1 - 28 May 2010. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
 
Title "The Singing Landscape - a celebration of Cecil Sharp", 1 Jan - 14 Mar 2009. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
 
Title "The Singing Landscape - a celebration of Cecil Sharp", 2 Oct - 30 Nov 2010. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
 
Title "The Singing Landscape - a celebration of Cecil Sharp", 21 March - 19 May 2009. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
 
Title "The Singing Landscape - a celebration of Cecil Sharp", 25 July - 3 Sept 2010. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
 
Title "The Singing Landscape - a celebration of Cecil Sharp", 4 March - 24 April 2010. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
 
Title "The Singing Landscape - a celebration of Cecil Sharp", 9 Jan - 20 Feb 2010. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
 
Title "The Singing Landscape, Exhibition Launch", 26 March 2010. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
 
Title The Singing Landscape - further exhibition showing 
Description North Somerset Museum. Weston-Super-Mare, 25th January-30th June 2013 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
 
Description The wide impact of early 20th century English folk song collecting on ordinary people and their descendants which is now being valued.
Exploitation Route Used for personal and family historical research.
Sectors Creative Economy,Education,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
 
Description Continue to provide stimulus to individuals to discover their singing ancestors through a lecture series to Somerset WI from 2014 to date, 26 lectures in total. Also via ongoing distribution of folk maps from centres such as Halsway Manor National Centre for the Folk Arts and online as downloads.
First Year Of Impact 2010
Sector Creative Economy,Education,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Policy & public services
 
Description "Hampshire Folk Map Launch" at Hampshire Archives, Winchester in collaboration with Hampshire County Council Museums & Archive Services on 26 February 2010. 
Organisation Hampshire County Council Museums Service
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Information taken from Final Report
 
Description Researcher CJ Bearman was invited by EFDSS to undertake paid contract to transcribe Cecil Sharp's Appalachian Diaries. 
Organisation English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS)
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Information taken from Final Report
 
Description BBC Radio 4 interview and broadcast 27/12/2012 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact BBC radio 4 interview at the Folk Museum in Gloucester by BBC radio 4 Producer Beatrice Rubens for a broadcast on BBC Radio 4, 11.00 on the 27th December 2012 about the first edition of Beatrix Potter's 'Tailor of Gloucester' which included many rhymes and local songs. The invitation to take part was due BBC awareness of the Singing landscape Project and specifically the Gloucestershire Folk Map.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description BBC Radio Somerset interview Yvette Staelens 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Radio interveiw for BBC Radio Somerset breakfast show by Yvette Staelens on Somerset Folk Song - SLP
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description PI invited to give Christmas Lecture on 'Cecil Sharp and photography' at The Wallace Collection, London 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact powerpoint presentation and distribution of Somerset, Gloucestershire and Hampshire Folk Maps.

Pi invited to give lecture at National Museum
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description PI invited to submit Article to the Guardian (1st April 2011) in defence of Cecil Sharp's reputation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Article in National Newspaper.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Somerset Folksongs for Midsummer 
Form Of Engagement Activity Scientific meeting (conference/symposium etc.)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact PI invited back to Halsway Manor to organise a further weekend of singing Somerset Folksongs, plus lecture and concert.

An invitation to lead a further weekend exploring and singing Somerset Folksongs.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Somerset Folksongs for Midwinter 
Form Of Engagement Activity Scientific meeting (conference/symposium etc.)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact PI invited to organise and lead weekend workshops, present 'The Lost Singers of Somerset' lecture and perform Somerset folksongs in concert at Halsway Manor, National Centre for the Folk Arts.

all participants given copies of Somerset Folk Map
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description The Lost Singers of Somerset - further lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact powerpoint presentation and singing of local folk songs by PI
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description The Lost Singers of Somerset - lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Powerpoint presentation with live singing of local Somerset Folk Songs by the PI.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description The Lost Singers of Somerset - public perfromance 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience
Results and Impact performance of songs collected in Somerset by Cecil Sharp

Performance of Somerset Folk Songs by PI
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description The Lost Singers of Somerset - song day and lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Folk Song Day at Ebenezer Chapel, Burrowbridge, Somerset

Sunday 27th February 2011

A day of sharing research outcomes with the public via an lillustrated lecture and song learning.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description The Lost Singers of Somerset presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Lecture to Beercrocombe Local History Society January 28th 2013
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013