18 March 2010

Simon Keegan-Phipps interview for BBC Radio 3 "Music Matters"

Dr Simon Keegan-Phipps will be interviewed for the BBC Radio 3 programme Music Matters later this month. His recently concluded research project – Performing Englishness in New English Folk Music and Dance – will be featured in a special edition of the programme looking at folk music, in which Simon and the project’s Principal Investigator, Dr Trish Winter (University of Sunderland), will be interviewed by Tom Service on the subject of contemporary English identity and the folk arts.

The project focussed on the current resurgence of interest in English folk music and dance, and had three main objectives: to examine the characteristics of the current English folk resurgence; to identify the reasons for this resurgence and how it relates to wider shifts in national identity; and to investigate the particular forms of English identity that the modern folk scene incorporates. To address these questions the project undertook in-depth interviews with artists, participants and promoters, along with media analysis and participant observation at a range of cultural events.

Winter and Keegan-Phipps have shown that English folk is a highly significant site for the negotiation of contemporary English identities and, furthermore, that it has become a site where the politics of English identity are being fiercely contested. The project’s findings also suggest that, as interest in English identity continues to grow, a clear understanding and backing of the contemporary folk arts among policy makers and the media will be important in avoiding their appropriation by the far-right.

A report of the project’s main findings was published in January and presented to the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Folk Arts at the House of Commons.

The Music Matters programme will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on Saturday 3rd April at 12.15pm.