We live in a world in which politics is powered by oppositional dualism and othering this is literally dividing us at a time when we should be uniting to rebuild a better world working for a kinder more civilised and united new normal. I’ll be exploring  how live and online music works as a political space. As a place not only for entertainment, joy, beauty and challenge but also as small parts of bigger conversations about the society we want to build. Hopefully inspiring individuals and changing attitudes.

Based on my DYCP year studying the hurdy-gurdy in Europe and England I will develop and research  interpret, record and reinvent music from the pan European and the England’s traditional music repertoires using contemporary approaches to create a show that has broad popular appeal. I will develop a narrative to present the music that combines the intimacy of a folk concert with the ancient traditions of storytelling and textures of contemporary theatre in a thought-provoking immersive performance.

I’ll be researching and developing a cross genre show in which story-telling, theatre and music are combined with new writing, digital media to create a unique folk gig that weaves immersive storytelling with live music. I’ll be telling the story of a curious musical explorer and the kindness and generosity of strangers in England and Europe, contrasting them with the uncomfortable isolationist rhetoric of Brexiteers and far right politicians.

I’ll be creating virtual duets with musician friends from across Europe for the performance asking them to play with me during the show in the form of projected pre-recorded videos. I’ll write, arrange and record the music in my home studio. I will create an album, videos, visual imagery, scores, live streams, online discussions, workshops and virtual events so that audiences can access and participate in the new works live and online.

This is an action research project that will give me time to develop a new show that uses technology to deliver a clear message that music unites us when politics seeks to divide us. I’ll be developing skills, connections, thinking, planning, testing and honing new ideas in my home studio, developing and researching ways of engaging with a national, international and online audiences.

The Alan James Creative Bursary and Residency Programme, now in its ninth year supports artists in exploring new creative ideas inspired by and sourced from traditional English folk music, without the pressure of a final product.

Alan James, a former Chair of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, died suddenly in April 2019. In the spirit of Alan’s eclectic musical tastes and his ability to foster exciting artistic collaborations, we have encouraged applications which explore English folk music in the context of cross-genre or cross-art form collaborations and explorations.

Six creative bursaries have been awarded, all of which are funded through the PRS for Music Foundation Talent Development Partner scheme. They come under the umbrella of EFDSS’ Artists’ Development Programme, which provides professional development support, both creative and business, to artists at all levels of their career.

Each bursary is worth up to £2,000, and supports artists’ creative research and development together with use of rehearsal space at Cecil Sharp House and access to the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library.


Quentin Budworth is a Hurdy-gurdy player and composer from Yorkshire, England, who makes music from 'Every-hear'.

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