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Youth-Friendly Folk Review

Updated: Feb 5

Esperance hosted a panel discussion at EFDSS' Folk Education Development Day at Cecil Sharp House in February 2022. The theme of the conference was 'Youth-Friendly Folk' and it asked the question "How do we involve a more diverse range of young people in folk – in and out of school - in terms of ethnic diversity, gender equality, disability, and challenging circumstances?"

Esperance's panel was on Gender Equality and Safety in Folk, chaired by Esperance co-founder Rosie Hood. The panellists were Jennie Higgins, Maddie Morris and Jenna Macrory, alongside two of Esperance's co-founders Sarah Jones and Nicola Beazley.

Maddie Morris reviewed the panel afterwards: "During this panel, we discussed various aspects of safety within the folk scene, from the safety of women and those of marginalised genders, issues of trans exclusion within the folk scene, safeguarding and the protection of young people in festivals and the content of folk song and its effect on audiences. As a panellist, it felt validating to get a platform to speak about some of the issues in the folk scene and the realities of being the part of a scene as a woman or someone with a marginalised gender identity. As well as this, it was wonderful to speak alongside such intelligent, reflective and passionate women about a scene we all care so deeply about."

Maddie went on to talk about the whole conference: "Youth Friendly Folk felt like a really important moment for the folk and traditional scene. As someone who is queer, neurodivergent and speaking up about the inequalities in the scene it can sometimes feel as if people don’t care or as if these issues aren’t being heard or validated. The Folk Education Network created a space where people were able to speak openly and freely about the issues in the scene, and this felt revolutionary in a climate that is often accused of being resistant to change."

Read Maddie Morris' review of the day:

Find out more about the Folk Education Network:

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