Maria’s Developing Your Creative Practice grant

Finally getting round to re-posting from my True North Music blog!

I’m delighted to have been awarded DYCP (Developing Your Creative Practice) funding from Arts Council England in the latest round of DYCP grants. I found out at the end of May, and shared the news on my social media channels, but things have been so busy with several artists on tour in May and June, that I’m only just getting round to sharing the details here. This funding will help me develop my planned podcast project telling the stories of women and other under-represented voices in roots music, and will also help True North Music to continue and thrive, in what continues to be a somewhat uncertain time for the grassroots live music scene. I’ve been mulling over the idea of a podcast for a couple of years now, and especially wanted to focus on women in music, (as well as people of colour, LGBTQ+ and non-binary folks), at least initially, after finding that an awful lot of music-themed podcasts are almost entirely dominated by white male guests. I’ve always felt passionately about showcasing women in the roots music scene, and having a fair level of gender representation has been a fundamental part of what we do, right from the start. True North Music signed up to the #keychange initiative in 2021, after informally exceeding the 50:50 gender balance goal for many years.

I’ve always enjoyed writing, and as well as writing the promotional copy for our tours and concerts, I’ve written many articles and reviews as a volunteer columnist over the last few years (for British Bluegrass News, Old Time News, Folk Radio UK). The online streaming events that I did in 2020 and 2021 also contributed to my interest in starting a podcast – I really enjoyed the research, interviewing and hosting aspects of these livestreams (nerve-racking though it was) and I got some really encouraging feedback from audiences. Of course, those events (you can watch them again here) were all about the performances themselves, so there was very limited time to chat to the artists. I’m hoping to be able to delve a little deeper in a long-form podcast, where the interviewees will have time to talk at much greater length about their lives, influences and projects.  I’ll be starting the podcast development project this September, so it will be a good while until I actually launch a pilot episode (probably summer 2023), but I have so many ideas bubbling about the amazing people I want to interview for this! – not just the pilot but on the actual series which will hopefully eventually result.

DYCP grants are all about development and diversifying your creative practice (the clue’s in the name!) so this particular grant is to allow me to spend time researching podcasting production, and gaining skills both in the interviewing/journalistic and the technical (recording and editing) areas. It includes some funds for training, a bit of equipment, and to pay a handful of experienced mentors to share their expertise with me. I’m really looking forward to telling the stories of some exceptional and talented folks working in roots music (both onstage and behind the scenes), some of whom I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know over the last few years. Or more accurately, having them tell you their stories, and creating the vehicle to make that happen! Regular True North Music followers will know just how many incredible performers I’ve worked with over the years as a booking agent and promoter, and there are many more fascinating people working behind the scenes across the industry, who are also on my wish list…

Anyway, I’m only at the start of this exciting journey, so there’s quite a way to go before I can bring it to fruition. Stay tuned for more news about this project over the coming months! We’ll need listeners, and the artists and I will, as ever, be counting on your support…


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