There are some thought provoking parallels to this topic. Take languages as an example. The most fluent English speaking foreigners have usually acquired their proficiency by working as waiters in tourist hotels rather than by formal study. Similar, striving would be pop starts invariably learn their craft strumming in the attic all night, not be attend one of the royal schools. If the desire and the enthusiam is there, a curriculum can probably get in the way. BUT, the work done in recent years by some universities to cherish and preserve fading local traditional arts can only be esteemed. I can cite not only Newcastle, but Aberdeen, Edinbrugh, and Queen's Belfast, and there are doubtless others. Scholarship and research of this kind is the proper role of universities, in folk art no less than any other art. The mere existence of such departments will attract students who love the subject and wish to steep themselves in it. Whether they become famous performers is not relevant. The only danger I can see is, the academic approach being what it is, sooner or later 'experts' will start abstracting formulas and rules to manage classify their subject, then the next thing there will be a 'right' and a 'wrong' folk music, a model answer folk music, etc, etc. I see no sign of that yet.