The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) is delighted to announce four important new appointments: Neil Pearson as Programming Manager; Sophia Linehan as Marketing & Communications Director; Laura Reid as Learning Manager; and Laura Smyth as Assistant Librarian.
Neil Pearson was appointed to the new position of Programming Manager in July. Neil is part of the management team that organizes and programmes the Shrewsbury Folk Festival, which is one of the most progressive and forward looking folk festivals in the UK. In recent years he has been Project Director for two high-profile and successful multi-artist projects; both the Darwin Song Project and the Cecil Sharp Project have seen British and North American folk musicians come together for a residential period with the aim of creating new works together. Neil also programmes a monthly concert series in Shrewsbury and has worked as Consultant Programmer for Theatre Severn (Shrewsbury).
Sophia Linehan took up the post of Marketing & Communications Director on 25 July. Sophia most recently held the position of Head of Marketing & Communications at Manchester Camerata where she was responsible for every aspect of the orchestra's marketing and communications, including the public relations and digital media functions. In her new role she will lead on raising the national and international profile of EFDSS and its activities, as well as folk arts in general; broadening and increasing audiences and participants for activities at Cecil Sharp House; and developing a national online folk directory.
Laura Reid has been appointed to the new post of Education Manager and will take up her new role on 12 September, joining EFDSS's Education Director, Rachel Elliott, and other members of the EFDSS Education team. Laura has over 10 years experience working within music education, working for several London Music Services, East London Late Starters Orchestra, and The Sage Gateshead. Her work as a professional musician includes sessions for BBC TV and radio (Folk Brittannia, Mercury Music Prize, and Jools Holland). She most recently worked as a Senior Tutor for the Lambeth Music Service, managing the wider opportunities programme, and for In Harmony Lambeth - a music project aimed for social positive change - based on the Venezuelan El Sistema programme. At EFDSS Laura will have responsibility for initiating, managing, devising and delivering folk song, music and dance projects with diverse groups of children, young people and adults, as well as professional development and training opportunities for artists, teachers, arts educators and other professionals, in London and other parts of England.
Following the retirement of Peta Webb, after ten years at EFDSS, Laura Smyth joined as Assistant Librarian in the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library on 5 September. Laura completed a post-graduate diploma, with distinction, in Library and Information Management at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2008 and has most recently worked as Library Assistant at Stockport Local Heritage Library. In her new role, she will contribute to the development, maintenance and efficient operation of the library and archive, and assist in the provision of an information service to members of EFDSS, staff and external enquirers.
Katy Spicer, Chief Executive of EFDSS, welcomes these appointments:"I am extremely pleased to announce the appointments of these outstanding individuals, all of whom bring experience, creativity and the respect of their colleagues to their new responsibilities. Working together with our existing staff and Board, they will each play key roles in furthering EFDSS' goals to deliver unique benefits to the wider folk sector."
Mike Norris, Chairman of EFDSS' Board, added: "I am delighted by all four appointments. They represent the continuing development and professionalisation of EFDSS."