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Future of the TMSA

GUEST,Onny 13 Apr 10 - 04:34 AM
sian, west wales 13 Apr 10 - 05:18 AM
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Subject: Future of the TMSA
From: GUEST,Onny
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 04:34 AM

AS some of you will know the Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland is a poor financial state.

The letter below sets out the nature of the problem and is suitable for forwarding to your MSP and, with a bit of editing, anyone else you feel may be able to help.

If you do feel able to send this on to your MSP that'd be great.

There's a bit more background at http://www.tmsa.org.uk/scottish-music-news-detail.asp?n=274

Thanks in anticipation.

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[Date]




Dear [Name of MSP]

Letter of Support on behalf of the Traditional Music & Song Association of Scotland (TMSA)

The Management Board of the Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland (TMSA) has just informed me that due to financial constraints arising from the loss of core funding from the Scottish Arts Council, it has become necessary to make members of the organisation's paid staff redundant.

Douglas Craik, the National Convener of the TMSA has intimated to me that;

"Following the loss of Core Funding from the Scottish Arts Council in 2009, the TMSA has been actively reviewing its organisation and business plan. Every avenue has been explored to redress the adverse financial position in which many grassroots lowland Scottish traditional music and song organisations find themselves and consequently the Management Board has had no alternative but to make members of staff redundant. The National Office will continue to operate from its present location until the end of May 2010, after which it will be based at a location yet to be decided. Details of any new location and revised opening times will be posted on the TMSA web site (www.tmsa.org.uk) at a later date.

A new round of Scottish Arts Council Flexible Funding Applications is currently underway, to which the TMSA has made a comprehensive and robust application, and if successful would hopefully mean the reinstatement of a fully functioning National Office. However, our current situation has been exacerbated somewhat by the recent announcement from SAC indicating that potential funding streams for this financial year are unlikely to be decided until June at the earliest. Unfortunately we do not have the resources to wait that long to hear if such relevant applications for staff and project funding have been successful. In such an uncertain environment, with the establishment of Creative Scotland unlikely to resolve this issue in the foreseeable future, we are left with little choice in the actions we have to take to protect the integrity of our 44 year old organisation."

I wish to alert you to this diminution of the only national and individually representative traditional music and song organisation currently in existence. It is also noteworthy that the TMSA is the only representative organisation that has the authority to speak on behalf of the lowland Scots music and song community, a cultural heritage now essentially unsupported by our national cultural body.

The TMSA was founded in 1966, has 10 Branches located throughout Scotland and is the oldest individual membership organisation with direct roots to the folk revival of the 1950s. Its previous Conveners include the world renowned folklorist and poet Dr. Hamish Henderson and its patrons are Dr. Phil Cunningham OBE, Dr. Aly Bain MBE, Dr. Margaret Bennett Ph.D., Dr. Sheena Wellington, Archie Fisher and Barbara Dickson OBE. The core purpose of the organisation is to promote, present and preserve the traditional music of Scotland. Registered with charitable status, the TMSA co-ordinates a mixture of traditional Scottish music events, educational and knowledge transfer platforms and information and communication resources. TMSA activities encompass the three indigenous languages of Scotland, namely Scots, Gaelic and English, with a particular expertise in the Scots language traditions and grassroots participation, a fundamental element in traditional music and song.

As my MSP I would ask that you bring this matter to the attention of our Minister for Culture, Fiona Hyslop, and to any other relevant bodies and individuals you see fit. It is essential that all the traditions of Scotland be supported and in that endeavour the TMSA has a 44 year history of activity. The fundamental importance of the organisation is explained in the quotes below.

Archie Fisher (Former BBC Radio Scotland "Travelling Folk" Presenter, Performer)

"Since the first Blairgowrie Festival way back in nineteen when-ever-it-was, when the seeds of the TMSA were sown, there has been a need for a continuity organisation which could hold the long term view of the progressive development of the revival in traditional music and song. I believe that the TMSA have followed and hold this perspective in the accumulated and collective consciousness of the organisation. Without their continuity, short term policies from other institutions would have had a narrower focus and a sporadic effect on the flow of the developments in traditional music we have seen from the 1960s. I am not implying that the TMSA can claim all the credit for where the folk music revival is today but their consistency has laid a bench mark in both events and other activities for follow on organisations and this underpinning is as vital today as it has been over the 50 or so years and thoroughly deserves support and funding from departments that are within their reach."


Dr. Sheena Wellington (Performer, known widely for her rendition of "A man's a man" at the opening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, Cultural Advocate and Consultant)

"Traditional music and song comes from the people, belongs to the people and is best cherished and cared for by the people! The Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland is a grassroots organisation which has played, and which continues to play, a major and vital role in ensuring that Scotland's musical heritage is preserved, promoted, and celebrated in all its local and national splendour. The TMSA is not the tartan ribbon round Scotland's musical cake; the TMSA is the cake!"

Further emphasising the importance of the organisation, the TMSA received special mention in the Scottish Government commissioned 'Audit of Current Scots Language Provision in Scotland' report as being a vital resource for this indigenous culture of Scotland (see http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2009/01/23133726/0). Also important to note is the recent Scottish Government commissioned 'Traditional Arts Working Group' report in which it was suggested that the TMSA could be developed to pursue the strategic goals outlined therein (see http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2010/01/28100441/0).
Thus, official Scottish Government Reports covering two great indigenous cultural heritages of Scotland recognise clearly the TMSA as a national resource making it imperative that this organisation receives the political and financial support its history, commitment and importance merits.
I look forward to hearing from you regarding this matter and trust that your support for the TMSA can be relied upon.

Yours sincerely,

[signature]

[Name]


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Subject: RE: Future of the TMSA
From: sian, west wales
Date: 13 Apr 10 - 05:18 AM

I have always enjoyed my interactions with TMSA and the people who support it. They invited me to speak at their 40th Anniversary conference which, ironically as it now turns out, was held at the Scottish Assembly (horrible building).

All the arts are facing hard times but I object to traditional music being in the front of the queue when it comes to cuts. Arts Councils are always banging on about "evidence base" for arts in the community and yet, in Wales, folk/trad/world music gets 11% of the audience share and opera (of which I am a fan otherwise) gets 6%, a figure which hasn't changed in 10 years.

I can't argue for the Arts when hospitals and schools are having critical funding issues but politicians are also banging on about the future being built on innovation and "the knowledge economy". Creativity and innovation go hand in hand so cutting the arts (and not, say, sports) is contrary to the stated goal. Within music, traditional music is all about innovation and entrepreneurism whereas classical music is about colouring within the lines for the most part.

It's very frustrating ....

sian


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