Professional Development Retreat

For the last couple of years Halsway Manor has opened its doors to young folk professionals to apply for a for a ‘free’ creative retreat at the manor.

In 2017 we offered two days of good food and great company in the glorious setting of Halsway Manor. Discussions were had raising issues relevant to them as emerging artists, fun was had in yomps on the Quantocks, and music was made throughout. This was a pilot project led by Halsway Manor and Neil Pearson (Sounds Just Fine) to inform our commitment to supporting professional development with a view to developing a sustainable project to benefit folk artists and musicians at the earlier stages of their careers.

In 2018 and 2019 we extended it to a week long stay and many new artistic collaborations were formed. Artists were provided space, nourishment and time to use the manor as they liked to find inspiration for new content or collaborators, to compose, to practice or simply to unwind after touring.

Covid has disrupted this years plans but as things return to normal we are likely to offer something like this again so keep your eyes pealed.

All images: Elly Lucas

“Being invited to an event like this straight away raises ones profile. I feel very lucky to have been part of this. It shows industry experts etc the relationships I am creating and building on, allowing more people to feel interested in investing time and energy into what I do.”

“I spent a long time in the library. I started to realise what was available and how I could use it for future projects. The more time I spent in there the more I realised how many aspects of the tradition I was interested in, particularly the correlation between dance and song. I started planning and researching ideas I’ve had, that until now I’d not been able to follow up due to lack of resources. These ideas I hope will form the inspiration behind future work and could develop into funding opportunities.”

““It was fantastic to properly get to know musicians I’d met in passing many times. Stopping for a quick chat backstage at a festival is very different from spending a couple of days talking, playing and song writing with someone, and I feel that I made some real friendships and important musical contacts over the residential.”

“Since the retreat last week, I have had many exchanges with some of the artists I met sharing music, triggering inspiring conversations regarding songwriting and feel more up to date with what is going on in the UK folk scene.”