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Advocacy & Campaigning Work

Since the creation of the Traditional Music Forum (TMF) – of which the TMSA was a founding member – we have generally directed our advocacy and campaigning work through this channel and Traditional Arts & Culture (TRACS) – the collective the TMF is then part of. More information on these organisations can be found at www.traditionalmusicforum.org and www.tracscotland.org respectively.

Folk for Folk Campaign

When traditional arts funding was greatly threatened back in 2009, the TMSA led a campaign around a declaration that the grassroots of Scottish musical tradition should attract investment and recognition on an equal footing with ‘headline’ acts and other genres. Below is the information about the campaign and declaration…..

We all enjoy going along to concerts and listening to some of the wonderfully talented musicians and singers who bring our many and varied traditions alive. However, the TMSA believes that traditional music and song is about more than that. It’s about a shared inheritance and an unspoken need for everyone and anyone to participate in and engage with our own diverse Scottish cultures.

The TMSA believes that grass-roots participation in traditional music and song is fundamental to the culture of Scotland. The few traditional music stars would not have arisen without the core foundation of the many taking part for the love of the genre.

The TMSA’s Folk for Folk campaign was born out of funding cuts to the sector in 2009 and a concern that the grass-roots musical traditions of Scotland were being ignored and under funded.


If you feel strongly that the grassroots of Scottish musical tradition should attract investment and recognition on an equal footing with ‘headline’ acts if the traditions as a whole are going to survive into future generations, please sign our declaration.

This is a long term and wide-ranging declaration about our belief in the value of Scotland’s traditional arts. In partnership with other traditional arts organisations we are campaigning to have the intrinsic value of Scottish traditional art forms recognised and to secure current and future funding for them.

Declaration Wording

We, the undersigned, maintain that:-

  • Scotland has one of the richest living traditions in Europe
  • The traditional arts of making music, singing, dancing, poetry and storytelling are an intrinsic and vital part of Scottish culture
  • All of Scotland’s indigenous languages and traditions are of equal importance and value
  • Scotland’s traditional arts and languages make an irreplaceable and distinctive contribution to world culture
  • The foundation of all traditional arts is the grass-roots inclusive participation of the people of Scotland
  • The traditional arts give a unique perspective on Scotland’s political and social history
  • The traditional arts bind together communities in Scotland and the Scots Diaspora
  • Scotland’s traditional culture can and should be reinterpreted by each generation but that this must not result in discarding the past.
  • Scotland’s cultural traditions can and should play a part in the economic and social regeneration of Scotland

We therefore call on the Scottish Government and Parliament and all bodies sponsored and/or funded by them to ensure that:-

  • All the indigenous languages and traditions of Scotland are treated equally
  • Funding for traditional arts is enshrined in all government arts policies
  • Traditional arts are embedded in Scottish education at all levels
  • Opportunities for taking part in traditional arts are actively encouraged
  • Provision of spaces for traditional arts is supported
  • Initiatives to make our traditional forms of expression accessible to all are supported
    in the drive to make commercial use of the traditional arts, the traditions themselves are not distorted or lost
  • All of the traditions – not only the more commercial aspects – are valued and maintained
  • Recognition is given to the irreplaceable contribution that volunteers supporting traditional arts in Scotland make to the economy.
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