The Royal Northern College of Music

The Radcliffe Trust has provided awards to the Royal Northern College of Music, for UK postgraduate composition students.

Celebrating its 50th birthday in 2023, the RNCM is recognised as one of the world’s most forward-thinking conservatoires. Home to over 900 students from more than 60 countries, it is dedicated to providing an outstanding education that propels students into careers as inspiring and versatile musicians, fully equipped for exciting futures both on and off stage.  Its alumni go on to shape influential careers in music performance, education and research, with RNCM graduates making up 47% of the North West’s orchestras and 18% of professional orchestra members in the UK and Ireland.

The Radcliffe Trust’s support for student scholarships and bursaries is particularly crucial in the context of the cost of living crisis, which is having a significant impact on students’ abilities to enable them to undertake and complete their studies, and to focus fully on their training at a crucial time in their musical development. They have seen their opportunities for performance and paid work drastically reduced by the pandemic over the last two years, and are now seeing their living costs rising rapidly. This particularly impacts composition students, who are often excluded from many external funding sources which prefer to fund more ‘visible’ musicians and singers.

 

 

 

 

 

RNCM Composition alumni whose studies were supported by The Radcliffe Trust include Tom Harrold (pictured here) winner of the BBC Proms / Guardian Young Composer Award and RNCM Honorary Associate Artist, and Michael Betteridge renowned for high quality and collaborative community music making working extensively as a composer across different communities in the UK and abroad, and musical and artistic director of Manchester’s male voice choir The Sunday Boys.

Sam Longbottom, a composition student supported by The Radcliffe Trust in 2021/22, said of the value of his training at the RNCM and the importance of the Trust’s support:

“I believe my work has developed significantly during my studies, into places I could not have foreseen, producing a number of pieces which I could not have imagined before arriving at the RNCM. I am extremely proud of this work I have produced and believe they will help enormously once I have completed my studies when attempting to acquire more professional work… My approach to writing and working with musicians has also developed greatly while being here, and I have made lasting relationships with performers who I will go on to work with far into the future. All of this would not be possible if it were not for the great generosity of The Radcliffe Trust, and so I am extremely grateful for your support across this academic year. It has given me the financial freedom to take part in every opportunity available to me, something which is critical for me at this stage in my development as a composer.”

In 2022/23 The Radcliffe Trust is supporting the tuition and living costs of emerging young composers Eve Vickers and Sophie Nolan.

The Heritage Crafts Association

Radcliffe Trust support for The Heritage Crafts Association

Heritage Crafts is the operating name of The Heritage Crafts Association, the national charity for traditional heritage crafts. Working in partnership with Government and key agencies, it provides a focus for craftspeople, groups, societies and guilds, as well as individuals who care about the loss of traditional crafts skills, and works towards a healthy and sustainable framework for the future.

Lorna Singleton, swill basket maker

 

In 2012 Heritage Crafts contributed to a major study on the economic importance of heritage crafts to the English economy, which showed that despite generating over £4.4 billion gross value added and employing around 210,000 workers in England alone, the sector was very vulnerable as the majority of craftspeople were working as sole traders or in microbusinesses, with many practitioners approaching (or past) retirement age having made no provision to pass their skills onto the next generation. Many were operating marginally profitable businesses and were therefore unable to step away from production in order to train someone without financial support, and the few government apprenticeships that existed only covered the salary of the apprentice.

As a result many crafts were dying out without the public having the opportunity to debate their value to society – economically, socially and culturally. In January 2015 Heritage Crafts was awarded a grant by the Radcliffe Trust to compile the Red List of Endangered Crafts, a strategic project to assess the vitality of traditional heritage crafts in the UK and identify those crafts which were most at risk of disappearing. Analysis of each craft – from those which were currently viable to those which were critically endangered – was made with the help of craftspeople, craft organisations, heritage professionals, funding bodies and members of the public who contributed to the research. Over 700 individuals and organisations from 169 crafts were contacted. Four crafts were identified as having become extinct in the last ten years, and seventeen crafts were identified as critically endangered. The research was completed in February 2017, with a full report detailing the methodology, crafts covered, findings and recommendations.

Heritage Crafts was awarded further funding from the Radcliffe Trust to hold a launch event for the Red List hosted by Heritage Crafts Patron the Lord Cormack at the House of Lords on 3 May 2017. Approximately 100 people attended the launch, including MPs and Lords, along with representatives from funding, craft and training organisations. Deborah Lamb, Deputy Chief Executive of Historic England, delivered the keynote speech, and Greta Bertram presented the findings and recommendations of the research. The illustrated publication was distributed at the launch. Following the launch, there was significant media interest in the Red List, with features in the national press (including The Times, The Guardian, The Daily Mail and The Telegraph), various magazines, and local and national radio (Woman’s Hour).

Heritage Crafts committed to renewing the Red List every two years and is currently working on the fourth edition funded by the Pilgrim Trust and due for publication on 11 May as part of London Craft Week. The 2021 edition of the Red List assessed 244 crafts to identify those which are at greatest risk of disappearing, 4 of which were classified as extinct, 56 as critically endangered, 74 as endangered and 110 as currently viable. It has continued to attract high levels of media coverage in the broadsheet press and with major broadcasters.

The success of the Red List allowed Heritage Crafts to attract further funding from the Dulverton Trust to employ Mary Lewis, Heritage Crafts’ Endangered Crafts Manager, to make interventions in struggling heritage crafts businesses to allow them to get over the immediate obstacles they are facing in order to achieve long-term sustainability. It also led to Heritage Crafts to create the Endangered Crafts Fund to provide small grants of up to £2,000 to aid in these interventions. The Radcliffe Trust contributed to this fund in 2019, and four grants were awarded with this money to alleviate crafts businesses at the onset of the COVID-19 crisis:

  • Eve Eunson, Fair Isle chair maker – to record the skills of Fair Isle straw back chair making in a film that can be used to train others (Shetland).
  • Horace Batten, boot makers – to train an apprentice boot tree maker who will go on to work in-house at the boot making firm (Northamptonshire).
  • Lorna Singleton, swill basket maker – to buy a boiler and swiller’s mares (a special type of shave horse) to enable her to teach oak swill basket making to small groups (Cumbria).
  • Tom Boulton, letterpress printer – to do a feasibility study into creating new wooden type for letterpress printing using CNC machining (West Sussex).

Eve Eunson, Fair Isle chair maker 

 

Horace Batten, boot makers

 

To date the Endangered Crafts Fund has awarded 47 grants from a variety of funding sources. The fund has always been oversubscribed with eligible and deserving applications, but the COVID and energy crises have only exacerbated this with the 2022 applications peaking at 20:1 applications to grants available.

The success of the Red List also allowed Heritage Crafts to launch the President’s Award for Endangered Crafts supported by Heritage Crafts President the Prince Charles, the former Prince of Wales, with the third such award due to be presented on 30 January 2023.

 

 Tom Boulton, letterpress printer

 

In November 2022 the Radcliffe Trust made another contribution to the Endangered Crafts Fund, focused specifically on the effect of rising energy costs of practitioners of some of the country’s most at-risk crafts skills. These grants, to be awarded in March 2023, will require successful recipients to plan and implement changes that will benefit both their environmental and financial sustainability, such as investing in more efficient machinery, developing reduced-carbon routes to market, or exploring the use of alternative materials while maintaining the heritage character of their practice.

Following the impact of COVID-19 on heritage craftspeople the energy crisis and ensuing cost-of-living crisis has had an unpresented effect of endangered crafts. In November 2022 Heritage Crafts surveyed its members on the situation. 88.9% predicted that the profitability of their heritage crafts businesses would worsen over the next six months. 11.1% said they thought that their profitability would stay the same and no-one said that they thought that their profitability would improve.

22.3% thought that the likelihood of their businesses surviving the next six months as a result of the crisis was less than 50:50. The reasons for this included:

  • Rising production costs, including materials and labour
  • Cost of electricity, heating and travel
  • Rising workshop rents
  • Drop in orders and sales, including because of the reduction in customers’ disposal income
  • Unwillingness of the market to bear necessary price increases
  • Impact of the media on people’s willingness to spend

61.1% of respondents were equally worried about rising costs and reduced income. 43.8% of respondents had changed their business model to help deal with the crisis, including becoming more reliant on online sales. 37.5% had been eating into cash reserves within the business in order to survive. 12.5% had already had to reduce their workforce. Heritage Crafts is seeking further funding to help alleviate the effects of the current situation.

Heritage Crafts is extremely grateful to the Radcliffe Trust for key contributions to its work since 2015 that have been instrumental in ensuring its continued success in supporting the heritage crafts sector, and the subsequent high profile of heritage crafts amongst the general public.

Drake Music Scotland

The grant from the Radcliffe Trust has enabled Drake Music Scotland to have both weekly in-person rehearsals and live performances for disabled musicians. With rehearsals and performances returning to live, in-person events, participants have been able to increase their socialisation again after the detrimental effects of staying isolated during lockdown. They were able to take part in sessions with their friends and tutors again, as well as showcase their work with live performances. This allowed them to engage with audiences, increase their communication skills, and feel like “proper” musicians again.

These funds allowed a thriving live concert schedule for participants to take part in and to create goals through rehearsals.

The responses to and effects of having more social interaction from rehearsals and the ability to improve not just musical skills but the confidence to be able to share them in a public space has also been beneficial.

Comments from an attendee and local music professor: “I had not been to a Drake Music Scotland event before, so I enjoyed the friendly presentation and useful context on the pieces, the players and the composers. As someone who works with music technologies, it was very exciting to see how the musicians and the team have developed such a wide variety of modes of engagement with sound and music for performance and composition. This is something that I plan to feed into my teaching at the University of Edinburgh, to engage students with, and to engage with in my own research.”

The British Museum – Beirut Glass Project

Thanks to support from the Radcliffe Trust, Aimée Bou Rizk, Museum Assistant at the Archaeological Museum at the American University of Beirut (AUB) was selected to undertake a training opportunity as part of this project. Aimée spent three months at the British Museum gaining experience in glass conservation, preventative conservation, object assessment and documentation alongside the Museum’s conservation team. She also received training and advice for setting up a conservation studio at AUB, making an important contribution to Lebanon’s heritage sector.  

 On 4 August 2020, a massive stockpile of ammonium nitrate exploded at the port of Beirut. The blast killed at least 218 people, injured 7,000 and displaced 300,000 as well as causing $15bn of damage and covered the city with shards of shattered glass. The immediate and lasting effects have been deeply traumatic, not just for Beirut’s citizens but for all Lebanese people. 

 Situated 3.2km from the port, the Archaeological Museum at the AUB was one of the many cultural institutions affected. A case displaying 74 Roman, Byzantine and Islamic period glass vessels was smashed against the floor, mixing thousands of shards of ancient glass with fragments from the glass case and surrounding windows.  

Aimée Bou Rizk, Museum Assistant, Archaeological Museum at the American University of Beirut, and project Conservator Claire Cuyaubere, work on the Roman bowl, AD 200–400.©The Trustees of the British Museum the American University of Beirut, Lebanon 

 Following the disaster, the British Museum offered assistance to AUB, who requested help to conserve eight vessels that had been identified as being able to be reconstructed and sturdy enough to be safely transported to London where work would be carried out. A collaborative project was initiated which aimed to conserve these eight vessels, carry out scientific analysis to provide information about their material composition to identify their place of manufacture and offer a training opportunity for a Lebanon-based museum professional. 

 Staff from AUB worked with British Museum conservators for three months to conserve the eight vessels during a process which saw the fragments carefully and laboriously sorted and the individual vessels sensitively and painstakingly reconstructed. The team purposefully made the joins between the shards visible and, though some of the missing areas were filled to support the surrounding fragments, others were left unfilled. These visible scars and missing fragments bear witness to the explosion and the determination of the people of Lebanon to recover.  

 The restored vessels were displayed in The Asahi Shimbun Displays Shattered glass of Beirut at the British Museum from 25 August to 23 October 2022. The British Museum and AUB are now preparing for the return of the vessels to their home in Beirut in early 2023. 

 Project Conservator Claire Cuyaubere and Dr Duygu Camurcuoglu The Arts Scholars Senior Objects Conservator, work on the Byzantine jug, AD 400–500.© The Trustees of the British Museum the American University of Beirut, Lebanon 

 

 Left to right: Roman bowl, AD 50–70, Roman beaker, 1st century AD, Byzantine cup, AD 500–700,Byzantine jug, AD 400–500, The Archaeological Museum at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon 

Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales

The Vulcan Hotel was built in Newtown, Cardiff during the 19th century and opened its doors in 1853.

At that time Cardiff was growing from being a small town to the most important coal port in the world.  Newtown, now gone, was known as Little Ireland because it was home to many Irish people who came across to Wales during the Irish famine to build Cardiff docks.  More recently it was a hub for the music scene.

The pub was built near the ironworks which provided the inspiration for its name: Vulcan was the Roman god of fire and metalworking, often depicted holding a hammer as used by a blacksmith.

The Vulcan finally closed its doors in 2012 and was taken to St Fagans National Museum of History after being dismantled in the same year.

The Radcliffe Trust awarded Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales a grant to help them tell the next chapter in the history of Wales and The Vulcan Hotel by re-erecting the Vulcan at St. Fagan’s National Museum of History, bringing it back to life for visitors to enjoy.

The Radcliffe Trust’s grant has benefited all who have been working on rebuilding The Vulcan Hotel at St Fagans National Museum of History, and especially the apprentices, including the Apprentice Traditional Carpenter, Tom who commented “It has been a huge learning curve for me to be part of a construction project from the start. I have really enjoyed seeing the progress on site as the construction has developed and knowing that I have been part of the process with the rest of the Historic Buildings Unit team.”

 

The link below taken from ITN news 2020

https://www.itv.com/news/wales/2020-01-22/cardiff-s-19th-century-vulcan-pub-being-rebuilt-brick-by-brick

 

The link below is taken from a BBC programme Inside Museum with Cerys Matthews in 2020

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08v7lsm

 

The Historic Buildings Unit (HBU) team from left to right:

Isaac Rees – HBU Apprentice Traditional Painter, Clive Litchfield – Senior Traditional Painter, Tony Lewis – HBU Site Manager, Michael Conway – HBU Stonemason, Andrew Price – HBU Stonemason, Ben Wilkins – HBU Senior Traditional Carpenter

This photo was taken by Jody Samuel – HBU Labourer, however, unlike the iconic New York photo of the construction of a sky scraper, the team have scaffolding below them