UK Academics Awarded £1.5 Million to Study ‘Decolonization’ of English Folk Music


Academics in the UK have been awarded nearly £1.5 million in taxpayer funds to study the “white-centricity” of English folk music and how to “decolonize” the art form. The project aims to increase accessibility to the folk club scene and initiate a process of decolonization within the folk music canon.

The funding comes from the UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) “Future Leaders fellowship”, which is funded by British taxpayers. Critics argue that the project is a waste of taxpayer money and that academics are using their research to rewrite history and achieve minute goals.

The obsession with attacking “whiteness” in academia has been criticized by Professor Dennis Hayes, director of Academics for Academic Freedom. He claims that there is an “endless supply of stories about disciplines being told to ‘decolonize’ and of money being spent on studies of ‘whiteness’ in any and every conceivable subject”.

Professor Hayes believes that institutional groupthink in universities is a threat to academic freedom, as academics fear being charged with racism if they speak up against being told what to think. He urges academics to speak up and challenge institutional groupthink.

In defense of the project, Professor Fay Heild, a music professor at Sheffield University, claims that the term “decolonization” is often misinterpreted. She states that the research highlights the different under-recognized communities who have helped establish cultural life in England, and that folk music is a constantly evolving genre that has taken influences from a diverse range of people over centuries.

A UKRI spokesman claims that the publicly-funded research is invested in a diverse research and innovation portfolio, and that decisions to fund projects are made via a rigorous peer review process by independent experts from academia and business.

Kurt Zindulka
Kurt Zindulka
Deputy Editor.

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