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Traditional music and cultural sustainability in Scotland

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Simon McKerrell



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


This chapter examines how the recent shift towards professionalized and commodified traditional Scottish music has produced new economic exchange models and how these new contexts for performance are re-shaping musical traditions in Scotland. Since the 1980s there has been a fast growth in the marketization of traditional music as a commercial product serving both domestic and international markets. This has brought increased revenues and new models of financial exchange and support for artists making a living from Scottish traditional music as performers within various educational and heritage spaces including summer schools, festivals, cultural tourism, heritage trails, professionalized music sessions, online tuition and international summer schools. Examining a series of three short case studies, this paper interrogates how these operate in the Scottish context, the policy environment, compares both the financial and cultural sustainability of these practices, and how they might best be conceptualized in cultural policy for the traditional arts. In relating these developments to the wider, international ethnomusicology of the commercialization and heritagization of traditional music as Intangible Cultural Heritage, it also explores how arts and heritage policy might deal with traditional music and some possible directions in countries such as the UK that have not signed up to the 2003 UNESCO Convention on ICH and in the light of Brexit.

Publication metadata

Author(s): McKerrell S

Editor(s): McKerrell S; West G

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Understanding Scotland Musically: Folk, Tradition and Policy

Year: 2018

Pages: 17-29

Print publication date: 20/02/2018

Acceptance date: 02/04/2016

Edition: 1

Publisher: Ashgate

Place Published: Farnham, Surrey


Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781138205222


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