EFEx Arts & Homelessness Partnership

Nov 15th, 2018

Homelessness is not just about housing, people who are homeless can suffer from a multitude of challenges from practical ‘house-lessness’ to low well-being, social isolation and stigma. The arts are being used effectively around the world to reduce social isolation by building social networks and increasing both physical and mental health, improve public attitudes/promote understanding towards homeless people and enable homeless people to express themselves so their voice can be heard.

There are a growing number of artists who have a background of homelessness, creating new music from their direct lived experiences. This programme aims to support these talented musicians in the development of their profession, equipping them with the skills, contacts and opportunities to grow their music businesses, supporting them into meaningful careers as professional musicians.

The Programme

Four selected artists will take part in the English Folk Expo showcase in October 2019. They will receive training about all aspects of income generation in the music industry, have bespoke and tailored conversations about their own career, network with a wide range of music industry delegates and present as part of the English Folk Expo showcasing programme.

Specifically, elements of the programme will include:

  • Two one-to-one conversations with a music industry specialist to look at their career, assess their next steps and work with them to develop a plan for the showcase opportunity, including how to follow up and maximise on the learning.
  • A full day training course as part of the Featured Artists Coalition Artist:Entrepreneur Day. This event is designed to give emerging artists a full overview of the different types of income generation whilst working in the music industry. It is an artist lead course, detailing how to build a career and include information about intellectual property, live touring, direct to fan and business partners within the music industry.
  • A Trade Stand at the EFEx Trade Fair, plus budget for promotional handouts and materials. This intense three hour trade fair on the Saturday morning of EFEx is one of the primary networking opportunities available to any artist. The participants will be able to network in a supported environment with industry delegates from the UK and beyond, ensuring they meet the decision makers, enabling face to face connections with festivals, venues, labels, agents, managers and other industry who could potentially support their career.
  • A dedicated, unique showcase for all four artists to present their music to EFEx delegates. The four artists will have a 20 minute showcase performance in the EFEx programme, with nothing else scheduled against it to provide maximum opportunity for delegates to see them play live. The showcase will be to a professional quality, taking place with full production, technical and logistical support.
  • The participants will receive full listings as artists in EFEx delegate materials, including contact details and web links to ensure that followup wth delegates is as easily facilitated as possible. They will also appear in the EFEx App, website and on the emerging EFEx Digital Delegates Platform.


In order to give the best opportunities for showcasing artists, it is important that the selected participants have a certain level of experience as a musician. To this end, we are seeking participants who have come through their direct experience of homelessness and now act as advocates for the sector.

Selected participants will meet the following criteria:

  • Have a reasonable history of performing spanning at least 18 months.
  • Have a live and active online presence including social media channels and online live performance videos
  • Have some form of recorded music which could be distributed via physical and electronic channels (album, EP etc)
  • Are committed to a career in the music industry
  • Have had experience of homelessness
  • Are resident in England or are English by birth.
  • Perform folk, roots or acoustic music (including singer songwriters).

All participants will be paid a fee for their showcase performance, be fully remunerated for their travel, will be provided hotel accommodation for their time in Manchester and be given a per diem. It is important that artists are properly and fairly paid for their participation in this project.

Selection Process

Artists should submit an application to be considered for this opportunity via email to tom@englishfolkexpo.com

Applications can be either written, recorded or in video format. Applications will open in December 2018 and will close at the end of February 2019.

Applications will be assessed by the partner organisations. Once the applications have been assessed, all participants will be contacted with feedback. For those participants who meet the above criteria, we will endeavour have an informal telephone conversation about their music. This will help in the final selection of the four artists.

Potential participants should explain in their applications how they meet the above criteria, and provide examples of their music. The application process is in two stages:

  • Does the applicant meet the criteria outlined above
  • Quality of music.

The artists who have the best opportunities from showcase events are those whose music is most appropriate for the delegates. This means that musical quality and relevance will be essential to the selection process.

For an informal conversation about the programme, please call Tom on 07929 577 894


English Folk Expo (EFEx) supports the English folk, roots and acoustic music sector through the provision of artist professional development and the presentation of an annual international music showcase each October. The showcase takes place in Manchester, running alongside the public Manchester Folk Festival. EFEx invites up to 190 music industry decision makers from the UK and internationally to see over 40 artists perform during the three day event. The event generates approximately £1.8million in artist bookings each time it is run, developing the reach of the sector and supporting emerging artists onto new stages and opportunities.

The One Festival of Homeless Arts brings together works of art in many forms, from theatre and film, to sculpture and photography, as well as traditional visual art, all of which have been created by artists who have experienced homelessness. We want to give people experiencing homelessness a safe space, an amazing venue that is easily accessible to the public and not shut off, so that as many people as possible can see this amazing work.

With One Voice is an international movement that aims to strengthen the arts and homelessness sector through exchanges in practice and policy. Our vision is of a world in which the arts is used to support and give a voice to homeless people everywhere in the world. We also host the International Arts & Homelessness Summit.

Leave a Reply

Join the EFEx mailing list

This Is The Kit

Melrose Quartet

Blair Dunlop