As much folk activity in England involves some form of social group performance, participatory contexts such as dance displays, ceilis and the pub music session will form an important focus of the study. Recording in these contexts is carried out by various members of the folk community, for a number of possible purposes and in a number of ways. For instance, a folk event may be filmed or recorded on a smartphone for sharing with friends/family on one of the many social networking sites, either by participants or by a passer-by. Session recording may also take place for personal learning, whereby a participant records something to learn or study at home, or as an aide memoir. Technology is available to assist in this kind of recording, such as the TunePal app, which allows you to record a small sample of a live musical performance and will process it to identify the title of the melody and provide the notation.
Sessions and amateur performances are also increasingly recorded for academic research – much like this project. Recordings of such events may also be created for posterity; proof of activity for funders; to be used as a teaching resource; for broadcast on TV or radio; or for promotional purposes. This is a particularly complex context, as the recording of this type of amateur performance is rarely undertaken following any legal, contractual agreement, such as one might normally expect to find with other kinds of creative performance. Rather It is undertaken on a number of tacit understandings regarding who has ‘ownership’ or responsibility for the Intellectual Property, and who has the authority to disseminate it.