The North Atlantic Fiddle Convention was established in 2001 to develop new audiences for traditional music and dance, and to act as a cultural/artistic exchange and meeting place for artists, academics, and enthusiasts.

The fiddle has been a hugely popular instrument across Europe and North America for over 300 years. However, studies of it and its associated dance forms tend to be scattered across specialist books, theses, and articles. By bringing together scholars and players/dancers the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention’s aim is to provide a unique forum where people can deepen their understanding and integrate conversations about fiddle playing and dance.

The value of seeing, hearing, and participating in such events offers an essential insight into these expressive traditions. The festival provides a forum for presenting existing research and also acts as a catalyst for conducting new and ongoing research whilst allowing performers to discover what research is being conducted in their traditions, and how it might inform their practice.

The North Atlantic Fiddle Convention is a formally constituted organisation with its home base being the Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen. The founder and current president of North Atlantic Fiddle Convention is Emeritus Professor Ian Russell of the Elphinstone Institute is the current President.

“How often at a scholarly gathering dedicated to folk, ethnic or traditional music, have the participants burst out of their academic straitjackets, deserted their ivory towers, and shared with others, late into the night, the music that has encouraged them to pursue a lifetime of study? And how often at a folk or world music festival have participants debated into the small hours the merits and demerits of a particularly innovative act in terms of authenticity and traditionality? This thinking helped forge the idea behind the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention, thereby bringing together two sides of the same coin, those who practice fiddle music and those who preach it.”
Ian Russell and Mary Anne Alburger, ‘Connecting Cultures’ in Driving the Bow

Download a PDF of our constitution here
23-26 June 2021