25th Anniversary Campaign

great things are afoot for british violin making


If your already here, you probably have pangs of nostalgia for the vintage 1990’s-era website that we set up long before violin makers had websites of their own, and was quite an impressive thing in its day. A complete overhaul has been one of the things on our list of tasks to develop the association - the great challenge of simultaneously bring violin making in Britain into the 21st century whilst deepening its roots in the ancient past.

In 2016 we published one of our most successful books yet, The Hill Bow Makers 1880-1950. Our Maker’s Day event has peaked in success having found a really good venue and partner in 2017, and in the same year we relaunched our annual conference in Oxford and our newsletter went into full colour. Our Restoration and Bow courses at West Dean that have become the backbone for the BVMA’s reputation internationally are expanding in 2019 into a new range of additional professional development courses. Meanwhile, an enormous amount of restructuring has gone on beneath the surface to make the association easier to manage, so that it is logistically much easier than ever before to arrange events and bring the community of violin makers and their friends together in Britain.

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The survival of an association such as ours for twenty-five years is an enormous achievement, which touches on the vital need for it to exist to serve its members. It is also a testament to the good sense of its founding members, and the management team over the decades since. However, twenty-five years is a big point in the road and we have the opportunity to make the BVMA a really exciting part of the landscape; the opportunity to help promote the incredible art of violin making to a wider audience, and to create opportunities that enable the craft to reach ever greater standards, but we need your help. Our membership fees are some of the cheapest for an organisation of our kind, and we work hard to offer value for money to our members, even if they are unable to attend any of the events we run through the years. Most importantly, for a profession that is famously solitary, we offer the opportunities for fellowship and the exchange of ideas.

We want our 25th Anniversary to be more than symbolic. For the management committee of volunteers working behind the scenes on your behalf, the run up to this point has been the driving force in rethinking what we do, and moving forwards from our 25th anniversary we want to be a strong and healthy organisation. For that reason we are not planning a single sensational event, instead we are driving forward towards a sustaining legacy for the future of violin making, and that’s why slow changes have been taking place.

If you value the BVMA, you probably know other people who will benefit from it to. Our biggest asset is our membership which comes from all around the world, so if you have a colleague whose membership has lapsed, let them know that things are afoot and encourage them back. If you know someone who doesn’t think they belong, but they have a passion for the subject, they are probably very welcome here. Over the years violin making has benefitted from the enthusiasts with skills in other areas who have been included in the conversation, and the BVMA is for anyone with the remotest interest in the history and the craft of violin making. If there are ideas that you can contribute that could help to make the BVMA better, and respond to the needs of violin makers in Britain and worldwide, drop us a line and see what we can do together. Finally, we have always spent the money we have earned, which has made it harder to take financial risks to run events where there is a danger of making a loss. If you would like to offer financial support as a sponsor or advertiser, or discuss ways of raising funds for a permanent capital reserve fund, the world of violin making would be in your debt.

We have a long way to go, and a few surprises to announce along the way.