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Study Groups & Chapters


Terms of reference for RMA Study Groups

The RMA wishes to encourage the formation of Study Groups. Study Groups are independent and self-governing, but may be affiliated to the Association. Affiliation brings benefits, including financial support, and is granted by Council. These guidelines describe certain minimum expectations about how Affiliated Study Groups will be defined and governed.

Study Groups report to the Association’s Events Committee. If there is a question about the governance of a Study Group (or about these guidelines) which cannot be resolved informally, the matter should be raised with Events Committee.


An RMA Study Group is a facilitated network clustered around particular academic interests in the study of music. Members of Study Groups are not always members of the RMA, since Study Groups tend to be interdisciplinary in nature. A Study Group may be affiliated with the RMA at the decision of the RMA Council.

For as long as a Study Group is affiliated, it should call itself the
‘RMA . . . Study Group’, and it should use the RMA logo (or an adaptation of it).


Each Study Group must have a democratically elected governing body. This should comprise at least 5 members and decisions should be taken with at least 5 members present. A majority of the governing body must be RMA members in good standing. The governing body should meet at least annually. The governing body may establish subcommittees as it sees fit.

One of the principal audiences for Study Groups are research students. Therefore, the governing body should include at least one research student. If there is no research student on the governing body following elections, one should be co-opted.

Each Study Group should have a Chair, appointed either by the governing body or elected by Study Group members.


Membership of a Study Group may include both RMA members and non-members. RMA members should not be charged any additional membership fee to belong to a Study Group, but Study Groups may establish membership fees for non-RMA members.


The finances of Study Groups are independent of those of the Association. Normally, the RMA offers Study Groups a guarantee of up to £300 p.a. against expenses. This may include, for example, travel and subsistence expenses for visiting speakers, room hire, catering, and technical support for academic conferences/seminars bearing the Association’s name. Any other expenses must be agreed in advance with the Hon. Treasurer of the Association. Members of the governing body may claim reasonable travel expenses for attendance at governing body meetings, within the overall £300 p.a. limit. Claims must adhere to the Association’s usual rules on expenses. If these provisions should not be suitable, Study Groups may apply to Council, through the Events Committee, to consider alternative arrangements.


Council requires an annual report on each Study Group’s activities and finances. Therefore, there should be a minimum of one meeting annually of the full membership of the Study Group (an AGM). The AGM should have formal minutes which can serve as a foundation for the governing body’s report to Council. The report should be submitted by the governing body to Council at its next meeting after the Study Group’s AGM. The report should include as a minimum:


  • the names of the Chair and committee members serving during the previous year;
  • a full listing of events (including academic events and administrative meetings) held in the Association’s name, including dates and venues;
  • a summary of all income and all expenses claimed in the previous year and for what purpose; and,
  • future plans.

        If Council should have any concerns or queries about a Study Group’s report, the President of the RMA will liaise with the Chair of the Study Group.


RMA members should receive a registration discount for any RMA event, including Study Group events. The discount for RMA members may be the same as any discount for Study Group members, as long as there is a discount.

        Study Groups should provide a written narrative report on each academic event for the RMA Newsletter. Guidance on the length and format of narrative reports is on the RMA website.


If a Study Group wishes to sponsor the publication of a periodical or the proceedings of any event, it should consult the Publications Committee of the RMA about the best way to take this forward. If the name or logo of an RMA Study Group is to be used in a publication, this must have the formal approval of Publications Committee.


The RMA wishes to encourage the formation of Study Groups and will offer advice and support to those who are considering establishing one.

The Association facilitates all Study Groups by way of:

  • financial support;
  • promotion through the Association’s website and social media;
  • use of the Association’s name and logo on publicity materials.

If a Study Group would benefit from additional support and advice, Council may appoint a link person to provide a formal link between Council and the Study Group and to act as a conduit for information. Council may require a link person to be appointed at its discretion, for example if there are no established scholars in a Study Group.

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