Terms of reference for Study Groups

Guidelines for RMA Study Groups

The RMA wishes to encourage the formation of Study Groups. A Study Group is a facilitated network clustered around particular research interests in the study of music. 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. Once established, Study Groups report to the Association’s Events Committee (see RMA Committees.


Members of Study Groups are not always members of the RMA, since Study Groups tend to be interdisciplinary in nature. 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.

Name and Brand

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 which should be approved by the Executive Officer of the RMA).
A Study Group may hold dual affiliation with another learned society provided there is no conflict in requirements.

Governance and Leadership

Models of governance vary according to the size and nature of the Group. There should be a governing body or leadership group which is accountable to, and representative of, the Group’s members. We suggest this should be comprise at least five members and should include at least one research student. Groups tend to have a chair or coordinator. Whatever the governance and leadership arrangements, they should be clearly articulated in writing and there must be a clear point of contact for the RMA among the governing body.


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.

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 are expected to report annually to the RMA Events Committee and this report should cover:

  • the names of those that have served on the governing body during the previous year;
  • any changes to the governance and leadership arrangements;
  • a full listing of events (including academic events and administrative meetings) held in the Association’s name, including dates and venues;
  • the number of members associated with the group, if possible, showing the number that are also RMA members;
  • a summary of all income and expenses claimed from the RMA during the year and for what purpose; and,
  • a summary of future plans.

In addition, Study Groups are invited to provide a written narrative report on each academic event for publication on the RMA Website (see guidelines for authors.


If a Study Group wishes to sponsor any publication, such as a periodical or the proceedings of any event, we suggest that the group consults the Publications Committee of the RMA about the best way to take this forward. If the name or logo of the RMA is to be used in a publication, this must have the formal approval of Publications Committee.

Establishing a Study Group

We encourage early discussion with the Chair of Proceedings Committee to shape a proposal for a study group. In order to affiliate with the RMA, a written proposal should be presented, which covers the following points:

  • The proposed name of the group
  • A brief summary of the research focus of the group
  • The name and contact details of the person who will act as contact for the RMA
  • The proposed governance and leadership arrangements
  • A note on ‘track record’, such as a brief summary of the conferences, study days or networks from which the group has emerged
  • A brief vision statement for the group, setting out how the group might develop over the next few years
  • An indication of the initial size of the membership and where the initial membership will be drawn from
  • Plans for the next 12 months (e.g. meetings and events).