Music charity Attitude Is Everything has announced new three-year programme Beyond The Music to help boost employment opportunities for Deaf and disabled people in the commercial music sector.
It comes in response to findings from Arts Council England that show just 4% of staff at National Portfolio Organisations, and 1.8% of staff at music industry organisations, consider themselves to be disabled – a disparity from the UK’s general population, where 19% of working adults are considered disabled under the Equality Act.
Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, the initiative will explore the issues and employment gaps, supporting Deaf and disabled people to gain the necessary skills, experience, support and contacts they require to work or volunteer in the music industry, while providing training, resources and guidance to help music businesses build a "truly inclusive" work environment.
Beyond The Music will allow us to try and identify why Deaf and disabled workers are so underrepresented in the sector
Paul Hawkins, Attitude Is Everything
Head of volunteering and skills development for Attitude Is Everything, Paul Hawkins, said: “This is a challenging time for everyone in the music business, especially within live events. The industry’s #LetTheMusicPlay campaign has highlighted the gravity of the situation, but, as we plot a pathway back from coronavirus, Attitude is Everything believes it is crucial that Deaf and disabled people have full and equal access to any employment opportunities on offer.
“Beyond The Music will allow us to try and identify why Deaf and disabled workers are so underrepresented in the sector, and to take positive action to implement change. The first step towards that goal is the survey we are launching today. We are enormously grateful to the National Lottery for funding this project, and also for support we’ve received from venues and others in the business. More will be needed on the road ahead as we strive for equality and inclusivity.”
The project has launched with a new survey, open to any Deaf or disabled person aspiring to work in the industry, with their responses helping to shape the programme over the next three years.
A number of music industry organisations are backing the scheme, with the Barbican, Brighton Centre, Manchester Arena, and the Southbank Centre all offering expertise to a Venues Advisory Group that will help formulate a strategy around the survey findings. Further support has been confirmed from Youth Music.
Industry umbrella body UK Music has also invited Attitude is Everything to join its diversity taskforce.
Tom Kiehl, UK Music acting CEO said: “For a number of years UK Music has been a proud supporter of Attitude Is Everything’s great work to improve access to music and the music industry for Deaf and disabled people. Beyond The Music is an exciting new initiative that everyone must now get behind. We look forward to working with Attitude is Everything on this and welcoming them to the UK Music diversity taskforce.”
Ammo Talwar, chair, UK Music diversity taskforce, added: “The music industry has to move with pace around access, inclusive behaviour and equality. This new scheme led by Attitude Is Everything injects new energy into this field and will create positive resources and experience for all Involved."
For more information on how to support Beyond The Music, contact Paul Hawkins via firstname.lastname@example.org.