Music charity Attitude Is Everything has unveiled details of Next Stage, a groundbreaking initiative aimed at boosting the careers of UK artists with impairments or long-term health conditions.
Supported by Arts Council England, the scheme takes direct inspiration from existing industry-wide initiatives such as ReBalance and Keychange to encourage greater inclusivity and diversity in music.
It is being led by AIE's new artist development manager Rich Legate, who plays with the band Childcare, and is bidding to overcome the “knowledge gap” surrounding disabled musicians, boost talent development and build a more accessible music industry.
Suzanne Bull MBE (pictured), CEO of Attitude Is Everything, said: “Next Stage is an ambitious departure for Attitude Is Everything. We have spent almost 20 years working for disabled audiences and now, with support from Arts Council England, we want to improve accessibility for disabled artists.
“This process will not be easy. The challenges facing Deaf and disabled people are often hidden, and rarely discussed publicly. There are a range of stigmas and sensibilities. So our first goal is to collect information through a comprehensive and wide-reaching survey.
“By paying attention to artists’ voices, I believe we can build a thriving network of talent that will enhance British music and benefit all in the wider music community.”
The survey is seeking views on issues ranging from access requirements at live shows, to studio recording, to arts funding applications. Submissions are encouraged from artists, musicians, songwriters, DJs and music creators of all backgrounds and across all genres.
The Next Stage initiative has already secured significant support across the music industry, with UK Music, Featured Artists Coalition, Help Musicians UK, the Musicians’ Union and PRS Foundation all helping to promote the survey.
UK Music CEO Michael Dugher said: “Attitude Is Everything is already a powerful advocate for Deaf and disabled artists and music fans. This brilliant new initiative will play a key role in identifying where we need to do more as an industry to empower artists with impairments or long term conditions.
“It will help tackle the knowledge gap around the challenges that disabled musicians face. It will also help boost creativity and nurture the talent pipeline on which our industry relies.”
Next Stage’s secondary phase will be to develop a comprehensive artist network, drawn from the survey findings.