Attitude is Everything launch initiative to boost career opportunities for Deaf and disabled people

12/08/2020: Attitude is Everything, the UK’s leading authority on live music accessibility, is pleased to announce Beyond the Music, a new three-year programme that aims to boost employment opportunities for Deaf and disabled people in the commercial music sector.

Findings from Arts Council England show just 4% of staff at National Portfolio Organisations, and just 1.8% of staff at music industry organisations, consider themselves to be disabled. This is a significant disparity from the UK’s general population, where 19% of working adults are considered disabled under the Equality Act.*

Such a disconnect may be attributable to barriers and discrimination, but Attitude is Everything’s own research suggests many Deaf and disabled people may also lack confidence to make their impairment known. Last year we revealed that 70% of disabled musicians hid details of their impairment for fear of losing opportunities, and that two-thirds had compromised their health to perform in inaccessible conditions.**

Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, Beyond The Music will look to explore these issues and employment gaps, while taking a two-pronged approach to identify solutions: 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.

The project launches with a new survey, open to any Deaf or disabled person who works or aspires to work in the industry. Their responses will play a key part in shaping the programme over the next three years.

Over that period, Attitude is Everything aims to create:

A Beyond The Music Network – a place for Deaf and disabled people working or seeking to work in the industry to meet, network, share ideas and find support around navigating the industry.

Structured opportunities for Deaf and disabled people to develop their skills through training, mentoring, shadowing and skilled employment and volunteering opportunities.

Accessible Creative Environments training – a new training course tailored to support companies within the industry to create a truly inclusive workplace culture.

An Accessible Employment and Volunteering Toolkit

A Future Leaders programme – a year long skills development programme designed to help talented Deaf and disabled people develop the skills to lead the industry in the future.

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.”

A number of music industry organisations are already backing Beyond The Music, 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 have also invited Attitude is Everything to join their Diversity Taskforce to help ensure access for Deaf and disabled people is high on their agenda.

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 said:

“The music industry has to move with pace around access, inclusive behaviour & 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 about how you can support  Beyond the Music, please contact Paul Hawkins via paul@attitudeiseverything.org.uk.

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