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UK Music Joins Political And Industry Leaders At New Conference To Boost Access To Music

UK Music Interim Chief Executive Tom Kiehl chaired a panel at the inaugural Access to Music conference as part of the Cheltenham Jazz Festival.

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10.05.2024: UK Music Interim Chief Executive Tom Kiehl chaired a panel at the inaugural Access to Music conference as part of the Cheltenham Jazz Festival.

Access to Music 2024 saw a number of industry figures from organisations including Musicians Union, Attitude is Everything, Music for Youth, Making Music and British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM) and gather in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire over the May bank holiday weekend. The event was designed to explore the challenges faced by disabled people participating in music and live events, whether they are musicians, music fans or industry workers.

A number of panels and presentations formed part of the conference, with a performance from artist Bellatrix showcasing the potential of the Beat Blocks haptic dancefloor to enhance deaf and disabled peoples experience of music. The interactive flooring system translates any sound into felt vibration.

(L-R Tom Kiehl (UK Music), Tim Wheeler (Arts Council England/All In), Carol Reid (Youth Music), Sarah Thirtle (Creative United), Thangam Debbonaire MP (Shadow DCMS Secretary))

The panel chaired by UK Music Interim Chief Executive Tom Kiehl focused on research and policy, with a particular look at political change, the upcoming UK General Election and what opportunities this presents to improve access to music and overcome disparities of provision.

Speakers on the panel included Shadow Culture Secretary Thangam Debbonaire MP, Carol Reid (Youth Music), Sarah Thirtle (Creative United) and Tim Wheeler (Arts Council England / All In). Topics considered on the panel included music education, industry action, government interventions and venue adaptations.

Other panels throughout the day included sessions on Audience and Artists and Education and Technologies. UK Music gives its thanks to Andrew Lansley from Cheltenham Festivals for initiating the event and asking us to be part of it.