New programme launched to help deaf and disabled people enter live music industry

Beyond The Music has been set up by the Attitude Is Everything charity

A new three-year programme aiming to increase employment opportunities for deaf and disabled people in the commercial music sector has been launched.

The disability-led charity Attitude Is Everything, which has been working towards accessibility throughout the live industry for 20 years, has set up the Beyond The Music initiative with the help of the National Lottery Community Fund.

BTM will provide the necessary skills, experience, resources and guidance for deaf and disabled people as well as for music businesses in order to create inclusive work environments and close the employment gap.

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“Attitude is Everything believes it is crucial that deaf and disabled people have full and equal access to any employment opportunities on offer,” said Paul Hawkins, Head of Volunteering and Skills Development at Attitude Is Everything.

“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.”

Hawkins added: “More will be needed on the road ahead as we strive for equality and inclusivity.”

Attitude Is Everything, who’ve previously worked with the likes of Festival Republic, Glastonbury and AMG, has set up a survey as a means to gather responses from deaf or disabled people, who are looking to enter – or already work in – the live music industry.

“The survey is really important to shaping the work we do over the next three years,” AIE said. “We estimate it will take most people around ten minutes to fill in but it may take longer depending on your access requirements and the level of detail you want to provide.”

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You can find the survey here.

This comes after Arts Council England found that just 1.8% of staff in the music industry consider themselves to be disabled, despite 19% of working adults in the UK being considered disabled under the Equality Act.

Paul Hawkins, Attitude is Everything

Speaking to NME on why gig-going needs to change after lockdown, Jacob Adams, Head of Research and Campaigns at Attitude Is Everything, expressed his concerns that the coronavirus crisis “has blown everything out of the water” in terms of inclusivity.

“One risk is that accessibility will fall off the radar and become less of a priority in some quarters,” he said, adding that it is “really important to nurture the visibility of disabled people during this time.”

“It’s important that recovery is done in a way that welcomes everyone back. There’s a lot of talk about this idea of the ‘new normal’ versus going back to the normal we had before – and we’re very interested in the idea of the new normal. Normal wasn’t good enough in the industry.”

Last year, a survey conducted by Attitude Is Everything found that 70 per cent of disabled musicians had hidden their disability over worries it could impact their relationships with promoters, venues and festivals.

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