Make Music Gloucestershire, the county’s music education hub, ran its first musical inclusion conference on Tuesday 2 April 2019, drawing delegates from across the field of music education. The conference was curated by Gloucestershire charity The Music Works, in partnership with freelance practitioner Carrie Creamer.
The aim was to inspire, encourage and support ways of making music more inclusive for all children and young people. The event brought together people who could collectively make change happen, such as professionals working:
• in schools
• In hub partner organisations
• the peripatetic/freelance music teacher/leader workforce
• and others working with children and young people
The first speaker was Matt Griffiths, chief executive of national charity Youth Music, which invests in music-making projects that help young people to develop musically, personally and socially. It also runs the online network for inclusive practitioners, Youth Music Net. He talked about the need for music education to reflect the changing ways in which young people are engaging in music and to move away from ‘doing inclusion projects’ to making sure that all of our work is inclusive.
Following this there was a performance and Q&A with 5Mics, an beatboxing and rapping collective from Gloucestershire who work with The Music Works. They talked about how they all loved music but couldn’t make the music they were interested in through school, and there was little else for them outside of school.
Siggy Patchitt, head of the National Centre for Inclusive Excellence at Bristol Music Trust, then spoke about the differences between exclusion, segregation, integration and inclusion, and how equity is different to equality. He explained how the Trust, which run’s Bristol’s music education hub and Colston Hall, set up the NCIE and is running a series of activities to support disabled young people’s music making and for those who want to continue, routes into the music industry.
The Rising Arts Agency, a Bristol CIC, talked about how they set up and run their organisation and community that’s co-created with and for young creatives. They take a radical approach to sparking social change by young people. One in three of their directors and half of the advisory board are under 25, and all services are co-created by young people. They urged delegates who work for organisations to look at the way their organisation operates and its culture, and find ways to address barriers like fixed agendas and services, recruitment and culture, that prevent young people from having a say and taking leadership roles.
Composer and musician Hugh Nankivell then led delegates in a musical activity which demonstrated how we can exclude many young people with even the most common approaches. He spoke about leading music from the starting points of creativity and diversity.
Afternoon sessions were run by Lee Holder, music leader of The Music Works, and Siggy Patchitt with Alex Lupo, a community musician and music therapist from Wiltshire. Lee demonstrated how he uses music technology for inclusive workshops. Siggy and Alex led group discussions following on from the earlier presentations.
The conference ended with a panel discussion which concluded with facilitator Carrie Creamer encouraging delegates to alert for when there is a lack of inclusion, making people aware, and asking what can be done. Make Music Gloucestershire will be continuing to progress inclusion through all of their work and agreed to find a means to keep delegates and others informed.
Presentations from the day and other documents plus a collection of tweets from the day are available on the Breaking Down Barriers conference resources page.
Further resources and signposting are available on the Resources for inclusion in music page hosted by Make Music Gloucestershire.
Notes to editors:
About The Music Works
The Music Works is a Gloucestershire charity which works with young people to transform their lives through music. Its specialist music mentors use music as a tool to engage young people through creativity, build confidence and self-belief, and empower them to achieve their potential in music, learning and life. It leads on Make Music Gloucestershire’s inclusion strategy.
About Make Music Gloucestershire
Make Music Gloucestershire is the county’s music education hub, a network of music education partners working together to make sure music education reaches as many children and young people as possible, and makes a difference to their lives and futures.