Our second Regenerate Series event focused on Diversity in the talent pipeline with panellists Rob Adediran, Executive Director, London Music Masters, Oliver Vibrans, composer and musical director, and Kerry Watson, Head of Luton Music Service and Music Mark trustee.
This was another sell-out event, which was unsurprising given the timely and pertinent discussion topic. The panel discussion was extremely broad in scope and sparked a huge number of questions from the audience. Underlining all the discussion was a sense that the sector has in the main, failed to recognise the deep systemic biases that run through it, and that until these are addressed, initiatives to diversify the talent coming into the sector will have a limited impact.
It’s a fallacy that the classical music industry is a meritocracy.
~ Oliver Vibrans
Here are some of the key themes and takeaways from the discussion:
- The need for diversity at the top of organisations is imperative and only when we have a range of different experiences and perspectives in decision-making roles, will we be able to build a truly inclusive sector, which attracts diverse talent throughout the pipeline.
- Industry and organisational processes and structures need to be questioned; they are producing a homogenous workforce and keeping many different types of people out.
- Key barriers to children and young people progressing their musical learning include financial constraints, family misgivings about the value of music education and music as a career,and the transition between primary and secondary school. In addition, there is a lack of live music and orchestral experiences in schools, so aspirations are limited as to what careers are available.
- If the sector is to attract young musicians, orchestras must diversify the type of music they present. Orchestras should be playing film scores and arrangements of pop music as much as the music of dead white male composers.
- Lack of job security and poor salaries in comparison to other sectors (both arts and non-arts) are barriers to entry and really diversifying who works in our sector.
- Recruitment to both the musical workforce and management, is a key area where biases can flourish. We need to stop being afraid that we are labelling and victimising people from different backgrounds by targeting them in recruitment.
We haven't yet won the battle in getting primary schools to understand the value of music education.
~ Kerry Watson
Orchestras Live is committed to supporting and challenging the sector to make systemic change happen and we are will do this in the following ways:
- Reviewing and interrogating our own internal practices, processes and culture, and to work with our partners, to ensure we live our mission that orchestras are for everyone.
- Taking part in the first cohort of London Music Masters I’m In initiative to help us check and challenge our operations and culture.
- Following up with individuals and organisations who attended the Regenerate session who would like to be involved in collaborating on this topic.
- Facilitating further events that share ideas and best practice in the areas of diversity and inclusion with the sector, particularly looking at what works in other sectors.
Do we really want change or do we just want the music industry to look different?
~ Rob Adediran
Booking for the third event in the Regenerate series on 24 September opens at the beginning of September and you can be the first to receive details by signing up to our e-news list here.
If you were unable to attend the Diversity in the talent pipeline event and would like to view the recording, please email us and we will share this with you.