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Royal Albert Hall appoints James Ainscough as CEO

London’s Royal Albert Hall has announced the appointment of James Ainscough as its new chief executive officer.

Ainscough is currently CEO of charity Help Musicians and will join the Hall in late spring.

Ainscough was formerly with the Royal Albert Hall from January 2008 to December 2017, initially as director of finance and administration and then as chief operating officer. He oversaw strategic and day-to-day artistic and commercial operations, customer services, marketing, fundraising, facilities and business services.

“The Royal Albert Hall has always been close to my heart,” he says. “It has been a privilege to lead Help Musicians for the past five years and the charity is in now in good spirit with a clear strategy, a strong sense of purpose, and a wonderful team of staff, trustees and partners. Only a really special opportunity, like ‘coming home’ to the Royal Albert Hall, could have tempted me to leave.

“We will do all we can to support and nurture the wider music ecosystem of which we are an integral part”

“There are multiple challenges ahead but those are what most energise me. I could not be more excited to return to work with the Hall’s dedicated team. Together we will ensure the Hall offers the most amazing events and experiences to the most diverse audiences. And recognising its privilege as a prominent and much-loved venue, we will do all we can to support and nurture the wider music ecosystem of which we are an integral part.”

Ainscough succeeds Craig Hassall, who stepped down as CEO last month to become president and chief executive of Playhouse Square in Cleveland, Ohio. Dan Freeman, the Hall’s COO, will continue to act as Interim CEO until Ainscough starts his new role.

“James combines a passion for the promotion of music and cultural enlightenment with the vision and business skills required to lead the Hall through its next phase, applying financial prudence to extending our reach and our artistic ambitions,” says Royal Albert Hall president Ian McCulloch. “The Royal Albert Hall will benefit greatly from James’ experience, talent, enthusiasm and determination. We are delighted that he will soon be re-joining the team.”

 


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Industry bullying and harassment helpline launched

A new helpline that supports those suffering bullying and harassment within the UK music industry has been launched by charity Help Musicians.

The move, which is backed by organisations including UK Music, The Musicians’ Union (MU), the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), and the BPI, follows a number of high-profile musicians speaking out on the need for more to be done to support those experiencing difficulties.

The service will be offered to everyone working within the music industry, with callers able to immediately speak with a specialist bullying and harassment counsellor. The new helpline aims to fill a gap in support provision, ensuring that those working in the music industry, including freelancers, have a place to turn for advice and practical help.

“Bullying and harassment requires a collaborative response across the music industry,” says James Ainscough, CEO of Help Musicians. “The creation of the helpline is a vital next step and Help Musicians is well placed to provide this service, as an independent charity.

“We hope in time that musicians and all those who work in music will feel better emotionally supported”

“Anyone who is concerned about a bullying and harassment situation can call the helpline, share their concerns confidentially and receive advice on how to navigate the issue they are facing. We hope in time that musicians and all those who work in music will feel better emotionally supported as well as gaining practical advice on how to resolve any problems.

“The anonymous insight we will gather through this service will shed more light on the issues being experienced and help to target the collaborative efforts for positive and permanent change across the music industry. This is a vital service, and we ask for everybody’s help in promoting awareness of it, to ensure that individuals who need it will know that they can call for support at any time.”

As well as helping those impacted by bullying and harassment, the new helpline aims to shed more light on the extent of the issue across the industry and inform collaborative, industry-wide efforts for a positive and permanent change to help stamp out bullying and harassment.

Help Musicians will ensure full anonymity for all callers and the service will work alongside The MU’s SafeSpace service and the ISM-MU Code of Conduct. Anyone within the UK music industry experiencing bullying and harassment can call the helpline on 0800 088 2045.

 


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