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AiE to boost disabled artists’ careers with Next Stage

In a departure from its usual work improving accessibility for disabled concert- and festivalgoers, UK music charity Attitude is Everything has launched Next Stage, an initiative aimed at boosting the careers of British artists with impairments or long-term health conditions.

Supported by Arts Council England, Next Stage is inspired by existing industry initiatives, such as ReBalance and Keychange, that encourage greater inclusivity and diversity in live music.

Its goal is twofold:

1) To overcome the “knowledge gap” surrounding disabled musicians
“Deaf and disabled artists have made and continue to make a significant contribution to British music,” explains the charity. “But there is an overall lack of information about their work and livelihoods. For instance, what challenges do individuals with impairments face in studios and at venues? How comfortable are artists with sharing their experiences and needs? What development opportunities need to be more inclusive?”

To tackle this “knowledge gap”, as part of Next Stage Attitude is Everything has created a survey seeking views on issues ranging from access requirements at live shows to studio recording and arts funding applications. Submissions are encouraged from artists, musicians, songwriters, DJs and music creators of all backgrounds and across all genres.

The survey findings will be presented and discussed at the Great Escape in May 2019.

“Next Stage is an ambitious departure for Attitude is Everything”

2) To boost talent development and create more accessible music industry
“UK Music, the industry’s umbrella organisation, has identified a number of challenges that might thwart the future success of UK artists and imperil the UK’s ‘talent pipeline’,” says Attitude is Everything. “It is imperative that disabled musicians are involved in this conversation.

“Talented individuals cannot be allowed to fall through the cracks, and it is vital those with physical or mental impairments receive sufficient support to help develop their art and creativity.”

Drawn from the survey findings, Next Stage’s secondary phase will be to develop a comprehensive artist network, connecting the aforementioned individuals with access requirements to showcase, as well as funding opportunities, breaking down barriers to live performance.

The campaign is also being supported by a number deaf and disabled musicians, including Blaine Harrison of the Mystery Jets, rapper Signkid, Rob Maddison of Revenge of Calculon and Kris ‘Winter of ’82’ Halpin.

“I believe we can build a thriving network of talent”

Suzanne Bull MBE, CEO of Attitude is Everything, comments: “Next Stage is an ambitious departure for Attitude is Everything. We have spent almost 20 years working for disabled audiences and now, with support from Arts Council England, we want to improve accessibility for disabled artists.

“This process will not be easy. The challenges facing deaf and disabled people are often hidden, and rarely discussed publicly. There are a range of stigmas and sensibilities. So our first goal is to collect information through a comprehensive and wide-reaching survey.

“By paying attention to artists’ voices, I believe we can build a thriving network of talent that will enhance British music and benefit all in the wider music community.”

“This project brought music to life – in my language,” adds Signkid.

To take the Next Stage survey, click here.


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