We paused, we must now act - Fair Access Principles, new partners and blog announced

Fair Access Principles logo
Fair Access Principles logo
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Sound and Music

Fair Access Principles 

Today we are delighted to announce the Royal Philharmonic Society: RPS have joined our launch partners and sign up to our Fair Access Principles. 

The RPS said, "The creative industries fundamentally thrive on a diverse and dynamic range of voices. At the Royal Philharmonic Society, we are continually striving to minimise barriers to participation for the widest possible range of people and are proud to adopt these Fair Access Principles. Building on our existing work through our Women Conductors programme, we look forward to working with Sound and Music and fellow launch partners on improving accessibility to our development programmes and opportunities sector-wide."

Download the Fair Access Principles here

Sound and Music’s Fair Access Principles are designed to act as a code of best practice for running successful, open and inclusive artist development programmes, competitions and awards for composers. (The definition of “composer” varies between organisations; at Sound and Music we mean “anyone creating their own music, in any style or genre”).

Sound and Music has developed the Fair Access Principles through consultation with a broad range of composers and organisations, as well as from our experience of running open call programmes.

Composer and founder of Manasamitra, Supriya Nagarajan explained, “The Fair Access Principles that Sound and Music have put forward are long due…I hope more and more organisations look at it and take it up, because that will boost the music sector like nothing else.” 

A new blog 

'We paused, we must now act - how fair access has to be at the heart of the new normal' 

Alongside this, our CEO Susanna Eastburn MBE has written a new blog reflecting on why we believe these principles are more important now then ever. 

She writes, 'On Tuesday 2 June, across the world the music industry stopped, following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.

#theshowmustbepaused, an initiative created by Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang, was a call to the music industry to acknowledge, observe and proactively address the long-standing racism and inequality that exists in our industry.

It was encouraging to see so many music organisations condemn racism so unambiguously. But it was also a reminder that we have so much further to go to address systemic issues and lack of understanding that cause us, still, to be an industry where BAME people are still so woefully under-represented.

Arts Council England have affirmed that their 10 year strategy, Let’s Create, will shape their decisions as we all move through the stages from response to stabilisation to reset, including their focus on ensuring that diversity remains at the heart of their funding and their advocacy. That is good.

But all too often the arts, including our corner of them in new music, can think of diversity as a series of problems to be solved. So there are excellent and influential programmes, projects and schemes for women, BAME and disabled musicians, artists and composers; but limited consideration of the many elements in their training and development that mean, quite simply, that some people find it much harder than others (or even impossible) to pursue a creative career.

And even more limited consideration is given to how these barriers (including lack of visibility, education, access needs and financial circumstances to name but a few) may be systematically addressed at every stage.

All of this brings home the fact that as we begin to think about the future and to take action, the systemic changes that Sound and Music’s Fair Access Principles are seeking are more urgently needed than ever before.

Those of us who work in music, and want to work with composers and artists who are more representative of our society (and there are dozens of reasons why this is a good idea, the future of music being just one of them) have an opportunity now to be part of renewing, not just rebuilding, our beloved and hard hit art form. To build something better. Will you join us in that work?'

You can read the full blog here 

You can find out more about the Fair Access Principles, and sign up to them, here

We would love to hear from you, so if you have any thoughts, something to share, or would like to find out more more about how to get involved please contact us by emailing Co-Head of Artist Development, Will Dutta at will.dutta@soundandmusic.org


Read the full Fair Access Principles here

Accessible Word doc. Version

Find out more about how to get involved by emailing Co-Head of Artist Development, Will Dutta at will.dutta@soundandmusic.org

Our Partners

Composer Advocates

 “The idea of treating [composers] fairly and listening makes us feel not small, not squashed…[but] feel invited in to the party.”

gobscure – Composer and Artist 

 “The Fair Access Principles provide a way to… reach as broad a pool of people as possible… if you’re looking to encounter new composers and new music then it’s really important to take away barriers to access and application that people may encounter.”

Dr Lauren Redhead - Composer, Performer and Lecturer

 "The UK has a rich variety of music creators and I think the Fair Access Principles might help to give more people a voice, make more people feel welcome and encourage them to apply for things.”

Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian - Composer and Performer

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