Since lockdown, the Covid-19 pandemic alongside global movements such as Black Lives Matter have brought systemic social and cultural inequalities to the forefront of public consciousness, making us more accountable to ourselves and each other.
The music sector isn’t exempt from this, and neither are we. Over the past few months we’ve been reflecting on how we can reaffirm and strengthen our commitment to equality and inclusion, and challenge discrimination of any kind across our work and beyond. We recognise the conversation is bigger than ourselves, and we need different perspectives to make meaningful change. Together with young people, artists and partners across the North we’re looking at action we can take to ensure we emerge from this crisis more accessible, equitable and diverse.
What we’ve been up to
While it continues to be a really challenging and uncertain time for the music sector – particularly for the artists, and freelancers that make what we do possible – we’ve been working behind the scenes to alleviate some of the challenges people within our communities have been facing.
Here are some highlights…
- As the sector lead for Manchester Music City, linked to the international Music Cities Network, we’ve been facilitating virtual meet-ups with music organisations across Manchester to support a post-COVID recovery process, sharing practice and learning from a global perspective
- We hosted a series of online advice sessions to support artists and music professionals in light of lockdown, curated by Remi Harris MBE
- Sing City trainee facilitator Franchesqua Evans produced some vocal warm ups for the GMCA Creative Care Kit which were delivered to 20,000 young people experiencing digital exclusion, and to help them stay connected to their creativity during lockdown
- We provided paid work for a selection of artists as part of a Both Sides Now takeover of United We Stream Greater Manchester which you can re-watch here
- We continued to support local music leaders in developing their skills as facilitators and educators. Find out more about each of them here
- Beth Bishop recorded some lovely Shake Rattle & Roll singalong videos from home for families to enjoy during lockdown. They’re available to watch on our YouTube
Back in May we ran a survey to find out how we can best support young people, artists and music professionals in the coming months. A huge thank you to everybody who contributed.
Following this feedback, over the next couple of months we’ll be launching some exciting new projects. Whether you’re a music creator, practitioner or somebody interested in a career behind the scenes, there’ll be something for you. Make sure you’re signed up to our mailing list to be the first to hear about these opportunities.
If you’re wondering what else is out there to support you at the moment, we recommend having a look at UK Music’s website. They’ve collated a really comprehensive list of resources that could help, as well as government guidance on health and safety given we’re not out of the woods just yet.
And finally, you may have spotted that Band on the Wall will be closing this month to begin building work. It’s been our home for over 10 years and we’ve enjoyed every project, event and working day we’ve spent within their walls. We’ll continue to work remotely for the time being, with activity popping up in venues across Manchester and the wider North as soon we’re able to safely do so.
That’s it from us. Remember to stay safe and we look forward to seeing you as soon as we can!