Supporting emerging artists with Help Musicians UK

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Supporting emerging artists with Help Musicians UK

Earlier this year Brighter Sound was successful in a funding application to the newly launched Help Musicians UK National Grant Programme.

Help Musicians UK (previously the Musicians Benevolent Fund) is the leading UK charity for professional musicians. They offer an incredible range of advice and support to musicians from all genres – from those starting out through to retirement.

Our proposal to the fund was grown from our work with emerging artists over the last seven years. We carried out a survey consultation to ask past residency participants and applicants what would be a useful next step – we know that people often leave the residency programme feeling creatively challenged and newly invigorated but very often return home to a continued struggle with the blocks or barriers that remain constant in this industry.

Three strong themes of need emerged from the consultation:

  1. Access to 1:1 advice and guidance from industry professionals or established artists
  2. Future thinking and support around how artists’ contributions can help shape conversations about the future of the music industry
  3. Live / Performance – a UK-wide venue network to support access to live performance opportunities for emerging musicians

In response, over the next three years we are extending our programme, offering an additional level of bespoke support to emerging artists from around the country.

Yesterday, HMUK held the first gathering for this national portfolio of organisations and it was interesting to see some of the same themes emerging, and inspiring to hear about the innovative practice and groundbreaking opportunities that are being created for young and emerging artists around the UK.

As a collective we were able to share our experience, successes and the challenges that we’ve encountered, in particular focusing on the future of the music industry and the role that has been embraced – and to an extent, inherited – by the arts and subsidised sector – to nurture, support and develop young and emerging artists – something that was previously offered by commercial labels.

It was interesting to consider how fragmented the music landscape is, and how a more connected approach from education through to creative development and professional careers could make a marked difference to the breadth and diversity of artists who are able to build a sustainable career in this industry.

The creativity and future of the music industry remains in an enormous place of transition opening it up to be reshaped, transformed, and reinvented. The fluidity of this cultural time presents a range of challenges, but it also provokes exciting opportunities for new voices to be heard, for fresh thought about what the music landscape in the 21st century should look like and a time for artists to be at the front and centre of these conversations.

We are proud to be supported by HMUK and part of a national movement of organisations providing time, space and support to think about the fairness, equality, sustainability and future of a career in music.

Brighter Sound will be launching the Emerging Artists Strategies this August.