New research commissioned by Attitude is Everything has uncovered a number of “hidden” barriers facing Deaf and disabled artists and musicians.
Drawn from results of a nationwide online survey, launched as part of the charity’s Next Stage initiative, supported by Arts Council England, the research indicates that “individuals with access requirements or long-term health conditions are facing a number of career-damaging obstacles”.
Inspired by existing industry-wide initiatives such as ReBalance and Keychange which encourage gender inclusivity and diversity in music, Next Stage aims to “gain a greater understanding of the challenges facing disabled artists, and ensure they can be supported to reach their full creative potential”.
The snapshot of 96 musicians, songwriters, DJs, producers and performers from around the UK revealed that disabled artists are facing “significant barriers” to their career development, whether rehearsing, recording, performing live, seeking funding or attempting to engage with industry events.
The research also revealed that despite numerous music industry initiatives to tackle diversity and mental health, discussion around artists with access requirements has been limited. Most survey respondents have multiple impairments, including mental health conditions. The full survey results can be found here.
Suzanne Bull MBE, CEO of Attitude is Everything, said: “These findings provide a snapshot of the challenges faced by a great number of artists and music makers. They will make uncomfortable reading for many in the UK music industry, but our respondents clearly raise some fundamental issues with rehearsing, recording and performing that need to be addressed. Disability cannot be treated as a taboo.
“As part of our Next Stage initiative, I look forward to sharing this research with colleagues and partners such as Arts Council England, PRS Foundation, Help Musicians UK, Pirate Studios and Jerwood Arts and building towards our goal of a more diverse and inclusive business.”
Michael Dugher, CEO of UK Music, added: “UK Music is proud to support Attitude is Everything. The work that they do is vital in helping to break down barriers for musicians and artists with disabilities.
“The Next Stage survey powerfully reminds the industry of the real impact that living with a disability can have on performers. Not all disabilities are visible, which is why it is so important that we create inclusive environments within the music industry.”