In March 2021 Lewisham Music was awarded funding from Youth Music to lead on a cross-borough Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) programme. Lewisham Music worked alongside Greenwich and Lambeth music education hubs and sector-leading equality charity ‘brap’.
Brap’s specialist team of facilitators have supported us on an 18-month journey to transform the way we think and do equality through the lens of race/racism. This step-change programme has supported up to…
The Amplifying Voices programme combined connected strands of research, workforce training, consultation, youth voice and co-produced music activity to address issues of underrepresentation within music education.
Overview of the programme
Phase 1 (March-April 2021) – Orientation and scene-setting – Where are we now?
Brap facilitators consulted with leaders in each music hub to understand our EDI foundations and starting points. They reviewed our workforce demographics and developed an independent workforce survey to better understand the experiences of the workforces across each music hub.
Phase 2 (May-June 2021) – Workforce development and consultation
The second phase of the programme was shaped by the findings from the workforce survey and consultations with each hub. We combined parallel strands of workforce training and deep-dive workforce consultation.
Music tutors and core staff from each hub were invited to series of UNCONSCIOUS BIAS training. The workshops were led by independent, expert facilitators and helped staff to:
have a better understanding of bias and how it can help to address issues of inclusion and inequality
understand how bias is reproduced and maintained
know how to apply strategies which can help them and others to de-bias
“The session made me think carefully about my own bias’ and how they inevitably manifest in my work. The facilitators helped me to think about how I can build a culture and environment of checking myself and holding others to account around me.”
Lewisham Music, Workforce
“I will feel more confident to raise issues within the organisation.”
Lewisham Music, Workforce
“Made me more aware of how I speak when dividing a class into groups. I.e. gender groups the instruments that are chosen to be played can often be along gender lines.”
Lewisham Music, Workforce
Music tutors and core staff from each hub were given opportunities to participate in a facilitated consultation with Brap’s expert equality practitioners. The sessions were created as safe, confidential spaces without the presence of management/ senior leadership. Each session explored how staff within music education have experienced and witnessed prejudice and racism within their education/ training and working practice.
This anonymised information, alongside the workforce surveys informed brap’s creation of a bespoke ‘Discovery Paper’ for each of the music education hubs. These papers helped us build a better picture of how we can respond to the lived experiences and working environments of our workforce.
Phase 3 (September 2021) – Organisational/partnership development
The leadership team within each hub came together to explore shared challenges identified through our individual ‘Discovery Papers’. Following this we worked with Brap to develop a bespoke training session which responded to the learning needs and outcomes from the wider workforce training and consultation.
Facilitated by Brap expert facilitators they delivered an ‘Anti Racism within Music Education’ training workshop for management teams, leaders, trustees and tutor diversity ambassadors.
Over the three sessions, we will support you to:
Understanding racism and anti-racism
Exploring the impact of racism on us / on others
Recognising my role in progressing anti-racism (anti-racist practice as a leader)
“At times the conversations were challenging and uncomfortable, the space and environment that was created meant that we were able to both feel discomfort and learn. For me personally this training made me realise that my work in this area will never be complete and that we are all on a lifelong learning journey.”
Lewisham Music, Manager
Phase 4 (Jan-Nov 2022) – Work with children and young people
Utilising our recent learning from ‘Music Lab’ – a youth voice partnership project with Sound Connections and Portsmouth University. We applied an adapted version of this model, adapting the methodology for Amplifying Voices.
Musical identity workshops
The youth voice strand of each hub project launched with a series of interactive ‘Musical Identity’ workshops facilitated by a professional youth worker and music facilitator. The workshops engaged young people that are, and are not currently engaged in music-making.
Young people took part in a range of interactive activities to explore their own musical identities and what experiences and social contexts shape their identity. Young people were then guided to discuss the existing music provision within their borough and explore to what extend their own musical identities and choices are provided for in their locality.
‘Music Lab’ projects
Following the ‘Musical Identity’ workshops, an experimental ‘Music Lab’ has been developed in each borough to both respond to young people’s musical identities and pilot new music activity.
In Lewisham we recruited four Young Producers who were given freedom to co-create activity within Lewisham Music. Our Young Producers identified a lack of spaces for young people to talk about mental health and the role that creativity can play in supporting young people take control of their own wellbeing. Led by young people, one of our band rooms was converted into a podcast suite and ‘Front Line Young Minds’ podcast was born. Young creatives control every aspect of the podcast from; 1. identifying topics/themes that are relevant to young people’s experiences, 2. Curating guests for each show, 3. Editing audio and releasing content.
Findings from each Music Lab is continuing to support the design and development of future programming across Lambeth, Greenwich and Lewisham.
Phase 5 (Nov-Dec 2022) – Evaluation, reflection and advocacy
Reflection has been built into every part of this 18-month project. Brap worked with hub leads to interrogate and understand the lived experiences of our workforces, young people’s musical identity and how this is reflected in each hub’s workforce.
Leading from these reflections, we have created a series of blogs and short videos to share our learning locally and nationally.