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Bridget’s Blog: Further reflections on the future of Talk into Action

30th January 2024

Earlier this month, I published a blog about embedding Equity Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) into our work as a next step in our vision for Talk into Action. It was intended to celebrate our on-going commitment to all aspects of  ED&I. Since publishing it, it’s clear that this message didn’t come through clearly enough, and several of you have taken the time to talk to me about your concern that it sounded like we were giving up on this very important area of focus. 

So, I must start with an apology. I am sorry that my words weren’t clear enough, and that this lack of clarity caused upset and hurt to our friends and wider community. Music Mark is committed to the ongoing work of equity, diversity, and inclusion, and what I intended to say in my last blog is that this is not just the work of one of our special campaigns, but a key part of all the work we will do going forwards. 

We do have campaigns as part of our organisation’s work. Music Mark’s Marketing and Comms team work tirelessly to raise awareness of both the value and the practice of music education across the UK through our social media posts, bulletins, newsletters, and website.  However, we also have specific topics which they highlight as short or longer marketing campaigns. Topics include things like our Annual Conference or new pages within A Common Approach. We have also, over the past 6 years, developed and run bigger more high-profile ones. Campaigns linked to 10 things, Get Playing, #CanDoMusic and most recently Talk into Action have all helped to focus the national conversation around the topic they highlighted, providing food for thought and linked the messaging to training and resources we, and others, have developed. 

When we started the Talk into Action campaign, it was clear that the lack of meaningful action around ED&I had allowed structural racism to prevent the full participation of hundreds of thousands of young musicians in the UK. We also wanted to challenge and raise awareness of the intersectional oppression and barriers, that were preventing the full participation of many other children and young people, sometimes in multiple ways at once, perhaps because of a young person’s additional needs and class identity for example. We worked on this subject as a marketing campaign to spark bigger conversations across the UK which we will continue to support by embedding equity, diversity and inclusion as a core value. 

Working towards equitable music education is the work we will do for the rest of our lifetimes and is at the heart of what Music Mark should be doing. One of our key values is to be bold and with the help of our wider community, our friends and critical voices who hold us to account when we get things wrong, we will continue working to these goals, and to live this value. The word ‘campaign’ is the wrong word to communicate what we need to do in this area, and this work can’t be finished until every young person has full access to the possibilities that music has to offer. Music Mark will keep doing the work to be better, to challenge and attend to exclusions wherever they are taking place, and to keep working towards a vision of music for all children and young people.