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How are we putting Talk into Action?

16th May 2022

Social justice and musicianship have long been intertwined as recent research from the University of Glasgow confirms. As a sector Equity, Diversity and Inclusion has been a perennial issue we’ve grappled with. How can we best engage with audiences and participants who’ve historically been excluded? Is equity the right word to use or should it be equality? Can we ensure that in including one specific group we don’t exclude another? How do we make sure that our work in EDI is authentic and sustainable – not a cynical response to funding obligations? These are important questions that require interrogation but as Sam Stimpson’s research into EDI in the Music Education sector highlighted, for too long conversation has superseded meaningful action.

When we’re all exhausted from talking so much, EDI can become an afterthought or a tick box exercise rather than being a key part of all the work that we do. Moreover, it can be appealing to rest on the laurels of a victory narrative. Like a grown adult who’s overly attached to winning an egg and spoon race in primary school, we cling to the one time we got it right and proved we were A Good Person™ rather than grapple with the deeply rooted wrongs we’re yet to correct. With hopes of making a sector that better serves the needs of all children and young people, delivered by a diverse and representative workforce, we’ve been focussing our efforts on putting Talk into Action and in the spirit of accountability this is what we’ve done so far:

  1. Created a pledge for the Talk into Action movement. 82 organisations have signed it so far and we’d love to encourage more to do so:
  2. Ran a questionnaire to encourage pledgees to assess where they are on their EDI journey and see what gaps Music Mark can fill in terms of resource and support. We’ll run the questionnaire three more times this year and use it to influence our EDI work for the sector.
  3. Made Talk into Action the theme of our next conference in November 2022
  4. Done an accessibility review of our website, learned about the areas we need to improve and have started work on improving it
  5. Created the role of Champions and appointed Dr Kanneh-Mason
  6. Started the I’M IN process. If you’re a Music Mark member Hub Lead/Music Service you can access an I’M IN discount:
  7. Conducted an ED&I Survey of staff, board, committee & consultants, and appointed Yogesh Dattani to our board as the EDI champion
  8. Signed the Brighter Sounds – Gender Equality manifesto
  9. Introduced live captions as standard on all online events
  10. Curated EDI focussed events, including CPD for teachers, with people and organisations like Nate Holder, Musicians Without Border and Sam Stimpson. You can view our upcoming events here:
  11. Maintained our partnership with Changing Tracks:
  12. Convened a Talk into Action Focus Group who are really helping to interrogate and improve the work we’re doing for the sector on EDI

We know that we want to do more on:

  1. Making our 2022 conferences the most accessible events they can possibly be
  2. Refining how we recruit in order to attract a more diverse pool of candidates
  3. Working with a diverse group of Champions who share Music Mark’s vision
  4. Improving our website to make it more accessible
  5. Creating an organisational tone of voice that’s inclusive

And that’s just for starters. We’ve only just started the I’M IN process and we can’t wait to share what we’re planning for the Talk into Action conferences this autumn, more announcements will follow this term. We’re always open to hearing more about EDI work you’ve done so do keep in touch and if your organisation’s yet to pledge you can do so here: