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Music Mark appoints Researcher and Advisor to explore racism and representation in Music Education

22nd October 2020

Following the Black Lives Matter movement and events this summer, Music Mark has appointed a consultant to help it and its membership implement change which addresses diversity, inclusion, and representation. This work will consider an organisation’s workforce, programming, governance, and engagement with young people.


Music Mark is delighted, following an tendering and interview process earlier this month, to have engaged Samantha Spence to work with its staff and board to provide advice and guidance on how the organisation can be more inclusive and representative of the membership it serves specifically relating to the under-representation of people who identify as Black, Asian or a person of colour. In addition, Samantha will carry out some research of the Membership – in particular music services – to provide guidance which will help everyone working in Music Education to consider their response to this important topic.

Following discussions by the London Region’s heads of music services/hub leaders, a small working group came together to consider how individually and collectively these music education organisations in the capital could ensure that diversity, inclusion and representation through the lens of racism was at the heart of their work moving forward.  Four key areas were identified as essential to achieving this:  the governance of each organisation, the workforce it employs or engages and the children and young people it serves should reflect the diversity of the UK, and the resources being used should also be representative of the rich and exciting array of music and musicians who can inspire all learners.

Music Mark offered to support their planned next step – to research what organisations were already doing and identify gaps or key development work needed around the four key areas – and to expand it to support the full membership across the UK, as well as to look at its own work and practices too.  Samantha will be working with Music Mark until the end of January on a freelance part-time basis.

On Samantha’s appointment, Music Mark’s CEO Bridget Whyte said:

“I am so delighted to be working with Samantha on this piece of vital work for Music Mark and its membership.  We have always recognised the importance of being an inclusive organisation, but are aware that we are perhaps not being proactive enough in this aspiration.  The Black Lives Matter movement has highlighted to everyone the significance of not just being inclusive, but also of considering unconscious bias.  We are looking forward to the challenge and inspiration that Samantha will provide through her work, and working with her to encourage our Membership to be challenged and inspired too.”

Samantha, who has been an advocate for diversity, inclusion and representation for many years, and featured in Music Mark’s CPD day for Music Tutors alongside Abi D’Amore from Sound Connections, added:

“I have always been an advocate for meaningful change. Especially when certain groups of people are marginalised or disadvantaged as a result of a system which is designed to benefit some and not all.
In the Music Education sector there is huge disparity and under-representation of groups such as Black, Asian and people of colour in our workforce, especially at the top. Why is this? What is the impact on children and young people? How can we achieve a more culturally diverse workforce at all levels and greater diversity within programmes and activities offered? 

I am looking forward to conducting this research and having meaningful conversations with Music Mark and their members, Music Education Hubs, Music leaders, teachers and children and young people, to begin find answers to these questions and more.”

Updates on Samantha’s work as it progresses over the next three months will be shared with the Membership.  If you would like to get involved in the research please do get in touch with Music Mark (Info@musicmark.org.uk).

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