Leeds EDI

Leeds EDI

Next up in the continuing series of conferences took place at the Queens Hotel in Leeds this week, with the focus on equalities, diversity and inclusion. This was the first time that the Union had arranged such an event and I was proud to be responsible for the general logistics, including staging, lighting, printed materials (such as the full programme), audio/visual facilities and video recording.

We welcomed members of the Executive Committee, the EDI Committee, MU Officials, delegates, guest speakers and panellists from across the industry.

The agenda ran as follows:

Day One (Monday 17th October):

14.30 Welcome from Naomi Pohl MU General Secretary, and Alex Gascoine, Chair of the MU Executive Committee

Plus keynote introduction by Mayor Tracy Brabin

14.45 Panel discussion: ‘Mental Health and the Music industry’ How is the music industry supporting musicians to stay mentally healthy? Join the discussion and hear about the issues musicians face and the initiatives designed to tackle them. The panel will feature Eric Mtungwazi (Music Support); Elton Jackson (Sony Music UK); Joe Hastings (Help Musicians); Natasha Hendry (Music Psychologist); Sital Panesar (founder of MusicaTherapy) and led by MU member and EC Vice Chair Andi Hopgood.

15:30 Breakout sessions:

In John Charles 1

Tackling the parenting and caring issue. How do we address the lack of protection and provision for parents and carers in the music industry? Session featuring Cassie Raine (Parents & Carers in Performing Arts PiPA), Olga Fitzroy (Parental Pay Equality), led by MU member Cecilia De Maria.

In John Charles 2

Ageism and the music industry. What support do older musicians need from the industry to sustain their careers and health? Session featuring Virginia Tandy (Creative Ageing Development Agency), led by MU member Fiona Branson. 

In the Linton Room

Making UBI a reality. How can the MU’s young members support calls for a universal basic income? Session featuring Toby Lloyd from UBI Arts Lab led by MU member Sam Murray.

In John Charles 3

LGBT+ visibility and creating LGBT+ inclusive workplaces. Session featuring Jamie Ahye (Pride in Music), Antonia Lines (Come Play With Me) and led by MU member Lynn Henderson.

In Palm Court

Neuro-inclusive workplaces. How can the industry support neurodiverse musicians? Session featuring Tristan Hunt (Music Industry ADHD Coach) and Dr Tony Lloyd (ADHD Foundation) and led by MU Executive Committee member, Anna Neale.

Quiet room: Bramhope

Kit room: Airedale

16:30 Reconvene in Palm Court for feedback on breakout sessions

17.30 Vacate room for turnaround

18.30 Drinks in bar

19.15 Dinner

21.00 Live set by DJ Paulette 

Day Two (Tuesday 18th October):

10.30 Introduction by John Shortell, MU Head of EDI followed by a speech from the chair of the MU’s Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Committee, Linton Stephens.

10:50 Keynote speech: Kelli-Leigh, Grammy Nominated Artist and Songwriter.

11.00 Panel discussion: ‘Creating an Inclusive Music Industry’ Join the discussion on how the music industry is working together to ensure that all musicians have equal access to opportunities. The panel will feature Mica Sofia (Black Lives in Music), Yaw Owusu (Power Up), Ammo Talwar (UK Music), Nadia Khan (Women in CTRL), Suzanne Bull (Attitude is Everything) and led by MU member and Chair of the MU EDI Committee, Linton Stephens.

12.15 Lunch

13.30 Reconvene in Palm Court

13.40 Breakout sessions:

In John Charles 1 (with screen)

An anti-racist code of conduct. Creating an anti-racist code of conduct to guide the industry and prevent racism. Session featuring Roger Wilson & Charisse Beaumont (Black Lives in Music) and Yaw Owusu (Power Up) and led by Linton Stephens.

In Palm Court

Access for disabled musicians: How do we ensure access riders are industry standard and that musicians access needs are being met? Session featuring Suzanne Bull (Attitude is Everything) and Thursa Sanderson (Drake Music Scotland) and led by MU member Andrew Lansley.

In John Charles 2

Moving towards gender equality. How can the MU tackle the barriers that limit women in the music industry? Session featuring Nadia Khan (Women in CTRL), Christine Osazuwa (She Said So), Francine Gorman (Keychange) and led by MU EDI Committee member, Isobel Anderson.

In John Charles 3

Strengthening the talent pipeline. How do we ensure access to music education and a career in the music industry for working class musicians? Session featuring Kate Whitley co-founder of The Multi-Story Orchestra and led by MU EDI Committee member Jermain Jackman.

In the Linton Room

Menopause and the music industry. How can the music industry break the culture of silence on menopause? Session featuring Alison Foster (Trade Union Studies Coordinator) and led by MU member Millicent Stephenson (EC member).

15.00 Comfort break

15.10 Reconvene in Palm Court for feedback on breakout sessions

16.00 Closing statements

16.30 Conference closes.

My particular thanks go to my MU colleagues Jane Austin, John Shortell and Rose Delcour-Min, captions Natasha Charles and Luke Grant, Neil and Robin of Mobile Exhibitions Ltd, reception sponsors Morrish Solicitors and the team from Northern Cowboy Films Ltd, including photographer Miles Myerscough-Harris.

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MU PR & Marketing Official, editor of The Musician, songwriter.
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