‘Diversity in the Talent Pipeline’

Exploring new ideas that challenge the sector's thinking

JAM (John Armitage Memorial Trust) joined Orchestra’s Live second #RegenerateSeries which presented focused online conversation exploring new ideas that challenge the sector’s thinking and helping to create positive change for our audiences and workforce. Sarah Armitage of JAM engaged in this stimulating ‘Diversity in talent pipeline’ session, provoking reassessment of diversity across the board including sex, age, ethnicity, disability and background. The focus on developing positive change for children and young people is critical to the future musicians and audiences.

The panel included Oliver Vibrans, composer and musical director, Kerry Watson, Luton Music Service Manager and Music Mark trustee, and Rob Adediran, Executive Director of London Music Masters.

Relevance of the classical genre to young people

In this session, discussions included the continuing issue of a chronic lack of diversity in the orchestral sector talent pipeline. Initiatives to broaden the appeal of orchestral instruments and the relevance of the classical genre to young people, and to encourage pathways into Higher Education and the music industry, have yet to result in professional orchestras being truly representative of society. Also considered was the lack of diverse role models at the top of the profession and in key decision-making roles within both orchestras and the sector, as well as the role of unconscious bias and how that prevents diversity from flourishing and real change from happening.

The arts must be supported from the grassroots

More must be done to give teachers training and confidence to introduce and excite children into classical music. JAM’s work with schools has seen children flourish, achieving experiences beyond their dreams which home life may prevent. This #RegenerateSeries session has renewed JAM’s ardour to promote and encourage greater diversity across all our activities of education, commissioning, performance and staff. Classical music, and the arts overall, must be supported from grassroots, barriers for inclusion broken down and role models promoted in effectively targeted media.

Well done Orchestra’s Live for this proactive debate.

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