Having undertaken an Equity, Diversity & Inclusion review in 2020 and participating in I’m In! with Music Masters, and as stated in our Strategic Intent of 2021, Live Music Now is undertaking a journey towards better reflection of the communities we serve through a more representative workforce and more accessible hiring practices.
We are focusing on increasing diversity and inclusion within our three key stakeholder groups: communities, workforce and our musicians.
We know this drive will improve and develop all the work we do, make us more relevant and sustainable and result in an increased quality of experience, outcome and output across the organisation.
We know we cannot do this on our own, and as such, will continue to work with partner organisations who bring in expertise and lived experience.
Our work so far
The development of an Equity, Diversity & Inclusion working group comprising musicians, staff (across all levels of Live Music Now’s organisation) and Trustees has led to the development of a plan to increase the diversity of voices and lived experience across our whole organisation.
Together, we’ve compiled an EDI Action Plan, in which we identified our key priorities: targeting musicians’ recruitment and a staff review. We continue to use this action plan to explore our current situation and what we need to do to move forward. We are examining how we may be excluding groups or individuals, and what our barriers towards progress are. We are exploring what we have the power to change, and the actions needed to make these changes.
One example highlighted and revised through the Action Plan is the way in which we recruit our musicians. Our goal is that the new recruitment process will offer value to musicians who participate in it – regardless of whether or not they join our workforce – and that musicians who more closely reflect the people we serve will join our roster.
Diversifying our Board
In light of the Action Plan, we are also working on diversifying our organisation at Board level. We are recruiting new trustees who bring a range of lived and professional experience, including individuals from underrepresented groups and those who reflect the people we serve.
We’re identifying inherent barriers that might sit within our work and the recruitment of our staff team. We are making sure materials for potential candidates are available in easy-to-read formats and widening the process for applications to invite video submissions to reduce the barriers for those identifying as Disabled. We are also working partner organisations to widen our recruitment pool and ensure better representation on interview panels.
We’ve put in place support for line management and members of staff to underpin our company culture ensuring that ongoing access needs are met, there is representation within our HR processes, and Live Music Now is a place that all of our team feel they belong.
It’s important for us to know the make-up of our staff, musicians, board, volunteers and applicants for jobs (including: ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity, socio-economic background, religion and whether they identify as Disabled). Monitoring this enables us to determine our current situation, set goals and map the route to change.
Anti-Racism Code of Conduct
We are writing a proactive statement for staff and musicians to sign up to, seeking out the ways in which we can be proactively anti-racist.
An example of this is being mindful of the fact that racism is not limited to overt aggressions, but can expose itself in unconscious micro-aggressions and in the ways we use language.
We are working on systems for any concerns or issues to be raised and dealt with appropriately and sensitively.
Though racism is an area we are currently working on, we will expand this project to write codes of conduct for other areas as well, including homophobia, ableism and sexism.
Pilot Strategic Advisory Group in Medway
Part of our Embedded in Place drive in Medway is the founding of a Strategic Advisory Group who will help us plan, programme and develop our strategy by including the voice of lived experience of those we’ll be working alongside. For example, if working with older people living with dementia, the Strategic Advisory Group would include members of that demographic.
Adopting Social Model of Disability
The Social Model of Disability is an inclusive model which asserts that the barriers for a person with a disability lie not with the individual but with the wider environment, generally designed to meet the needs of non-disabled individuals. Disability, therefore, can be removed by removing the environmental and social barriers to an individual’s access.
This is a principle we are bringing into our own work with Disabled communities, impacting the language we use and our practice. We focus on what a person can do, rather than what they cannot.
Working with Fresh & Fearless, a consultancy helping organisations create more inclusive workplaces, we are running training for the entire staff team on unconscious bias, inclusive language, avoiding micro-aggressions, and allyship.