By KLTV Newsdesk –
Marsden Jazz Festival (MJF) has announced that they are working with new organisation Black Lives in Music to empower and amplify Black musicians’ voices and promote their research.
Black Lives in Music (BLiM) was launched with the aim to tackle the racial inequalities in the UK music industry and to help create inclusive and diverse participation and representation within jazz and classical music.
MJF is now one of the first music festivals to sign up to this initiative and is working closely with the organisation to widen opportunities for black musicians at their festival, as well as to celebrate the history and achievements of black jazz musicians throughout the UK.
BLiM’s goals include widening opportunities at grassroots levels for emerging Black artists and advocating for equality in the music industry workforce.
They are asking Black musicians and music creators to share their stories and have their voices heard via a new survey which can be found on their website.
Using these stories they aim to address barriers that limit talent from thriving, including racial discrimination, mental health, well-being and economic disparity.
Marsden Jazz Festival is partnering with Black Lives in Music alongside other arts heavyweights including Help Musicians UK, Jazz North, PRS Foundation, Manchester Jazz Festival and Leeds Conservatoire.
Having already signed up to and achieving the Keychange pledge of a 50/50 gender balance in artistic programming, MJF says that joining BLiM is the next step in their work to creating a diverse, accessible and representative festival for all.
Speaking on the new initiative, Barney Stevenson, Artistic Director for Marsden Jazz Festival said: “I am very proud that Black Lives in Music invited Marsden Jazz Festival to become a founding partner of their crucial movement.
“Since 1992, Marsden Jazz Festival has brought a black art form to the heart of a predominantly white, rural community in Marsden in the South Pennines of West Yorkshire.
“But we know that Marsden Jazz Festival has further to go to ensure black representation amongst all of our stakeholders, be they board of trustees, staff, artists, volunteers and our audience.
“We recognise that we are at a particular moment in history when systematic black underrepresentation in the UK jazz sector can no longer be ignored, and we are proud to be part of the movement to counteract that.”
Currently, no data exists on black musicians and professionals in the UK.
Through BLiM’s research, systemic racism within the music industry will be brought to the fore of the conversation and huge, lasting changes can then be made to tackle it.
Now and in the future, BLiM says they will be supporting festivals, universities, orchestras and more to achieve inclusive and diverse senior management/board level, as well as mentoring to enable the progression of Black musicians.
Black musicians and music professionals are urged to fill out the Black Lives in Music survey by visiting: https://blim.org.uk/change