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Katy Wright

Deputy Editor, Classical Music

ISM releases interim report on discrimination in music sector

11:45, 7th December 2017

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) has released an interim report setting out its findings regarding discrimination and inappropriate behaviour in the music sector.

Dignity at work: a survey of discrimination in the music sector is based on data received through an anonymous survey launched on 2 November 2017, which invited musicians to offer their suggestions as how to improve the working environment in the sector and to share their personal experiences.

The report sets out a series of recommendations and calls on the music sector to work together to tackle the issues highlighted in the responses to the survey.

Just under 60% of respondents reported that they had experienced discrimination, with 72% of these identifying as female. 72% of the respondents who experienced discrimination were self-employed, and almost 65% of those who had experienced discrimination reported that they had been subject to sexual harassment.

77% of respondents did not report their experiences, with the fear of losing work the most common reason. Considering this behaviour part of the culture and fear of not being believed were other frequently cited reasons.

Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the ISM, said: ‘The ISM is calling for a change in the culture across the whole of the music sector, starting in educational settings, from schools up to and including music colleges. There needs to be absolute clarity as to what is acceptable behaviour as well as the structures to support musicians in their work so that they can report their concerns without fear of retribution or judgement.

‘To ensure that all musicians understand what their rights and duties are there needs to be comprehensive training and education. And we believe that all the above needs to be underpinned by a sector wide code which is recognised by all who work in the music sector.

‘We do not underestimate the gravity of the problem which the ISM survey has uncovered and the extent of the work which needs to be done. We do however believe that by working together, the music sector can tackle these grave issues and make the workplace a place where musicians can work without experiencing discrimination of any kind.’

The survey remains open for further responses.


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