At Drake Music we stand against oppression and advocate and fight for the rights of Disabled people in music, and we do this in a lot of ways.
One has been to take a serious look at our organisation over recent years and to recognise where we hadn’t done enough.
Drake Music was disability-focussed, but not Disabled-led. We were not actively inclusive. We have worked hard to change that, connecting and recruiting more Disabled people into our delivery team, our offices and our board. All the changes to our practices, languages and approaches that the transformation needed resulted in a better, more empathetic and creative organisation.
Now is another watershed moment for us as, once again, we acknowledge that immediate action and fundamental change is needed and that again we need to actively make ourselves more inclusive.
Black, Asian and ethnic minority people are under-represented in our team, on our board and across our work. As an organisation we have made some changes and taken some action, but we want and need to do more. We heed the words of Angela Davis being shared around the world as part of the Black Lives Matter movement: “In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.”
We want to be clear here that we recognise that “Disabled people” is not a monolithic group, it contains a wide variety of people from different backgrounds and with different experiences. There are varying degrees and types of oppression and privilege across the larger group. Disabled people from Black, Asian and ethnic minority groups face intersecting discrimination and inequality, on both every-day and structural levels. We want to acknowledge and respond to people’s intersecting identities and their specific experiences and barriers.
We have been listening to the Black, Asian and ethnic minority people we work with and who have attended our events. We would like to say thank you for sharing the barriers you face and we commit to identifying and removing any barriers within Drake Music, embedding intersectionality at the heart of our work.
We commit to action to change, in both the short and long term. We will hold ourselves to account and ensure that we are an anti-racist organisation. We know that this will be a process and that we are likely to make mistakes along the way. We will use those to learn and continue to improve how we work in an intersectional, respectful, supportive and open way.
We are a team of Disabled and non-Disabled people working together to ensure that music, as a human right, is accessible to everyone. And that has to mean EVERYONE.
We commit to making changes both now, and in the longer-term. We will review and update these commitments and be transparent in our successes and failures, reporting on our progress at six-monthly intervals on our website.
Changes we will make now:
- Deep listening to artists, audiences and the DM team to learn how and what we can do better, including what we can do straight away and longer-term activities. We will agree measurable targets that we can collectively action and report on.
- We will address the under-representation of Disabled People of Colour by amplifying and highlighting the voices of BAME Disabled artists, in a way which is BAME-led. We will start doing this by handing our online space and platforms over to Disabled musicians, producers, thinkers, makers from Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority backgrounds. We are listening and open to learning how we can do this in the most beneficial ways. We invite Black, Asian and ethnic minority Disabled creatives to get in touch and we will also reach out to artists to connect and find ways to support them. If you would like to talk with us about this, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- We will start an anti-racist reading/learning/listening group within the DM community. Our first text will be the Disability and Race podcast from Disability Arts Online and Graeae.
Changes we will make within the next 6 months:
These changes aim to begin a deeper, structural change within the organisation, working across our creative, board, office and education teams.
- Review our recruiting & HR practices, appointing independent specialist support and prioritising intersectionality.
- Recruit new music leaders from Black, Asian and ethnic minority groups, with a strong commitment to taking an inclusive, intersectional approach. If you would like to know more about being part of our Learning, Participation & Training delivery team you can read more here, or email email@example.com
- Work with the Association of Chairs ‘Action for Trustee Racial Diversity’ to reach out and recruit Black, Asian and ethnic minority people onto the DM board, to ensure that it represents and reflects our communities better.
- Actively seek out and select artists from Black, Asian and ethnic minority groups to work with on our Artistic Development programme.
As an organisation we want to listen, reflect and learn. We say that inclusion is a journey, not a destination, or something to tick off a list. We will bring this same spirit and passion to our anti-racist work and it will grow, develop, deepen and change as we progress. This statement has been developed in consultation with our team and board. It will be a live document and in active use.
Thank you for reading this statement.
If you want to get in touch about this statement for any reason – to offer advice, make observations, share experiences, challenge or ask questions – we would welcome that.
We would like to offer the opportunity to contact our Board of Trustees directly:
Alternatively, you can contact our Chief Executive Carien Meijer on firstname.lastname@example.org.