INCLUSIVE FUTURES by Adam Bushell
As Our Future Music approaches the end of this funding cycle, it’s an obvious time (and probably a necessary time) to take stock.
Overall, Pier One feels like a success. We’ve managed to set up a regular ensemble which is clearly loved by its members (young people. parents and tutors). It forms an important social point in the week, and friendships started in the group now clearly extend beyond the confines of the Eastbourne Music Centre. Members have shown, and described to us, how membership of Pier One has increased their confidence, their willingness to engage with strangers and their belief in themselves as creative people. On top of that we’ve created some fantastic music, and given performances that have been really well appreciated.
Beyond the ensemble, we’ve run workshops in a number of special schools around the county, have helped embed the idea of inclusivity within Create Music and have provided some really helpful online training for Create Music staff.
So I think Pier One can be proud of what we’ve achieved together. Looking into the future, though, there’s plenty of room for development (when is there not?). Although our focus is firmly and unashamedly on SEN/D, the word ‘inclusivity’ covers such a lot more than just that, and I hope we can start being more open around issues of race, immigration status, gender, sexuality, etc.
That doesn’t mean that we’re going to lose any of our focus on SEN/D - that would completely defeat the object of the ensemble. But I think there’s room to be more proactive around other issues, whilst keeping our central purpose firmly in mind. There may be organisations focussing on young LGBTQ+ people that are aware of a need for SEN/D provision within their communities: there may be refugee charities who know of musicians who could share some of their musical culture with us: or who knows what! But we’re unlikely to find those organisations or those people if we don’t try to find them.
So as our journey continues, we’ll continue to reflect on all the many things that ‘inclusive’ can mean, and we’ll try to ensure that our invitation to play music & share community is heard as widely as possible.