Samara Jancovich, Creative Project Lead (Audiences) at the Sound and Music organisation, shares her thoughts on setting her priorities as she uses data to form experiments for diversifying her audiences.
“Diversity: the art of thinking independently together.”
— Malcolm Forbes
In applying for the AMA Audience Diversity Academy (ADA 2.0), I set myself a series of professional and personal goals, namely to analyse and test ways in which I can contribute to Sound and Music’s ongoing aim to address the issue and continued lack of diversification in the new music sector. A key concern is ensuring that new music, no matter what form, genre, context, is accessible and open to ALL. How, you might ask, does one go about this? This is the very question led me to the AD Academy. My aim for participating in the programme is to begin the first stage of this process, to beginning to understand the audiences who engage with new music and my organisation in particular and what the current challenges may be.
New Music as a term can be difficult to define. At Sound and Music we define new music as music which reflects society today, often boundary pushing, sometimes challenging, always eclectic, inherently innovative and at its heart experimental. New music is diverse, it is as diverse as the composers, artists and audiences experiencing and creating across the UK today.
As the Creative Project Leader for audiences in our organisation , I face a particularly unique challenge is addressing the diversification of 2 sets of audiences, the composers and artists in which we work with and support, and in turn the audiences who engage with their music.
My commitment for diversification and accessibility to new music was born out of a personal endeavour. Studying and working as an opera singer in my early career, I have first-hand experience in the exclusive and often icy world of contemporary classical music. I have personally felt the barriers and obstacles as a musician, and equally for audience attempting to enter into and find and feel belonging in this world. In order to keep this art form alive, rich, and relevant and full of new ideas and artists, I believe we need to change the way in which we think, present, talk about and work in this sector. I believe that this is essential to allow audiences to feel comfortable to openly and freely explore and experiment with new music, to discover, to listen and to challenge and to not be deterred by the barriers of class, genre, economics or location.
Driven by our data Sound and Music have already taken brave and momentous steps to address these issues, both individually and collectively, within the new music sector. We are diversifying the artists and composers we work with, moving away from the London centric, intellectual elite and broadening our scope, and offer to give the right support to artists and in turn a more relevant offer to their audiences; developing an equal and authentic opportunity to create and experience diverse and innovative new music.
My hopes are that by taking part in ADA 2.0 that I and Sound and Music may continue to grow, share and experiment with new ideas, which will further enhance our commitment and practice of diversifying our audiences for now and for the future.