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Taking Off: Challenging Circumstances Music Network conference highlights

Tuesday 17 November saw this year’s Sound Connections Challenging Circumstances Music Network (CCMN) conference, held in partnership with English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) at the beautiful Cecil Sharp House.

The day began with an inspirational keynote presentation and group activity from Stella Barnes, Director of Participation at Ovalhouse, where she leads on a Young Associates programme. Stella’s session was entitled “Ethics in participatory arts – why we need it more than ever”, and during the activity, delegates were asked to discuss what ethical values they consider to be important in their work with young people, and were encouraged to be honest about what more they could do. Click here to read our delegates’ ethical pledges.

Sound Connections Programme Manager, Jenn Raven, and Co-founder of Fairbeats!, Catherine Carter, led the next session on Taking Off – Sound Connections research project which aims to map musical activity and progression routes specifically for young Londoners facing challenging life circumstances. Key findings from the surveying, mapping and scoping were shared, along with some recommendations for the sector with regards to how we can better support young people who face barriers to accessing music activity, and work towards joining up the excellent work we’ve profiled over the course of our research. A detailed report on Taking Off – and the official launch of the microsite – is to be published soon. Watch this space!

The afternoon session kicked off with four workshops…

…and delegates were provoked by four provocateurs whose 5-minute presentations were designed to fuel our delegates into coming up with positive solutions to complicated issues around musical inclusion:

The day was beautifully wrapped up by folk musician and workshop leader Ruairi Glasheen, who led our delegates in an inclusive musical moment and left us all on a high!

The Sound Connections team are grateful to all of our fantastic contributors – with special thanks to Marion Friend and our own Nicky Dewar, who ran coaching sessions and Innovate funding surgeries throughout the afternoon – and to the amazing EFDSS team at Cecil Sharp House for looking after us all so brilliantly.

To view a summary of the day made up of Tweets and photos, click here to read our Storify.

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