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“Fast forward to 2020 where inclusion is the root from which everything else blooms.”

Written by Sound Connections Programme Coordinator, Zoë Carassik-Lord

“Let us begin this article with a provocation:

By 2020 we will no longer need to use the phrase ‘challenging circumstances’ in our work breaking down barriers to music opportunities for London’s children and young people, as the music education sector will have inclusion at its heart. 

Are you convinced? Does this sound like an achievable goal for the music education sector? At Sound Connections, we believe so – and here’s why.

In 2016, it’s still the case that there are children and young people who face barriers to music opportunities. In recent years a huge amount of work has been done to address this challenge through skilling-up practitioners, investigating meaningful progression routes for participants facing barriers to provision, provoking conversations around diversity and the future music education workforce, and advocating the importance of inclusive practices to funders, academics, and politicians. But we’re not there yet. As Matt Griffiths from the National Foundation for Youth Music says, inclusion ‘is not something we do on a Wednesday afternoon’ – it needs to be the lifeblood running through not just our projects, but our organisations, committees and boards.

On Tuesday 29 November 2016 at Amnesty International Human Rights Action Centre we will be proposing some solutions for music practitioners, cultural organisations, Music Education Hubs and music educators to face these challenges head on, and together as a collective. At this year’s Catalysing Change: Sound Connections Challenging Circumstances Music Network Conference, we will:

  • Dig deep into the needs of children and young people in regions across London,
  • Demonstrate the strength that evidencing impact adds to our work,
  • Show that by working collaboratively we can innovate,
  • Consider approaches to funding that could help us work towards a more secure future.

Through contributions from:

What we aim to prove is that while excellent and inspirational work is being done, we as a sector can do more to fill in the gaps, join up the dots and become better connected, better informed, and better prepared. In order to face the challenging times ahead, pooling our individual knowledge, skills, languages, and approaches is going to be vital. We cannot afford the luxury of competitiveness; openness and alliance will be our resilience.

By 2020 we will be cannier, and stronger. We will be better serving London’s children and young people, and obstacles that we had perceived to be standing in our way will have been overcome; a fresh approach will be the new norm. Inclusion will be the root from which everything else blooms. Who’s with us?


As a small charity we rely upon donations from generous individuals, trusts and companies to support our work with children and young people across London.

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