Black History Month 2020: Our data

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“Black History Month is essential in promoting learning, providing information and contributing to community cohesion. For the past 30 years it has shone, and continues to shine, a beacon of light on the facts about Black history, heritage, legacy and the ongoing struggles for equality and justice. More than that, it educates, informs and inspires us each day of the year to be proud of who we are and to understand our history, our origins, why we are here and our right to stay and exist as equals.” – Lord Ouseley

Two years since Sound and Music first published data around the ethnicity of those applying to our programmes, signs of progress are beginning to emerge.

In 2019 we reported that Black applicants to our artist development programmes, and in particular New Voices, had previously been underrepresented and that we needed to think, and act, far more radically if we were to make our opportunities more accessible and inclusive.

We launched our Fair Access Principles in February 2020, which were designed in consultation with our Composer Advisory Group, Board of Trustees and partners in the sector.

We enacted the Principles in the application and selection process for New Voices 2020 and have begun to see significant signs of change. This year’s data shows us that the number of Black applicants has now risen by 26%.

We also continue to evolve our language around race and ethnicity, and in May 2020, we made the decision to no longer use the acronym BAME.

This work continues to be a part of our long-term commitments as outlined in our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy.

Download the full infographic here (PDF) or view the data below.


If you have any questions or queries about this data please do get in touch with us.

You can also read a blog post from our CEO Susanna Eastburn, reflecting on these findings here.

In addition to publishing our data, our other work to mark Black History Month includes:

Find out more #BlackHistoryMonth

On Black History Month 2020 by Susanna Eastburn MBE

Black History Month 2019

Black History Month 2018: Reviewing the Data

Black History Month 2018

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