Black History Month 2021: Our data

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“We want to foreground and celebrate the achievements and contributions of Black artists and composers in the UK as part of the positive theme of this year’s Black History Month, “Proud To Be”, which aims to encourage Black and Brown people to share what they are proud to be, and honours the incredible richness and diversity of Black and Brown heritage in the UK. ” – Susanna Eastburn MBE

Introduction from Roger Wilson (Director of Operations, Black Lives in Music)

“Whilst we have seen historically that opinions can and have been ignored, it’s very difficult to argue with fact. The data report from Sound and Music, as is now traditionally released in Black History Month, makes for important reading. Crucially, it’s out there for all to view and understand. Transparency and honesty are important starting points in any conversation.

Sound and Music maintain inclusive practice at the top of their agenda – they don’t need to say it, the data proves it! It’s important that we understand the direction and speed of change resulting from our efforts to make change – it’s vital to have quantitative and qualitive assessment to really understand progress.

We at Black Lives in Music urge organisations and individuals to find out more about and sign up to the Sound and Music Fair Access Principles initiative. Please, value data and utilise information gathering processes as part of your own pathway to progress – data doesn’t lie! Black Lives in Music stands with Sound and Music – working together produces change.”

Reporting marginal but positive growth

This is the fourth consecutive year that Sound and Music has released data regarding applicants to our programmes from backgrounds who have experienced racism. This year, the dataset we’ve used comprises applicants to our various programmes including New Voices, Composer-Curator and our Covid-19 Awards (rounds 2, 3 and 4). For the first time, we are also looking at applicants to our British Music Collection open opportunities which included the LGBTQ+, Black Composers and Climate. Sound. Change.

As well as looking at the data of those applying to our programmes, this year we have also looked at the data of those who are selected for these programmes (and compared the two).

Following the 26% increase reported in 2020, the number of Black applicants to our programmes and opportunities has risen by a further 6% in 2021. In 2021, 5% of all applicants to our programmes and opportunities were Black (compared to 1.2% in 2015). In terms of those we selected for our programmes, this rises to 12% Black artists.

In 2021, applicants from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds make up 18% of all applicants to our programmes, which is a 2% increase from 2020. With the UK’s Black, Asian and minority ethnic population around 13%, this also signals better representation of minority ethnic groups across our programmes. One third of all our selected applicants come from Black, Asian and ethnically diverse backgrounds, at 34%.

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.

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

Black History Month 2021 Infographic - Sound and Music

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

Find out more about #BlackHistoryMonth #ProudToBe

On Black History Month 2021 by Susanna Eastburn MBE

Black History Month 2020

Find out more about our Fair Access Principles

Find out more about Black Lives in Music

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