Research

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Research

The Baluji Music Foundation produces and participates in research to help address issues faced by blind and partially sighted musicians. Our current work includes the development of a revolutionary hands-free braille music device Dotaware which will enable musicians to feel the notes while performing, in a project funded by Nesta, and in partnership with Queen Mary University of London. Do contact us if you would like to be involved, help fund any of our projects or would like to find out more. 

 

Baluji Music Foundation - Commencement of ‘Blind to the Facts 2022’ Research Project, funded by the Vision Foundation

Baluji Music Foundation - Commencement of ‘Blind to the Facts 2022’ Research Project, funded by the Vision Foundation

The Baluji Music Foundation is pleased to announce the start of its new research project ‘Blind to the Facts 2022’. The research will identify why employment rates of blind and partially sighted people in music are so low and what can be done to address the barriers. The geographic focus area of the research is London but the research will have national implications. The research additionally aims to raise awareness amongst a group of stakeholders who are in a position to provide greater support and opportunities to blind or partially sighted people in the music industry. The project has been funded by the Vision Foundation, its duration is 12 months and it will start at the end of September, 2022.

Dr Claire Castle of BRAVO VICTOR will carry out the research on behalf of the Baluji Music Foundation, as Baluji Music Foundation Research Fellow. She will be overseen by Dr David Baker at the Institute of Education, University College London. The report will be published in Claire Castle’s name, and academic articles will be written for peer reviewed publication and affiliated to both Claire and David’s current academic institutions (for Claire BRAVO VICTOR and the University of Leeds, and for David UCL).

Claire has a background in music psychology, having completed her undergraduate degree (Hons) in Music at the University of Birmingham, and a Master’s in Applied Psychology of Music at the University of Leeds. Claire was awarded the University of Leeds 100th Anniversary Research Scholarship which allowed her to pursue her PhD in Applied Psychology, exploring the musical lives of individuals with visual impairment. Her doctoral research spanned the domains of everyday musical engagement, functions of music, and accessibility and inclusion. The knowledge that she developed during this project remains relevant to her current role at research charity BRAVO VICTOR (sister charity of Blind Veterans UK), which is dedicated to research which seeks to improve the lives of veterans and all others with visual impairment. Claire has held the position of Senior Scientist since September 2019, leading on multiple projects which seek to better understand the lives and needs of individuals with visual impairment. Growing up as a multi-instrumentalist, and later developing a love of sport and exercise, Claire has a particular interest in the role of musical, artistic, and sporting participation in both recreational and working life, and how greater levels of access and inclusion might be ensured for all. Claire is a member of the Social Research Association (SRA) and Society for Education and Music Psychology (SEMPRE).
 
The official funded project name is ‘Blind to the Facts 2022’. The research will be an update and extension of research commissioned by Baluji Shrivastav OBE in 1995 and supported by the RNIB and Platinum Trust (Blind to the Facts - An exploration into the needs of blind and visually-impaired musicians,1995, John Ludlow, Inner Visions Music Company). The research identified the challenges for blind musicians working in the UK music industry and led to the establishment of the Baluji Music Foundation and the Inner Vision Orchestra, the only orchestra of professional blind musicians in the UK.

If you are either a blind or partially sighted person working in the music industry in the UK, a blind or partially sighted musician, or a music employer or music journalist based in London, and would like to take part in the research, please do contact Dr Claire Castle at blindtothefacts@bravovictor.org on a confidential basis.

Please note, we are interested to hear from blind and partially sighted people working in all areas of the music industry and those currently looking for work in the industry. We would also like to hear from music industry businesses and employers whether or not they have experience working with blind and partially sighted people. This includes, but is not limited to, promoters, producers, record labels, venues, music technology companies, music managers and agencies, broadcasters and the media, music education providers, music critics. The research aims to work out ways to increase employment of blind and partially sighted people in the music industry and how to increase opportunities in the sector so all insights will be helpful and much appreciated.

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If you would like to take part in the research, please do contact Dr Claire Castle at blindtothefacts@bravovictor.org on a confidential basis.

If you would like to know more about the project, the Inner Vision Orchestra or the Baluji Music Foundation please email us at baluji@baluji.com

About: The Baluji Music Foundation Ltd, Registered Charity in England and Wales number 1130985. Founded by blind Indian multi-instrumentalist and composer Baluji Shrivastav OBE in 2008 to advance access to musical and artistic experiences for blind and partially sighted people, develop their skills and confidence, promote their achievements, and increase their representation in the music industry. The Inner Vision Orchestra is the only professional orchestra of blind and partially sighted people in the UK. https://www.balujimusicfoundation.org/

BRAVO VICTOR, Registered Charity in England and Wales number 1195189, BRAVO VICTOR is a new research organisation existing to inspire, facilitate and focus the world’s best research scientists to improve the lives of veterans and people living with visual impairment https://www.bravovictor.org/

Vision Foundation, formerly the Greater London Fund for the Blind (GLFB) has distributed more than £30m to sight loss organisations across London. They have sustained essential grassroots activities working at the heart of their communities, and been the first to support innovative new projects boosting the quality of life of the visually impaired community. Find out more at visionfoundation.org.uk. Registered charity no. 1074958

Dotaware - Hands-free braille music device in development

Nesta funded project devised by Baluji Shrivastav OBE and being developed by Baluji Music Foundation in partnership with Queen Mary University London

The Musician - VIP Musicians. Report by Katie Nicholls (MU, 2012)

Blind to the Facts - Linda Shanson writes in Arts Professional

Re.Imagine India (Research and Development in India 2016)

Inner Vision Orchestra England worked in collaboration with blind musicians in India to create a unique program of music inspired by the rich variety of regional folk music of India.

Institute of Education Conference 10-11 March 2015 - Visually Impaired Musicians Lives

This two-day conference will took place on 10–11 March 2015. It was held in the Jeffery Hall at the Institute of Education, University of London.

The Inner Vision Orchestra National Tour Report, Dr. Christian C. Clerk, 2014

Research carried out by anthropologist Dr. Christian C. Clerk who accompanied the Inner Vision Orchestra on their first national tour.

Heritage Lottery film project capturing oral histories of blind musicians in post-war London

Intimate and engaging portraits of five blind musicians in post war London.

Insights in Sound, by David Baker and Lucy Green, Routledge 2019

Through an international survey combined with life-history interviews, a vivid picture of how visually impaired musicians approach and conceive their musical activities is drawn, with detailed illustrations of the particular opportunities and challenges faced by a variety of individuals.  Baluji and musicians from the Inner Vision Orchestra were integral to the research.

Blind to the Facts - An exploration into the needs of blind and visually-impaired musicians (1995, John Ludlow, Inner Visions Music Company)

Research commissioned by Baluji Shrivastav OBE and supported by the RNIB and Platinum Trust, identifying challenges for blind musicians working in the UK music industry. This research led to the establishment of the Baluji Music Foundation and the Inner Vision Orchestra.