The Baluji Music Foundation (BMF) has launched its “Blind to
the Facts” survey to expose the challenges faced by blind and visually impaired people across the UK music industry. Funded by the Vision Foundation and conducted by Dr Claire Castle in collaboration with Dr David Baker of the University of London Institute of Education, the survey will reveal what is needed to drive greater inclusion.
Dr Claire Castle, Baluji Music Foundation Research Fellow and Senior Scientist, (Social & Welfare) BRAVO VICTOR says: “This project is a really exciting opportunity to ensure equal opportunities in music, regardless of disability or impairment. We need feedback from both those who employ musicians in the UK, and musicians themselves. By sharing their experiences, these individuals will highlight how the industry can do better in its employment, support and encouragement of blind and partially sighted professionals across all areas of the music industry.”
The 2023 survey will update the Blind to the Facts research completed in 1995 , 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).
, which highlighted the dearth of professional performing opportunities for blind musicians, 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.
Baluji Shrivastav OBE says: “Being great at music isn’t enough to get you employed as a musician. That’s true for all musicians, but the 1995 survey showed it’s even more so the case if you’re blind. I have experienced this myself. I have lost jobs or been made to feel that including me on a tour would be an inconvenience because of my blindness - the music doesn’t even come into it. The point of this survey and what we’re trying to do with the BMF is to find out why, and remove these pointless obstacles - not just for musicians but for promoters, sound technicians, composers etc. - and create opportunities across the whole UK music industry. Blind people may not be able to see you, but we deserve to be seen and heard.”
The low number of blind and visually impaired musicians and individuals working in the UK music industry is reflective of a broader situation. There are more than 2 million people in the UK living with sight loss, causing a significant impact on their daily lives. Only 1 in 4 registered blind or partially sighted people of working age is in paid employment, a figure that has worsened in the last decade. This compares to 51% of disabled people and 75% of the general population and is even worse for
people who are completely blind. Only around 1 in 10 people with poor functional vision is in paid employment (Slade, J, Edwards, E, 2017. ‘Employment status and sight loss’ - RNIB. ‘See my Skills’, 2021 - Vision Foundation)
While the survey is now closed, the study is ongoing. Its results from the study will be written up in a report for the Baluji Music Foundation. Findings will also be written up in an academic article for publication in a peer reviewed journal and may be presented at research conferences.
The study is ongoing. Its results from the study will be written up in a report for the Baluji Music Foundation. Findings will also be written up in an academic article for publication in a peer reviewed journal and may be presented at research conferences.
If you’d like to talk to the Baluji Music Foundation about our work supporting blind and partially sighted musicians, please visit https://www.balujimusicfoundation.org/, email email@example.com or call 020 7226 2094. We would love to hear from you!
About the Baluji Music Foundation:
Founded 15 years ago by blind Indian multi-instrumentalist and composer Baluji Shrivastav OBE and Linda Shanson, the Baluji Music Foundation is an arts charity programming and promoting events featuring blind and partially sighted musicians and advancing access to musical and artistic experiences for blind and partially sighted people. Its showcase project is the Inner Vision Orchestra of professional blind musicians which performs nationally and internationally and has released music on Arc/Naxos. www.balujimusicfoundation.org. Registered charity number 1130985
About The Vision Foundation:
Formerly the Greater London Fund for the Blind (GLFB), the Vision Foundation 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 number 1074958
About BRAVO VICTOR:
A research organization 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/. Registered charity number 1195189