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A selection of images and links to recent performances (2022)

A selection of links and images to performances in 2022 including the Festival alongside the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, Blind spot performances in Birmingham and London and a performance at the Horniman Museum in London

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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

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

The music business is an extremely competitive one, and the fact is that blind and visually impaired musicians are at a disadvantage within it. The difference between success and failure, between getting or not getting the gig, recording contract, television slot and so on, can be marginal. The problems associated with being blind, or sometimes merely the perception of what those problems are, often leads to undeserved failure.

Some visually impaired musicians are able to make up for this because of their great talent, public relations skill, powerful friends or sheer luck. But too many others find themselves losing out to sighted musicians of equal or even lesser talent.

It is within this context of disadvantage that the Inner Visions Music Company has been formed. Designed as an umbrella organisation, its aim is to redress the balance by identifying the problems faced by visually impaired musicians and helping to address these problems through mechanisms for support.

The need for such an organisation was initially identified by the renowned blind sitar player, Baluji Shrivastav, who was a key figure in setting up the project. The Report is essentially Inner Visions' first step, providing it with a starting point, with the intent of both illustrating the current state of play, and suggesting possible future policies and programmes of work for the organisation itself. The research programme could not have taken place without the support of The Platinum Trust and the Royal National Institute for the Blind, and grateful thanks goes to both these organisations for their help. We have since discovered that George Michael founded the Platinum Trust and we are very grateful to this amazing musician.

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Blind to the Facts - Linda Shanson writes in Arts Professional

Linda Shanson asks why there aren’t any blind musicians at the top of the music industry, especially in the UK

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Blind to the Facts 2023 survey launched by the Baluji Music Foundation

Blind to the Facts 2023 survey launched by the Baluji Music Foundation  

Survey launched to expose challenges across the UK music industry and encourage inclusion of blind and visually impaired people.

London, 20th February, 2023:  Baluji Music Foundation (BMF) launches “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 said: “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 updates the Blind to the Facts research completed in 1995, 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.

Blind to the Facts 2023 is 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). 

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) 

The survey will be open from 20th February to 3rd April and can be completed online at  or over the phone. Data will always be made confidential, and participants will not be identifiable by name. Participants can request a copy of any report or publication produced during this project by contacting the lead researcher.


For more information contact: 
Lindsay Ireland, +44 (0) 7930 397 241

For more information on the survey contact: 
Dr Claire Castle at or on +44 (0) 7710859149 for more information

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.  Please contact or visit 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 Registered charity number 1074958

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 Registered charity number 1195189

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Dotaware - Hands-free braille music device in development

The Baluji Music Foundation and Queen Mary University London are currently developing a hands free braille system with the intent of enabling blind musicians to read braille music and play an instrument at the same time. The system uses pre-established 6 dots of braille and places them on a wearable band.

Through our testing of the prototype we have discovered the device has further potential outside of music and would love to see the device acting as an aid for all blind people. Do get in touch if you would like to try out the device or have any further questions (email at or ring us on 07812590021. The first stage of development was funded by Nesta via the Nesta Amplified scheme and was very successful and we are now seeking funding to continue the development of the device.

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

This is a Heritage Lottery Funded Project Capturing the Oral Histories of blind musicians in post war London. It is produced by the Baluji Music Foundation, with interviews by Linda Shanson and Oscar Castellino and filmed by Cecile Embleton. In these five beautifully shot and intimate films we meet Tony Halliday whose life long love of music started at the beginning of the War with the piano and whose father bought a clarinet for 30s, Geoff Long performer, pianist and singer who was signed to EMI with the first blind rock band; Chrissie Cochrane Composer, producer, singer/songwriter, DJ with a wonderful new single out "let me out of here"; Ustad Sital Singh Sitara MBE who has taught Kirtan to hundreds, if not thousands of children and Jackie Clifton MBE organist and founder of Musicians in Focus.

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

Music has long been a way in which visually impaired people could gain financial independence, excel at a highly-valued skill, or simply enjoy musical participation. Existing literature on visual impairment and music includes perspectives from the social history of music, ethnomusicology, child development and areas of music psychology, music therapy, special educational needs, and music education, as well as more popular biographical texts on famous musicians. But there has been relatively little sociological research bringing together the views and experiences of visually impaired musicians themselves across the life course. 

Insights in Sound: Visually Impaired Musicians’ Lives and Learning aims to increase knowledge and understanding both within and beyond this multifaceted group. Through an international survey combined with life-history interviews, a vivid picture is drawn of how visually impaired musicians approach and conceive their musical activities, with detailed illustrations of the particular opportunities and challenges faced by a variety of individuals. 

Both Baluji and Inner Vision were integral components in the writing of this book.

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

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

The conference brought together visually-impaired performers, music teachers (sighted and visually-impaired), researchers concerned with visual impairment and music, representatives from the music industry and organizations in this arena.
It addressed key issues surrounding the musical participation and learning of visually-impaired people, including: music education and lifelong learning; participation choices and approaches to music; the relationship between musical approaches, musical genre and sight; and how technologies are shaping the music-making of visually-impaired people.

These were explored through presentations and performances.

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

This research trip to India was funded by the British Council and the Arts Council. It was designed to locate musicians, partners and in gathering research information for investigation into visually impaired musicians lives.

We made lasting and valuable connections with the people and the places we visited and were amazed at the abundance of musical talent we discovered.

The research carried out led to the development of Antardrishti-Inner Vision, which in addition to the UK based Inner Vision Orchestra, also featured four blind musicians who travelled from India to perform.

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

This report was commissioned by Baluji Shrivastav for the Arts Council of England. It was written on the basis of participant observation, survey responses and informal interviews, and focuses upon the experience of stakeholders in different aspects of the first Inner Vision Orchestra tour – to consider how their interests were met and how these might be further promoted in future activities. It reflects on the significance for the future planning of the Inner Vision Orchestra and, more generally, on the requirements of blind and partially-sighted performers taking part in such a tour, and the practicalities involved in its organisation.

Author Dr. Christian C. Clerk

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