DIY Access Guide Launch at Off the Record

Posted on 20.09.2017

DIY Access Guide Launch at Off the Record

A selection of the guide covers designed by workshop participants.

What can an artist or gig organiser do to support grassroots venues and include Deaf and disabled people at their shows?

Back in March, we held the In-Sight Weekend at DIY Space for London, exploring this question with a series of discussions and workshops, highlighting the barriers disabled music fans can face in accessing grassroots venues, and how artists and promoters can be catalysts for a more inclusive live music scene (read more about what happened at the In-Sight Weekend here: Friday and Saturday).

Following on from these discussions, and the contributions of workshop participants at the In-Sight Weekend, we’ve created a low/no budget guide to help artists, bands, promoters, and anyone else putting on a gig or a tour make their event as accessible and inclusive as possible – and we’re launching it this November at Off the Record conference in Manchester.

We will be curating a unique panel discussion, Break Down Barriers, We Will Come, that will shine a light on the untapped potential of Deaf and disabled audiences and artists in the grassroots music scene. Get a first glimpse of our new guide, learn about the simple (and free!) changes that all event organisers can implement to maximise inclusivity at their shows, and how you can support our campaign for #MusicWithoutBarriers.

More details about Off the Record conference.

Read on to find out more about our panel contributors…

Attitude is Everything CEO, Suzanne Bull MBE

Suzanne founded Attitude is Everything in 2000 as a short project to examine the issues that impacted Deaf and disabled people’s access to live music, after Arts Council England (ACE) spotted an article she had written on experiences at festivals. It quickly became apparent that venues and festivals required clear guidance to break down access barriers, leading to the creation of Attitude is Everything’s Charter of Best Practice. Feedback from the music industry spurred Suzanne to nurture the project into what Attitude is Everything is today – a charity driven by feedback from hundreds of Deaf and disabled mystery shoppers, that has trained thousands of industry professionals, and currently works with over 150 venues and festivals across the UK.

Having been Project Manager for 8 years, Suzanne was appointed CEO of Attitude is Everything in 2008. In 2013, Suzanne was honoured with an MBE for services to music, arts and disabled people. In February 2017, the government appointed her as one of 11 business sector champions, to further champion the benefits of being inclusive to disabled people in the music industry.

Richard Phoenix

Richard Phoenix is an artist and musician living and working in London. He has worked with learning disability arts organisations and individual artists for over ten years as a music facilitator and project co-ordinator. Richard has been involved with the UK’s DIY music scene for over 18 years, playing and touring in punk bands including Sauna Youth and assisting in the running of the venue DIY Space for London. All his work explores his interest in how accessibility and integration can improve things for all.

Richard is the founder and director of the non-profit organisation Constant Flux, which was started to help create opportunities for musicians with learning disabilities. He is also Heart n Soul’s Creative Associate, working on the SoundLab project looking at how music technology can create accessible, expressive music making experiences, and with the creative arts project, Do Your Own Thing, for young people with learning disabilities. 

Hannah McKearnen

Hannah is a 25 year old live music fan and blogger from Preston. She uses her blog to review bands and venues and discuss accessibility within the live music industry – an issue which she is passionate about. Hannah has been volunteering with Attitude is Everything for two years. Her work with us has included being an access steward at Glastonbury and Leeds, writing blog posts for their website, being a member of the judging panel for the Outstanding Attitude Awards and more recently, undertaking artist liaison assignments for the #MusicWithoutBarriers campaign. Hannah enjoys indie and alternative music and her favourite bands are The Vaccines and Sundara Karma.

Rob Maddison

Rob Maddison is a producer and musician for the artists Revenge of Calculon, Spaceships are Cool and Yunioshi as well as creating production music for film and television. His recent work includes co-writing music with film composer Simon Boswell for a virtual reality app to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the cult sci-fi film Hackers.

Rob has performed all over the world, including playing at festivals in the US, Canada and Iceland as well as at UK festivals such as Glastonbury, Dot to Dot, Y Not, ComicCon London and the 2012 Paralympics.

After a spinal cord injury in 2008, Rob is now a wheelchair user and is involved in promoting awareness of musicians with disabilities.