People with disabilities, the forgotten people of the music industry

(ETX Daily Up) – Disability remains a taboo subject in the music industry. This is the sad finding of a new British study funded by the Arts Council England. The phenomenon is such that some professionals in the sector refuse to talk about their state of health for fear of reprisals.

This study is based on the testimonies of several hundred artists and other professionals in the music industry. More than 70% of them claim to suffer from a handicap (motor, mental, sensory or cognitive) or from a disabling disease “invisible” to the naked eye. If this name covers very diverse realities, most of the people concerned disclose their state of health “sometimes” or “never” to their colleagues.

While two-thirds of survey respondents believe that this information is irrelevant in a professional context, many fear appearing less competent or be victims of discrimination. Even more worrying: one in four respondents worry about missing out on professional opportunities because of their disability. “Some employers tried to make the accommodations I needed. One employer told me it wasn’t their job. Another told me I was lying and wanted to get a job. [pension] disability, ”one of them explained.

Feel like a burden

The study also reveals that professionals with an invisible disability put their health at risk by choosing not to address their health issues in the workplace. Three quarters of the people questioned had a bitter experience of it. “I’m getting better and better at asking for what I need, but in the past I didn’t want to do it too much and feel like a burden. Over the years, I’ve grown more confident. in me in relation to that and that tendency has eased, ”said one of them.

However, the vast majority of respondents agree on the need to put people with disabilities more prominently in music. A previous report from Arts Council England, dating from 2018, had already warned of their under-representation in all areas of the industry. At the time, the organization found that only 1.8% of professionals in the sector suffered from a disability.

Ben Price, founder of the Harborside Artist Management agency, is one of them. He himself has an invisible disability, which motivated him to start writing this study. “I myself have a disability that I didn’t feel able to talk about, and wanted to explore the perspectives of other people in a similar situation, as well as possible solutions to improve the representation of people with disabilities in the industry. The goal is not necessarily to ask more people to disclose their disability, but to foster an environment where these conversations are normalized and where more people with a disability or long-term condition can. be welcomed in the industry – at all levels – barrier-free “.