Half Of Disabled Music Workers Don’t Disclose Conditions

Disabled workers in the music industry are putting their health and safety at risk over fears of negative reactions and damaging their career prospects, according to a new survey, and advocates say that disability riders should become standard practice.

Complete Music Update reports that research funded by Arts Council England (ACE) has found that over half of disabled music industry workers have avoided disclosing their condition out of fear of discrimination, and 70 per cent of respondents said they have compromised their health and well being by withholding details of a non-visible disability.

The study was designed and overseen by Harbourside Artist Management’s Ben Price, who was influenced by his own lived experience.

“I myself have a disability that I didn’t feel able to disclose, and I wanted to explore the perspectives of others in a similar position,” he said, adding that he aims to develop an environment where conversations in the industry concerning disability are normalised, helping to remove barriers and welcome more people with disabilities into the industry.

ACE research found just 1.8 per cent of music industry workers identify as having a disability – 10 times lower than the UK average – and the lowest percentage of representation of disabled workers across ACE-funded art forms including dance, literature, museums, theatre and combined and visual arts.

More than half of respondents claim that less than a quarter of music venues are access friendly. Access to stages and health and safety issues backstage polled among the most frequent barriers.

Price said that it can’t be expected for every venue to be completely disability friendly for all disabilities, but they need to be adaptive, and venues should train staff members on how to work with different disabilities and be prepared to have open conversations around accessibility.

Just over half (51 per cent) of respondents said they have encountered issues with the attitude of venue staff members.

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