In the light of recent events across the world and the powerful reactions these have raised, it is incumbent on us all to reflect on our own practice, and on what the RMA can and must do to combat racism in every way we can.
The RMA does not tolerate any kind of racism or discrimination from our members, at our conferences and affiliated events, or from the external organisations we work with.
Our commitment goes much further. As our Equality and Diversity statement makes clear (https://www.rma.ac.uk/about-us/), we seek to actively promote Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in respect of race, as well as gender and any other characteristic by which people identify themselves. We encourage diversity in our all endeavours, from the development of membership to the appointment of elected Council Members, Chairs of Committees and remunerated officers. We strive for equality and diversity when considering candidates for our awards, delegates and presenters at our conferences; and through our events and publications we encourage research on music and musical experience of every kind across the world.
But we have been aware for some time that the RMA’s governing Council and membership reflects the stark lack of diversity in the disciplines of musicology, composition and performance as practised in our British universities and conservatoires. The loss of talent suffered in consequence impoverishes us all. Over the last couple of years we have been working with MusicHE and other associations to urgently overturn this situation. Our initiative – spearheaded by RMA Vice-President Laudan Nooshin and MusicHE’s Helen Minors – began by looking specifically at how we can improve BAME routes into music higher education. This led immediately to the formation of an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion working group, which is now devising an action plan to co-ordinate tangible and effective initiatives across a wider landscape.
We are in the process of creating a section on our website as a resource for BAME members and non-members alike, to support them in music higher education and research. There will also be information on the working group, all of which will be shared through our various social media channels.
We welcome any advice and feedback from our BAME members as to how we can better represent and support you, and from all those members and others who would be interested in contributing to this initiative. Please do get in touch with Laudan Nooshin (firstname.lastname@example.org) or myself (email@example.com) if you would like to discuss this further.
President of the RMA, on behalf of Council
15 June 2020