School of Arts forms new partnership to address ethnic and gender imbalance

The School of Arts has strengthened its connections with key industry and creative bodies with the creation of a brand new funded strategic partnership between Music and Audio Technology at Kent, the Institute for Cultural and Creative Industries, Black Lives in Music, Milap (the UK’s leading Indian arts and culture company) and National Youth Jazz Collective (NYJC). The partnership will support a ground-breaking initiative addressing the imbalance of ethnic and gender representation in music education, including 3 annual conferences, development days, webinars and creation of new works.

Dr Ruth Herbert, Senior Lecturer in Music and Audio Technology and trustee of NYJC, was a key part in the development of the partnership. “This is such an exciting initiative and there’s been such enthusiasm from all partners in getting involved. Everyone agrees this needs to happen!” she says, reflecting on the project’s origins. “We’ll tap into wider networks of project partners, hubs and organisations across the country, so the access and reach is really broad.”

Last year Ruth successfully applied for funding to support a CHASE/AHRC funded Collaborative Doctoral Award titled ‘Women in Contemporary UK Jazz: Artistic Voice, Gender and Professional Identity’ – the first to involve a music education National Portfolio Organisation partnership.

The partnership represents both a continuation and extension of the programmes at the School of Arts to promote diversity. Oliver Double, Head of the School of Arts, said: “If you love music, you’ll know that our musical culture would be much poorer without the work of diverse creators. With that in mind, the School of Arts is delighted to support an initiative that will help to better represent diversity in music education.”

A woman with dark red har stands at a lecturn in a dimly lit room
Dr Ruth Herbert, Senior Lecturer in Music Performance and Music Psychology