Guest Blog: Help Musicians UK

This year Wide Days are pleased to be partnering with Help Musicians UK, Claire Gevaux the Creative Director has written a guest blog to explain more about the music charity and the work that they do... 

Help Musicians UK is the leading independent music charity. As the charity approaches it centenary year in 2021, we are committed to be truly representative of the music sector, increasing our presence in the nations and regions of the UK, being inclusive to every genre and reaching a diverse range of musicians and those working in the broader industry.

After the successful launch of Help Musicians NI in Belfast in November 2016, we are continuing our focus on investing in the regions and nations of the UK.  In 2017, we are developing our approach in Scotland, listening to the challenges in the profession and hearing the success stories of the Scottish Music scene. We’ve spoken to musicians, those representing the wider industry as well as funding agencies and membership bodies across Scotland, who are helping us to understand how we can have a long lasting impact in Scotland. We are already supporting artists and organisations based in Scotland through our existing funding streams but we want to expand our relationships with partners to ensure that we reach across the whole of Scotland.

In March we partnered with New Music Scotland Awards presenting the New Music Performer of the Year Award to Red Note Ensemble founded by Robert Irvine. We were delighted to have been able to support this award which recognises the performing of contemporary music. Red Note Ensemble is a worthy recipient and wonderful advocate of attracting new audiences to explore the talent pool of Scottish new music.

Commencing our partnerships in the wider music industry, it’s a privilege to support Scotland’s only music-business convention Wide Days which takes place from 20-21 April in Edinburgh. Launched in 2010, Wide Days has attracted key music industry players from the UK, US, Norway, Iceland and the Netherlands. It launched Music Venue Trust, the Off Axis gigging network and has established a green festivals network in Scotland.  

Help Musicians is offering discounted accreditation to emerging artists and industry professionals who would not otherwise be able to afford a full price delegate pass to the conference. We are delighted to offer 50 delegates, selected through an application process, a huge discount reducing the cost to just £25. Awarding bursaries for study or professional development is core to our Creative Programme which means that we can give opportunities to those learning the profession or continuing to develop their practice. Working closely with Wide Days has given us a unique opportunity to ensure that more people can benefit from the experience of attending this valuable networking event. We’re also delighted to be taking part in the conference programme of Wide Days. Sharing the platform with other funders, we’ll be talking about the different funding opportunities HMUK offers and offering some of our top tips in writing applications in the ‘Free Lunch – a guide to funding’ seminar.

Continuing our series of listening events, we are taking advantage of our partnership with Wide Days and relationship with Scottish Music Industry Association to host a workshop discussion just before the convention. On Thursday 20 April, we will bring together some of the biggest names in Scottish music to discuss the future of Scotland’s musical landscape and how best Help Musicians can support and help develop the existing infrastructure. We’re excited by the prospect of bringing together diverse voices from across the sector to contribute to a series of questions which will help frame what programmes of support we design and deliver over the coming months.

We’re hugely grateful to the people representing the Scottish music scene who have already offered their thoughts, ideas, experience and advice to us in this first phase of research. We will continue to involve key voices in the sector through a newly formed Task Group of advisors who will help us hone and shape what we do. If you’re interested in finding out more, please get in touch. We would love to hear your views and hope that you will be inspired to help us empower and support musicians throughout their careers and lives.

Claire Gevaux

Creative Director & Director, Scotland