NMS Day 2016

Published by: Nicola Henderson

On 2nd September this year, we held our third networking and discussion a day. We aim to hold at least one of these a year, where the membership and the wider sector can come together to discuss the most pressing issues and help shape the way we can tackle them together.

The day had three main segments: The AGM, a panel discussion on ‘Working in Europe – post Brexit’ and a discussion around ‘Making a living in New Music’. Here is a brief summary of what was discussed on the day – we are inviting a couple of panellists to send some more in-depth insights to share with you and they will appear on the blog shortly so I will keep this overview relatively short.

crv6eg6uaaic0hlWe started the day with the AGM. As a cooperative, the membership shapes the activities and actions we undertake. A lot of the business of the day was gone through – sharing the accounts, procedures of the board meeting, updating on plans for this year etc. We then had an in-depth discussion regarding future activity. A lot of ideas were shared:

Ideas for our next Conference (or could be for a future NMS Day):

  • Barriers to access
  • Educational background barriers – how to build a portfolio of work to become an “emerging” composer.
  • How to present new music to make it more accessible.

We invited anyone with case studies on projects that represent best practice to share those with us.

Peer-to-Peer Residency weekend

  • Discussion over stratification – are the peer-to-peer weekends too “stratified”? But they are “peer-to-peer” and overall the group felt there was value in the safe sharing between individuals of a similar level. Perhaps an opportunity to develop residency’s across levels, separate from the “Peer to Peer” model.
  • It was felt that opportunities should be widened – possibly to young promoters and/or young composers/promoters (or even performers/composers/promoters?).
  • Women composers or people coming back into composing after a break.

These were all topics discussed and the list is not exhaustive, so please feel free to add to this! Send ideas to

We also discussed NMS lobbying for more support for composers to reduce marginalisation.

The first panel discussion was ‘Working in Europe post Brexit’. The discussion was chaired by Laura Metcalfe from the BBC and panellists were Susanna Eastburn from sound and music, Norah Campbell from the British Council and Geoffrey Brown from Euclid. This was a lengthy and passionate discussion on where we are and trying to explore the issues most important to the sector and how we best prepare for what may happen – it was agreed it was very difficult to do this at this stage, given the many different scenarios on the table, but if we agree on certain issues we can start lobbying and being ready for what may happen. Key points covered were:

  • Look to make alliances across sectors on shared issues such as VISA’s and free travel – shouting together will help influence government decisions.
  • Current view of Britain in rest of Europe is negative and already impacting partnerships and people working here – we need to shout ‘WELCOME’ as loudly and as often as possible
  • Key organisations work together to lobby government on needs of sector – sound and music, NMS, SMC.

You can watch the facebook LIVE video to hear more: 

The second panel discussion was around ‘Making a Living in New Music’. The discussion was chaired by composer Oliver Searle and panellists were composer Aidan O’Rourke, Susanna Eastburn, Alan Morrison from Creative Scotland and Kyle Brenders from the Canadian New Music Network. The conversation was fairly broad, but did focus around support for composers to experiment and create new music – an activity that in itself does not generate much of an income. So how can we lobby to ensure composers are supported? Key points covered were:

  • Discussion around need for support for composers – the more high risk the work, the less the money to be made. Support around experimentation and the chance for composers to make mistakes at low levels.
  • Revolved a lot around funding. As funds get even tighter, how do we raise value public put in the arts? How do we stretch what is there? How do we lobby for more? How do we lobby to get music back in schools to nurture long term relationships with the genre?
  • How do we show something to be a success as a project? How do we measure this and is there a more effective way to make funders aware of the activity that we as artists have found to be successful experiences for us?

You can watch the facebook LIVE video here: 

We hope to bring you some blogs which explore these issues in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled. And remember, you can get in touch with ideas and thoughts anytime. You shape what we do!

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