#DignityinStudy: ISM, Equity and Musicians’ Union launch joint survey

Joint anonymous and confidential survey is available at bit.ly/ISMEquityMUsurvey

Representative bodies the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), Equity and the Musicians’ Union (MU) have today (9 April) launched a joint anonymous and confidential survey open to all students over the age of 18 currently studying at a higher education institute, including universities and specialist music, drama and dance colleges.

This joint survey has been launched in the wake of concerns from student members about issues relating to the culture within higher education institutions and a lack of awareness around the policies and procedures in place.

Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians said:

'Since October 2017, the ISM has been hearing from its members about issues in relation to sexual harassment, discrimination and inappropriate behaviour in the setting in which they work.

The first part of our work around this issue saw the launch of a survey of the music profession, culminating in an interim report in December 2017 and a final report due for release shortly. Our initial findings presented in the Dignity at Work interim report indicate a high level of troubling behaviours in the music sector, including sexual harassment and discrimination.

During the first survey, we received feedback from students which asked for the survey to be broadened to educational establishments. The ISM has responded to this feedback by creating this survey in collaboration with Equity and the Musicians’ Union. We are asking all students to take part in this anonymous and confidential survey, available at bit.ly/ISMEquityMUsurvey.’

Christine Payne, General Secretary of Equity said:

‘Equity, alongside the ISM and the Musicians’ Union, is committed to making meaningful change and empowering our student members to combat the culture of fear that is preventing them reporting abuse.

We have heard from our members regarding experiences of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour in their work. This includes student members, who have raised concerns with us about issues relating to the culture within higher education institutions and a lack of awareness around the policies and procedures in place.

Solutions need to be found to tackle the sexual harassment crisis, and this collaborative survey with the ISM and Musicians’ Union forms part of our wider investigation into what we can do to ensure a safe environment for all actors to work in.’

Horace Trubridge, General Secretary of the Musicians’ Union said:

‘The Musicians’ Union is committed to tackling harassment, bullying and discrimination wherever it occurs in the music industry, including within educational establishments.

The Union has a dedicated email account - [email protected] - to provide a safe space for all workers in the entertainment industries to share instances of sexism, sexual harassment and sexual abuse in particular. We’ve received many reports, including some that highlight ongoing issues in colleges, conservatoires and universities. We want to make it clear that we are here to support students as well as professionals and that we want to effect a positive culture change in arts education as well as in workplaces.

Our impression is that students are dealing with inappropriate behaviour from fellow students and, on occasion, staff who hold a position of power over them. In some cases, we’re told that complaints from students have been ignored or mishandled. This has to stop. This survey will help us to get a sense of the scale of the problem, which we can then discuss with the establishments in question.’

The information provided by respondents in this survey will be used for research purposes and will remain confidential. The survey is available at bit.ly/ISMEquityMUsurvey

About the ISM

The Incorporated Society of Musicians is the UK’s professional body for musicians and a nationally-recognised subject association for music. We were set up in 1882 to promote the art of music and to protect the interests of all musicians. Today we support over 8,500 members with specialist and tailored services and expert advice, from study up until retirement and beyond.

About Equity

Equity is the UK trade union for professional performers and creative practitioners. As a leading industry organisation, Equity is known and respected nationally and internationally for the work we do with, and on behalf of, our members working across all areas of the entertainment industry.

We are a campaigning and organising union and proud of our strong record of taking the things that matter to our members to parliament and other centres of influence. Being part of Equity gives members a voice in these places. Members are at the heart of all the union’s activities and by getting involved they drive forward the work of the union.

About the Musicians’ Union

Established in 1893, the MU represents over 30,000 musicians working in all sectors and genres of music. As well as negotiating on behalf of its members with all the major employers of musicians in the UK, the MU offers a range of services tailored for the self-employed such as legal advice and assistance, unpaid fee recovery, template contracts and specialist insurances.