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The Empowered Musician

The Empowered Musician 2020: Event programme

Day 1: Wednesday 2 December 2020

10am: Opening session and Welcome
Deborah Annetts, ISM Chief Executive

10.10 – 10.25am: Keynote speech from Dr Anita Collins

Dr Anita Collins is an award-winning educator, author and researcher in music education and brain development. She has interviewed over 100 neuromusical researchers in Canada, USA, Scandinavia and Europe, she is a TEDx speaker and TED-Ed writer and is known for her role as onscreen expert in the ABC’s successful documentary Don’t Stop the Music and author of The Music Advantage. Meet the speaker

10.30 – 11.45am: Lockdown music 1: The view from the performers
Chair: Nicky Spence
Panel: Jas Kayser, Lisa Jên Brown, Rakhi Singh, Christopher Stark, Gabriella Swallow

A panel of artists discuss the highs and lows of making and performing music during lockdown. We’ll hear how musicians have responded creatively to the challenges of COVID-19, coming up with innovative solutions and connecting with new audiences. Meet the panellists

12 – 1.10pm: Lockdown music 2: The view from the venues

Chair: Deborah Annetts
Panel: Kit Fraser, Fielding Hope, Tom McKinney, Paul Mandry, David Francis

This session explores the ways COVID-19 has affected UK music venues and hit income streams. We talk to venue owners and promoters from across the UK about staying afloat during the pandemic and how they’re facing the challenges ahead. Meet the panellists

1.15 – 2pm: In conversation with David Lammy MP
Hosted by Deborah Annetts

David Lammy is the Labour Member of Parliament for Tottenham. He is currently Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, and has served as both Culture Minister and Higher Education Minister. He chaired a landmark review of the criminal justice system, and is renowned for his role in securing justice for victims of the Windrush Scandal and London's Grenfell Tower fire, as well as spearheading the fight against Brexit, pushing for equal access to university and demanding the decolonisation of education curriculums and international aid. His book Tribes explores the benign and malign effects of our very human need to belong. Meet the speaker

1.15-2pm: Find out more about the ISM

Want to know more about us? Join the ISM’s Membership & Marketing Officer Sam Flower to find out how the ISM can support you in your music career. You will learn about our campaigning and lobbying work and how we support our members with insurances, legal and business advice, promotion, professional development and much more, as well as having the chance to ask questions and meet fellow music professionals.

2 – 3.15pm: Is there a future for the musician?
Chair: Sammy Andrews
Panel: Gerard Lyons, Danny Keir, Carol Main MBE, Barbara Osborne, Stéphan Vincent-Lancrin

In this session, we look at what the future looks like for the music sector and whether music remains a viable career. Our panellists will explore why musicians will be vital to the jobs market of the future, and the positive impact of the arts on our cities, our economy and our health. Meet the panellists

3.30 – 4.45pm: The musician’s toolkit

Chair: Sarah Osborn
Panel: David Taylor, Kathryn Williams, John Robinson, Ruth McPherson, Max Upton

We know it’s tough out there for freelancers at the moment, with COVID-19 ongoing and Brexit imminent. Our panel of legal, business and marketing experts will help you navigate the ever-changing industry landscape and equip you with the skills and tools you need to succeed, covering contracts, copyright, royalties, publishing, touring, funding, promotion, marketing and more. Meet the panellists

4.45 – 5pm: Closing words from Deborah Annetts


Day 2: Thursday 3 December 2020


10am: Welcome

Deborah Annetts, ISM Chief Executive

10.10 – 10.25am: Keynote speech from Dr Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason

Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason is a former lecturer at Birmingham University and the mother of seven musical children. Her son, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, was the first black musician to win BBC Young Musician in 2016, and performed at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Two of his siblings are also former BBC Young Musician category finalists. During the first lockdown, the Kanneh-Masons garnered huge audiences for their livestreamed performances. Her first book, House of Music, Raising the Kanneh-Masons, was published in September 2020. Meet the speaker

10.30 - 11.45am: Tech – is it the answer?
Chair: Julia Haferkorn
Panel: Luke Hebblethwaite, Pippa Reid-Foster, Sandra Schembri, SK Shlomo, John J. Williamson

In 2020, digital connections became more important than ever. What opportunities can be unlocked by tech, and what are its drawbacks? Which areas of the music sector are thriving through harnessing the power of tech, and which are finding it harder to adapt to working digitally? We’ll explore all these questions and more. Meet the panellists

12 - 1.15pm: COVID-19 and its impact on gender, race and disability

Chair: Vick Bain
Panel: Mahaliah Edwards, Keith Harris OBE, Mary-Alice Stack, Mark Taylor

Our expert panel will discuss whether existing inequalities in the music sector have been exacerbated or brought to light by COVID-19. How can we widen access to creative careers and work together to create a more diverse and inclusive industry? Meet the panellists

1.15 - 2pm: SK Shlomo performance and tech masterclass

Join award-winning beatboxer and producer SK Shlomo for an exclusive lunchtime live performance and music tech masterclass. This is a chance to see Shlomo in action and learn some tips and tricks from a live-looping world champion. Meet the performer

1.15-2pm: Find out more about the ISM

Want to know more about us? Join the ISM’s Membership & Marketing Officer Sam Flower to find out how the ISM can support you in your music career. You will learn about our campaigning and lobbying work and how we support our members with insurances, legal and business advice, promotion, professional development and much more, as well as having the chance to ask questions and meet fellow music professionals.

2 – 3.15pm: Staying resilient
Chair: Dr Aoife Monks
Panel: James Ainscough, Lucy Heyman, Kellie Dorrington, Jeremy Huw Williams, Catriona Price

At a time of turmoil, change and hardship, it is more important than ever to ensure you are looking after yourself. Our panel of experts will provide practical guidance on staying physically, mentally and financially resilient and fellow musicians will share their personal experiences of coping during the pandemic. Meet the panellists

3.30 – 4.30pm: In conversation with Roderick Williams OBE

Hosted by Ashutosh Khandekar

Roderick Williams is one of the most sought-after baritones of his generation, who performs a wide repertoire from baroque to contemporary. He enjoys relationships with all the major UK opera houses, performs regularly with orchestras and ensembles both in the UK and worldwide, is an accomplished recital artist and appears regularly on Radio 3 both as a performer and presenter. Roderick is also a highly-regarded composer, with works premiered in leading concert halls and live on national radio. Meet the speaker

4.30pm - 5pm: Closing words
Deborah Annetts, ISM Chief Executive and Chis Collins, ISM President. Meet the speaker

The Empowered Musician resource hub

Discover interviews, panel discussions, advice and resources featured in and inspired by The Empowered Musician 2020, the ISM's digital conference for music professionals.