Why do diversity and inclusion matter to the Italian music industry?
Cultural and gender minorities have always created new forms of expression that have forever been changing the music scene in every continent. Music has always been a way for people to unleash their freedom of expression, breaking down stereotypes, fighting inequalities, and creating bridges between cultures and people. This is why we want to promote a musical culture where everyone feels accepted and included.
We believe that the inclusion of several voices and the enhancement of cultural diversity in the music industry would bring great value ultimately generating quality, richness and contemporaneity to the Italian music scene as a consequence.
For this reason, Italia Music Lab is committed to making its own contribution for a more representative and inclusive music industry, in which every person would be able to feel safe, valued, and respected. An industry that takes into account all the diversities between artists and professionals, recognizing them in every way respectfully.
Italia Music Lab’s commitment to diversity and inclusion
We want to enhance an open music culture that gives space to those who are usually left behind, by recognizing their potential. That’s why in our activities we implemented a series of inclusive practices and initiatives:
- When advertising our open calls, we pay special attention to the audience that is usually more reluctant to participate in initiatives of support: we invest in advertising to specific targets and we seek, when possible, to directly involve their communities to actually reach everyone.
- In the process of evaluating the projects that apply to our calls, the committees evaluate the proposals on the basis of an adequate representation of musical styles, gender, age and cultural background, trying to balance those factors.
- Calls providing support for concerts and tours abroad shall also provide for an additional contribution to each parent (musician or professional), who needs to take his/her child on tour abroad, or that may need assistance to take care of the kid in Italy or in the country where the shows take place (babysitters, grandparents, companions).
Keychange is an initiative co-financed by the European Union that is transforming the future of international music by encouraging festivals and music organizations to engage towards the achievement of including 50% of women and under-represented genders in their artistic programming and in their workforce.
Keychange is creating a more representative and inclusive industry for present and future generations. For example, the Keychange Talent Development Program, selects 76 artists and professionals each year and offers them the opportunity to take part in different activities, such as, international festivals, networking sessions, collaborations, creative workshops and a training program that includes seminars, masterclasses and much more.
Since 2022, Italia Music Lab is officially sponsoring Keychange. By Providing economic support for Italian artists and professionals, we ensure that they will continue to benefit from the training programme year after year.
In addition, Italia Music Lab signed the Keychange Pledge, in this way committing to transform and improve the current situation in the music industry where women and gender minorities are underrepresented in all countries. Concretely, Italia Music Lab pledges:
- to involve at least 50 percent of female contributors, panelists and staff from underrepresented genders;
- to encourage external juries to consider a fair representation of women or minorities in the evaluation process of calls for proposals;
- to boost the participation of gender minorities in our calls with the goal of reaching at least 50 percent female or underrepresented gender applicants. We will do this through targeted communication campaigns and analysis of data collected from research conducted for this purpose;
- to keep the advisory committee on gender equality created in 2021;
- to map female artists and professionals belonging to underrepresented genders.
Italia Music Lab is an institutional partner of Mission Diversity, a project promoted by Music Innovation Hub, Keychange and by PRS Foundation with the aim of fighting gender discrimination and enable equal professional opportunities within the music industry. The program supports 6 artistic projects every year, involving under-represented talents. Each project receives a scholarship worth € 12,000 for the development and the realization of a final audiovisual output. 3000€ will be given for the realization of a documentary that will be eventually promoted on the partnering communication channels and projected during the SDG Global Festival of Action, Campaign Festival of the United Nations.
Italia Music Lab and Equaly back to school thanks to ABITO, the civic education course promoted together with the City of Milan, Le Dimore del Quartetto, Fondazione Arnoldo e Alberto Mondadori, Triennale Milano Teatro and Museo teatrale alla Scala, with the support of Fondazione Eos-Edison Orizzonte Sociale.
With ABITO, the cultural institutions of the city of Milan come to school to propose a civic education course, accompanying the middle school students on their journey towards conscious, participatory citizenship that respects other people.
A feminist project which promotes the development of a society of equals.
The project promoted by Italia Music Lab and Equaly as part of ABITO is entitled Let’s party: having fun on the dance floor with respect of everyone. Within the spaces where people dance and party, such as clubs and festivals, there is a risk that people belonging to under-represented genders or cultures are discriminated or harassed, while the ”party” should be a space where everyone and everyone has fun without feeling unsafe, vulnerable, or uncomfortable.
Our advisory committee for diversity and inclusion
In March 2022 Italia Music Lab decided to start an advisory committee focused on diversity and inclusion. The Committee will help the Foundation in pursuing inclusiveness in all its activities, ranging from language and communication, to the development of specific support programmes.
The first member of the committee is Equaly, an Italian reality that deals with gender equality within the music business. Equaly is a community of artists (songwriters, performers, musicians, producers), staff members (sound engineers, tour managers, directors of production, press, promoter, a&r, legal, etc) and students who want to join their voice against gender discrimination. To date, it consists of almost 600 enrolled members, each of them offering its own contribution to grow personally and professionally. Equaly’s mission is to deconstruct gender stereotypes within the Italian music industry, create awareness, provide positive models, offer continuing education and networking support, and highlight women and people who identify with underrepresented genders.
The Committee will soon be joined by other organizations active against discrimination which will support and give advice to the Foundation on these issues.