Researcher & Youth Voice Ambassador

ReWired Summit 2015 - Photo courtesy of James Keates: www.jk-photography.net/
ReWired Summit 2015 - Photo courtesy of James Keates: www.jk-photography.net/

 

Since October 2014,  Siân has been working for music education charity Sound Connections and is currently working with the organisation as a freelance Researcher and youth voice Ambassador, having worked for them full time as their Programme Assistant prior to commencing studies at GSMD. 

Siân first became a Research Apprentice for Sound Connections in November 2014 and was subsequently asked to lead on a research project surrounding national youth voice within music (see below for more on the 'ReWired project'). Other past research projects for Sound Connections have included youth voice consultations for the English Folk Dance & Song Society, research for the creation of a singing strategy for Essex Music Education Hub, youth voice work with LA Philharmonic and Barbican Guildhall and more recently a report representing young people's views  on the proposed implementation of the English Baccalaureate, which was referenced in Parliament at the most recent EBacc debate on 4th July 2016. Siân has also worked as a Research Intern for the National Opera Studio, building on their alumni research and commencing a project looking into young artist programme audition processes. Recent work with Sound Connections includes a piece of consultation with Islington Council and Arts First, mapping musical activity across the borough and research around WCET training for conservatoire students.  

ReWired

Photo courtesy of Sound Connections: www.sound-connections.org.uk
Photo courtesy of Sound Connections: www.sound-connections.org.uk

In taking on the role of Sound Connections Research Apprentice in November 2014, I led on a year-long research project surrounding national youth voice within music; 'ReWired'. We set out to learn more about Youth Voice in the country’s music education organisations. We launched the ReWired national survey in February 2015 to gather information about existing youth voice activities in music education across England for the first time. This culminated in a National Youth Voice Summit which took place at Roundhouse on 16th July 2015. As well as coordinating this event, I acted as host for the day and presented my research findings to a group of delegates including staff and young people representing music hubs/services, strategic music organisations and arts funders such as ACE and Youth Music.  All findings and resources are now hosted on the ReWired website, a place created in the hope that we can kick-start a bigger debate about youth voice, and raise its profile for organisations working musically with young people. Reports and other resources that my research produced can be found here.

Advocacy

Photo courtesy of Sound Connections: www.sound-connections.org.uk
Photo courtesy of Sound Connections: www.sound-connections.org.uk

In light of the government’s open consultation on implementing the English Baccalaureate (EBacc), Wired4Music – the young Londoner’s music network hosted by Sound Connections – felt it was imperative to hear from as many people aged 25 and under about whether they think that studying music at school is important and why, and to ensure that their voices were heard. In a decision that could potentially leave little room for music and the arts within the national curriculum, it is crucial that the government hears from those who this change will affect directly.  Wired4Music cast the net far and wide sharing a short survey, which gathered 138 responses from those who felt that their opinions needed to be heard and considered in the making of this decision. I compiled a report on behalf of Wired4Music, outlining the various themes in the responses gathered. This report was referenced in Parliament at the most recent EBacc debate on 4th July 2016. Read the full consultation response here. This report was also shared as part of the Bacc for the Future campaign.

Ambassador

Rising Futures 2015 - Photo courtesy of Michael O'Connor: www.nifty50films.com/
Rising Futures 2015 - Photo courtesy of Michael O'Connor: www.nifty50films.com/

As a part of my role as a youth voice Ambassador for Sound Connections and Wired4Music, I have had the privilege of talking and presenting at national conferences and youth led events about the importance of youth voice within music, as well as co-facilitating focus groups for young people and training sessions for professionals working with young people in musical settings.  I have sat on panel discussions providing a youth perspective on issues within music education at conferences including Musical Futures' Music Learning Revolution 2015, The Garage's New Horizons 2016 and Wired4Music's youth-produced event Rising Futures at Camden's Roundhouse in 2013, 2014 and 2015. I have co-facilitated youth voice sessions for organisations such as National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, SoundCity: Brighton & Hove Music Hub, Make Music Gloucestershire and most recently a collaboration between Barbican Guildhall and LA Philharmonic.