Launched by Tom Gray, Chair of The Ivors Academy, at the organisation’s 78th Annual General Meeting held virtually and attended by its songwriter and composer members, he said, “The Ivors Academy doesn’t just talk about creating an inclusive and equitable music industry. Through the Advocacy Accelerator, our new diploma – TheWRD – which begins later this month and our creative development and leadership initiatives, we are taking positive action for change.”
Led by Orphy Robinson MBE and Ayanna Witter-Johnson, the two-year Advocacy Accelerator will provide experience as an Academy Board Director, support through mentoring, shadowing at music industry meetings and training about how the industry is structured and works.
One of the successes from 2021 focused on by Gray and CEO Graham Davies at the AGM is increased diversity on the Academy’s Board and Member Senate over the past year. The Board is now over 70% female, up from less than 25% only four years ago. The Academy’s Senate is 40% Black, Asian or ethnically diverse, 13% have a disability and there is strong representation from across the UK.
Composer, songwriter and musician Ayanna Witter-Johnson said, “To create a positive and equitable music industry that addresses historic injustices and power imbalances, we need a greater range of views and voices in boardrooms. I’m proud to be part of the Academy’s work to accelerate the change that we need in building long-lasting outcomes, not temporary solutions.”
Jazz composer and instrumentalist Orphy Robinson MBE said, “When I look at the music industry, how it behaves and who gets to have a say at the top, I do see more widespread acknowledgement that there are still historic imbalances and opaque caveats to be addressed and remedied. The evidence shows that universally change needs to happen, this can only really be achieved when more diverse voices are included in decision-making processes that will affect their careers, livelihood, and practices. Too many music creators still feel shut out, silenced and their voices not represented. This programme is one part of a necessary push to put those writers and creators at the centre of the industry.”
The AGM reflected that while Covid had brought a serious challenge to the Academy’s financial stability, the organisation had weathered this storm effectively and in so doing had grown in confidence and strength. Graham Davies said, “Over the last five years we have worked to establish The Ivors Academy as a strong, capable, confident and ambitious organisation. Over the next five years we will deliver songwriter and composer recognition on a global scale.”