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Sage Gateshead presents online conference on Youth Voice and Inclusive Music Education

This is the fourth event in the venue's series of mini conferences for Music Leaders, music teachers, project workers and musicians working with children and young people experiencing challenging circumstances

Sage Gateshead’s MC² mini-conference takes place on 26 March and will explore different approaches and solutions for embedding youth voice in a range of contexts. The event includes presentations, workshops and a panel discussion focussing on Youth Voice and Inclusive Music Education.

A keynote from artist and Music Leader Esther Lenda Bokuma will examine the importance of placing youth voice at the heart of organisational practice and share thoughts about how the role of the Music Leader as the young person shapes their own experience.

Music leader and Goldsmith’s lecturer Graham Dowdall will look at the theory that underpins good practice in relation to youth voice and inclusive musical learning – exploring how to work with young people in productive and positive ways.

Young people who work with Great North Children’s Hospital will lead on a practical session looking at how organisations can shift decision-making and power highlighting the positive change this can bring about.

The event will finish with a panel discussion where contributors will respond to questions collected through the event.

Hannah Taylor, CoMusica Inclusion Training Manager at Sage Gateshead, said: ‘MC2 is a series of mini conferences which open up conversations around inclusive practice and spreads the word about how important and beneficial it is. In the coming session we will explore Youth Voice and hear from organisations who have already embedded it in their practice and the benefits they are experiencing from this.

‘We can learn a huge amount from including youth voice in our organisations but to do this, children and young people must be part of the process and our strategic planning, and help inform decision making. Over the three hours of MC2 we’ll have access to those with direct experience and varying perspectives sharing their insights, advice and learnings to give us all practical ways to improve our practice.’

Esther Lenda Bokuma said: ‘The young people of today will most certainly be the future leaders of tomorrow, and I believe that our job as leaders in our respective fields is to embrace their thoughts, feelings, ideas and aspirations, and integrate that into the curricula that we teach them. As every industry from technology to finance, fashion, music and beyond evolves using user-generated data and innovative ideas, the music education sector must also follow suit. The current climate and an event like this is not only timely, but also presents the perfect opportunity to open up these conversations around embedding youth voice into the heart of Inclusive Music Education.’

Graham Dowdall said: ‘In order to really engage young people meaningfully in music making and to access the incredible benefits that can bring, especially for those facing disadvantage, we need to tailor our activities to meet their aspirations, tastes and accommodate their needs. This means we have to listen to the young people and create negotiated curriculums that meet them halfway.

‘For too long education has been something done to young people – not with them – and at the moment as we are trying to make music education more inclusive and more diverse it also needs to become more representative of the cultures, musics and views of the people we work with. Many young people have been further excluded by the events of the last year and it is really time to reach out to invite young people to be part of the conversation about how we move forward and to give them a voice in their own futures.’

Information and bookings

  • Date and time: Friday 26 March 2021, 1.00–4.00pm on Zoom
  • For more information, please click here. Places are limited so advanced booking is essential
  • Cost: £12.50 (20% discount for music hub staff and music teachers, Youth Music funded organisations and students)