Strengthening Music in Society is a conference taking place on 16 December 2021, hosted and convened by the Institute for Social Impact Research in the Performing Arts at Guildhall School of Music & Drama in association with Conservatoires UK (CUK), the Association Européenne des Conservatoires, Académies de Musique et Musikhochschulen (AEC) and SEMPRE.

This promises to be a key moment for the sector to come together – in the context of the challenges posed by Brexit and Covid19, and in response to global social justice movements such as Black Lives Matter and #MeToo – to ask fundamental questions about our purpose and identity, to take stock and to set new progressive and inclusive directions which support performance excellence and the relevance and impact of our work within 21st century society.

The conference will take as its starting point the AEC-commissioned review article written by Professor Helena Gaunt, Principal of the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, which highlights the main themes that have emerged from the international four-year AEC project ‘Strengthening Music in Society’. Helena’s opening keynote will draw out implications of these themes for the UK in particular, to which six invited respondents from across the sector will provide critical perspectives, followed by a Q&A session. The day will be chaired and facilitated by Jess Gillam MBE, award-winning saxophonist, broadcaster and Guildhall School alumna.

The morning plenary session (10:00 – 13:00 UK time) will be publicly available via a livestream link, for which registration is required.