In June 2017, the BSO embarked on an unprecedented and ground-breaking 18-month programme to make the Orchestra more accessible and inclusive. Called the BSO Change Makers programme, it responded to the fact that disabled people (who make up on fifth of the UK population) are considerably under-represented in the arts workforce.

The programme was designed to improve prospects for the next generation of disabled talent and ran in three parts:

A training placement for conductor James Rose, the BSO’s ‘change maker’, an inspirational talent.
The creation of BSO Resound, the world’s first professional disabled-led ensemble, who gave their first performance at the BBC Proms in 2018.
A series of staff training and initiatives to ensure that everyone throughout the organisation was involved.

5 key principles to improve inclusion of disabled talent in your organisation

An extensive report summarising the 18-month journey of organisational change was compiled by Sound Connections, a leading strategic music charity specialising in inclusion and accessibility.

The report is now available and outlines 5 key principles that enabled success for the BSO:

• The social model of disability is central
• Everyone is involved
• Senior leaders and trustees drive the change
• The highest artistic standards and quality are expected and maintained
• Opportunities for disabled people are created within every aspect of an organisation’s work

A set of behaviours and attitudes, such as acknowledging that inclusion is not a project, and adopting a growth mindset approach, helped embed the 5 key principles.

The BSO Programme for Cultural Change

As a result of the learning from its Change Makers programme, the BSO is calling other organisations to act and is offering its support through the new BSO Programme for Cultural Change.

Contact Lisa Tregale to learn more about the BSO Programme for Cultural Change

Click here to access the BSO Change Makers report

“Putting inclusion at the heart of the orchestra has been transformative. Embracing the small every-day things that over time lead to systemic change has brought us closer to the society which we are here to represent and whose lives we enrich through our music. It has changed the way we look at our Company, our Art, our Audience and our role in the world. It is the most exciting and rewarding thing imaginable to lead such change.”
Dougie Scarfe, Chief Executive, BSO