It’s turning out to be a year none of us expected and that will have an impact.
Will we have worked with less people this year than we projected? Probably.
Will we have worked with fewer environments? Maybe not, they will be different but probably not fewer.
Will we have worked in new ways? Yes.
Found out new things about ourselves and each other? Yes.
And, therefore, seen people and the music they create, grow and change? Definitely.
My favourite things about Zoom Music sessions:
I would never have voted for virtual group or one to one sessions. I have always felt that quality engagement happens when people are face to face – I was wrong.
Having found ourselves in a situation where virtual was the only option, we have all learnt some things, we have all grown, and we have created some extraordinary original music.
As lock-down eases, our sessions are now real, virtual or a blend of both. A session that includes both real and virtual participation brings a new set of challenges and opportunities. It will bring new music too.
Written by Jane Williams, Published by Dom Palfreman
The Turning Tides Project believes that everyone has the right to equal access to music, the arts and life.
We intend to make this right a reality for people with 'learning disability' or 'autism' labels in Devon. The Turning Tides Project is a Community Interest Company; a non-profit organisation. Our focus is on the work that we do and the difference that we make.
Principles of TTTP
We seek to demonstrate the application of a Social Model Approach in everything we do… and we don’t do anything unless we think it might be fun.
The support and development of an Equal Access Workforce is critical to the maintenance and development of a healthy TTP.
An excellent Workforce Development Approach is essential to any healthy organisation.
In January 2018 The Turning Tides Project (TTTP) began to map a workforce development route that would:
This is a brief summary of the work we’ve done so far, some links to the detail that you can now find on our web site and an invitation for you to get involved in what we do next.
People arrive with us from different places, with different knowledge, experience, different aspirations and backgrounds. If its equal access then it needs to be a route that can start anywhere. The route sets out a whole pathway from participant to CE, within TTTP or to a high profile position of national and international influence.
We strongly believe that in an #Inclusive environment, everyone is capable of anything they really want to do and are prepared to work hard to achieve. An Equal Access Workforce Development Approach supports the creation of that #inclusive environment
1. Starts from where people are
2. Looks at what they bring with them
3. Uses a reflective questionnaire to frame discussions about skills, knowledge and development needs
4. Provides an inventory of resources available to meet learning and development needs
5. Provides a critical appraisal of each resource, in terms of its support of or compatibility with taking a Social Model Approach.
The Turning Tides Project is explicit about its commitment to taking a Social Model Approach. It’s essential that the people who are part of TTTP understand what that means and demonstrate that understanding in every action they take: The healthy growth of TTTP is dependent upon that.
Our critical appraisal is not solely about the quality of the huge and growing range of learning and development resources available. It’s about whether those resources support or, at least, are compatible with a Social Model Approach by asking the questions that we think are critical to establishing that.
We are sure that the work we’re doing has a much wider relevance and applicability to the:
And the music specific component by starting here:
We’d welcome your involvement and your feedback
Do you have comments about the process we’ve defined or the tools we’ve developed?
Would you like to offer appraisals of resources not yet on our map, so we can add them?
Would you like to add more information or links to a resource we’ve appraised?
Do you want to tell us about a resource you offer?
Please get in touch:
Everything The Turning Tides Project does is open and inclusive.
We do what we do because we intend to make a difference.
If you would like to use any of our materials you are welcome to do so but please acknowledge TTTPs ownership.
See the change, be the change, make the change – thank you!
As recently promised, a further look into Tom's CME course and qualification as an Inclusive Practitioner.
We talked a lot about the course and Tom's views and experiences, and tried to shorten it down into 'Podcast-sized chunks'... we think we nearly achieved that, and involved the Tuesday Making Waves group and the Friday Music Session group in creating what we have recorded below.
There are a number of points, some of which are explored and revisited. Reflection is an important part of the work we deliver and are involved in - this is no exception.
Since having these conversations, Hugo has now begun his Inclusive Practitioner course!
Interviewers: Dominic Palfreman, Otis Butterfield, Lewis Rutley and Alix Mason
Interviewee: Tomas Burns
For the past year, I have been taking a course at Bristol Plays Music called ‘The Inclusive Practitioner' through which I gained a Certificate for Music Educators Level 4. I had been taking monthly trips to Bristol to attend sessions with a group of other people who came from from different musical backgrounds and a variety of working environments. It was very interesting to see how other people lead music session and one of the days in which we shared each others practise, by leading mini-workshops was very interesting.
Some of the other practitioners on the course could be labelled as ‘disabled’. BPM (Bristol Plays Music) made ‘reasonable adjustments’, such as giving audio descriptions when watching films and videos on course days, and providing an alternative Powerpoint, making the course more accessible. The coursework that we submitted did not have to be done as a written essay, but could be a film, an audio diary or other formats. This meant that the work submitted was multi-sensory and the use of written language was not necessary.
The course is aimed at music leaders as a resource to develop their skills as music leaders working with “disabled young people”. The course included looking into young people’s musical development as a major project within the course. I think this was particularly useful for me, as it informed some of the work that I have done with Turning Tides working in primary schools. However, I think that one way in which the course could be improved is by looking at the how older people develop musically. My work with the Turning Tides Project, is not only with young people, but with people of all ages.
I think one of the things that I learned from taking the course was to evaluate my work. As part of my coursework, I built up a personal portfolio and as a relatively inexperienced music leader, I found this very useful. This allowed me to reflect on my practise and find areas in which I could improve. One thing that came up that I find was an important area for me to improve was my confidence. I think that this is something that I have greatly improved on in the past year, but there is always room for improvement.
Written by Tom Burns, Published by Dom Palfreman
** There will be a follow up blog/vlog to this one, that takes a look at the course in further detail**
Let’s start off with what accessible means, Google says,
“accessible means a place which can be reached or entered”.
When I go to a new place I get really anxious as I do not know who the people are around me and I have never been to this certain place before. If I am with somebody that I trust then this makes going to new places and meeting new people easier.
Plans are important for me as they help me know what I am going to do or what to expect on the day. If plans change I prefer to know in advance so that I do not get myself in a state of panic.
Things become inaccessible when I’m confused about what is going on, as this makes me feel angry at the world and at myself. It is hard for me to communicate to people sometimes, so this makes day to day life harder as it is hard to see what I need.
I fully understand that sometimes it is hard to know what people’s needs are when they are emotional and not physical, but this means that people can ignore me and not give me the support I need because I am human. When I am able to do things to the fullest, I get really happy and I feel like I have a contribution to make.
The only thing that stands in my way of things being accessible, are society and other people.
Written by Abbie Morl, Published by Dom Palfreman
Written as part of assessing what makes Music Tech Qualifications inaccessible.
We knew that setting out to establish an Open Orchestra in a main stream school would lead to some questions and present some challenges. We think that both of those things are useful. Arguably, some young people who attend main stream school and receive learning support are as excluded, maybe even more excluded, from the opportunity to join an orchestra than those in "special schools". Some of the barriers are the same, some are different, but ultimately inclusion is inclusion and equal access is equal access.
Our first term has perhaps enabled us to formulate some questions:
What is an orchestra? What does being a member of that orchestra look like? What is an instrument? What is repertoire? What is original work? What is performance?
What is open? What is inclusive?
And maybe none of these questions have or need a right answer, maybe the answers should be open â maybe that is inclusion.
Some thoughts from the conversation Dominic, Tom and Lucy had with the group in this weekâs after-school session:
Whatâs an Orchestra?
A large collection of instrumentalists, bigger than a band, playing a selected piece. Having listened to a range of repertoire and been particularly interested in John Cageâs 4â3ââ ... maybe an orchestra is more than that, maybe it can extend to include "the audience" and people who arenât sat with an instrument.
Whatâs an instrument?
A thing that makes a sound that you can control.
Is Clarion an instrument?
What orchestral instruments would you like to include/ explore in our piece?
Violin, flute, trumpet, cello.
Pieces and ideas that got a positive reaction:
In the hall of the mountain king, James Bond â Dr. No, Supermario theme (could we orchestrate it?).
Could we change these sessions to happen during a school day?
No, if it was timetabled time yr 10-11 wouldnât be able to attend and if it was at lunch time it would only be 45mins and weâd have to skip lunch. After school means more people can chose to join in.
Weâre really pleased with how this is unfoldingâ¦ more to come next termâ¦
Written by Jane Williams, Published by Dom Palfreman
Inclusion is not a check-list of tick-box indicators or a job title.
Inclusion is a principle that runs through every moment, heart beat and decision.
Inclusion is not a one size fits all ‘Best Practise’ manual.
Inclusion is a respectfulness that encourages individual approaches.
Inclusion is not an assumption of expertise. Inclusion is an openness to listening.
Inclusion does not impose a pecking order of the disenfranchised. Inclusion includes everyone, equally.
Inclusion is not about individual reputation or status. Inclusion is about justice.
Who are the experts?
Witten byJane Williams, Published by Dom Palfreman
The Turning Tides Project is a Community Interest Company that aims to make equal access to music, the arts and life a reality for people with ‘learning disability ‘or’ autism’ labels.
The Turning Tides Project Equal Access to Music Programme is well under-way. We’ll be blogging about the ideas generated, experience gained, and questions raised by each Project within the Programme, as we go. So…
What is a ‘Family Jam’?
The Family Jam Bursary Scheme was developed as a response to our experience that sometimes the barrier that prevented disabled children and Young People learning an instrument was parental lack of confidence. This lack of confidence sometimes led to instruments having to stay in school (and therefore locked in a cupboard for most of the week) or in Young People not having the opportunity to access an instrument at all.
We decided that it would be a good idea to have a scheme that enabled us to offer the opportunity of supported, family music-making with the aim of building confidence and creating inclusive family environments where everyone could and did access music
We were right about that!
We didn’t need to worry about that. The year’s bursaries have all been allocated in the first 3 months. The concern now becomes how we’ll respond to the growing number of disabled Young People who would benefit from similar access.
It’s looking like we were right about that too. Most of the families we are working with will continue to be a part of The Turning Tides Project in other ways, once their Bursaries are spent. In addition, all the families have at least 1 family member who is eligible for Local Authority Support. Many of them would chose to have some or all of their ‘eligible needs’ met through equal access to music and all the opportunities that that access brings: The Bursaries provide a means of demonstrating that value to support requests for Health, Education and Social Care Funding.
All looks pretty much on track then…?
There’s always so much to learn. In this first year’s allocation what has been striking is the diversity of ‘Family’: A parent and son learning separately so that they can play together; A Young Person whose instrument lesson buddies are his Support Workers; whole family groups of children who are home schooled because they don’t ‘fit’ into either ‘ special ‘ or ‘mainstream ‘ educational environments; siblings who are exploring how they accommodate each other’s differences through collaborative music-making; Young people who live as a family in supported accommodation .
What we learn from these families will, as always, inform what we develop next.
The ‘families’ who’d like to share their musical journeys publicly each have a page on The Turning Tides Project Web site. You can follow their stories and hear their music here.
The Turning Tides Project believes that the way to achieve Equal Access is through the application of a Social Model Approach: easy to say, complex, exhausting, sometimes frustrating and often a lot of fun to demonstrate. Have a look at our web site and find out what we do, how we do it, why we use the language we use and why we think language matters. “Inclusion” is much more than a word. http://www.theturningtidesproject.org.uk/
Written by Jane Williams, Published by Dom Palfreman
A belief in all young people and a desire to support potential lies at the heart of everything The Turning Tides Project engages in. For many of the young people we spend time with, access to learning pathways are often conflicted. Carrying ‘learning disability’ or ‘autism’ labels and trying to fit into institutions, such as schools or colleges, within a society that is often not very accepting of difference, means that support towards future employment is often limited or interrupted.
A particular strand of the current Youth Music funded “Equal Access to Music” programme, looks at how young people with ‘learning disability’ or ‘autism’ labels access routes towards music technology qualifications. Whilst this is still early days for us in this area of the project, I am interested in exploring the questions that are surfacing along the way with a hope that I can get some help finding answers and seeking potential solutions.
Why, if many of the young people we are working with are interested in accessing music technology qualifications, are they not doing so?
School is the first place that supports qualification routes towards future aspirations for many young people. Many schools are now offering a more restrictive and narrow curriculum with a downgrading of subjects such as the arts and sports. Finances are restricted more than ever and this is having a detrimental effect on both resources and support.
I spend a large part of my week in schools making music with young people. I glimpse the battle that schools and teachers face supporting and educating young people in the current climate. I can see that schools are increasingly not a place where everyone can thrive.
The new GCSE structure seems to be more focussed on proving knowledge acquisition: levels, test based evidencing, less coursework. Young people who struggle with this way of engaging are excluded from the process of learning.
What does it say about society when we only cater to the needs of those who are able to achieve within an academic framework; or what the outcomes will be if we only value and expect everyone to learn the same facts?
Currently, Ofsted doesn’t reward schools for being inclusive. If schools remove, exclude, or simply don’t fully support children that aren’t meeting academic expectations because of their bearing on school results/league tables, large groups of young people are not having their aspirations supported in any kind of meaningful way.
Can schools ever be a place where everyone can thrive if they are relentlessly measured by their results?
Our current cycle of education places emphasis on the core subjects. From an increasingly young age, arts subjects are de-valued and squeezed out of the timetable. Yet, it’s interesting to note that within the health sector, doctors are doing more and more social prescribing to improve mental health outcomes (encouraging the joining of choirs, taking art classes etc.)
How can we value and support a learning journey that enables young people to experiment and develop their understanding and skills, whilst emphasising and celebrating the fact that we are all different?
I have been wondering if it is in our nature to compare, categorise and position ourselves. I wonder if the value placed on qualifications is inhibiting our progression towards learning in a meaningful rounded way. When qualification results are regarded as the most valuable outcomes, teachers become focussed on delivering a restrictive curriculum (top down initiatives from government) and students become conditioned to learn and absorb only those elements that will enable them to pass the qualification. Seeking knowledge, collaborating, taking risks or experimenting outside of what is deemed important, becomes a waste of time.
Whilst preparing for the world of work is certainly important, should we imagine that young people only engage in learning for vocational purposes? We often have to question if academic routes will match industry expectations and environments, but being involved in that discourse enables change. It is a human need to progress and build skills.
We are having to look closely at the concept of a special qualification for those that don’t fit the mould. It is hard to truly believe in the value or purpose of a qualification that is not recognised by society and employment.
In Further Education, where there are certain expectations for individuals to critically evaluate themselves and for independent research/enquiry, there are increasing discussions around Support and Authorship of young people’s work. We are also noticing, through our explorations into music technology qualification routes, that there may be issues that arise around delivery and support, and how the two ‘talk’ together. As subjects become more specialist, there is a need for delivery from people who work with and fully understand the application of the subject, however these people may not always be best placed to support young people with ‘learning disability’ or ‘autism’ labels.
Where are the positives arising from our investigations so far?
Opportunities are emerging for young people interested in Music technology. This year there are new types of vocational qualifications being offered through RSL and BTEC. How successful these will be, whilst there is still a cultural bias towards valuing more esteemed academic pathways, will be interesting to explore. I wonder how many schools and students will take up the offer. These courses will require teaching methods to be less prescriptive, more adaptive, and need lots of flexibility in order to choose modules and tailor courses which create unique pathways for individuals in response to their interests and strengths. Will current conditions in schools empower teachers to develop the really broad skillsets they themselves will need, or will they choose to teach modules that sit with their own strengths?
Access into work has the potential to change, both socially through accepting diversity in the kinds of people we feel we can work alongside, and academically, in terms of how learning happens. Working whilst completing qualifications that run alongside apprenticeships is becoming more common, as is learning structured by people working as specialists in their fields. Some graphic design studios are now using open university modules to write their own courses for apprentice’s qualifications.
Qualifications may well not be for everyone, but understanding that there is value in ‘difference’ is maybe just a first step towards encouraging a society that includes and values everyone.
Written byRachel Thame, Published byDom Palfreman
I was an Occupational Therapist long before I was a musician. I qualified when the predominant theoretical model for OTs, was medical. The Social Model provided the theoretical framework for my Master’s research 20 years ago. When I first attended the International Disability Studies Conference in Lancaster (as a PA for a disabled friend) I was puzzled by the anxiety of some of the speakers that the Social Model would be appropriated by non-disabled people. Surely, if taking a Social Model Approach was how we'd achieve inclusion, then the Model had to belong to everyone?
Now I think maybe I’m beginning to understand the concern.
When I first joined the Youth Music Network, a few years ago, I felt like a gate crasher. The language of The Arts and of Education is very different from that of Health and Social Care. The first thing I did was search ' Social Model of Disability’, and I found one post. Now there are loads. Is that a good thing?
I firmly believe that applying a Social Model Approach is how equal access for disabled people will be achieved, so why isn't my answer to that question a resounding 'Yes'?
It seems to have become desirable to claim to take a Social Model Approach and to be Inclusive, but are we? Do we really understand what that means?
Our values, attitudes and expectations are demonstrated through the way we behave and the things that we say:
Language is important
I was pleased to see Drake state their intention to move away from using the term SEN/D: it has no place in a Social Model Approach.
The Social Model defines 'disability' as created by society. People are 'disabled people', not ' people with disabilities'. 'Disability - led' and 'disabled-led' are presumably short hand for 'led by disabled people'? without the word 'people' are not terms I would use. Perhaps they have a meaning within the Arts and Music Education that I don’t’ understand but they are not, in my opinion, terms that reflect a Social Model Approach.
Within the context of a Social Model Approach terms used to define are chosen by the individual not ascribed by others. I doubt that individuals have chosen to be defined as ‘people with cognitive disabilities’ and ‘people with behavioural problems’.
‘Differently able’, whilst it may be acceptable to or even chosen by some individuals, begs the question ‘differently able compared to who?’ It has evolved from a definition of ‘disability’ as a disadvantage that belongs to an individual who is not ‘normal’. ‘differently able’ has a positive spin, so that’s good – but it’s not a term that is compatible with aSocial Model Approach.
Monitoring and Evaluation Processes and Systems are important.
Collecting impact data, within aSocial Model framework, has its challenges. If Young People don’t self-define as ‘disabled’ then‘inclusion’ has to be demonstrated through the telling of stories. A preference for qualitative data analysis still seems to be viewed as ‘soft’. So, I can see why systematically collecting data that defines and counts Young Disabled People by diagnostic label may appeal ... but it's not taking a Social Model Approach.
I know lots of Young People who have been given an ‘autism’ label. The only thing they all have in common is that they’ve been given an ‘autism’ label. Tidying them into a statistical category tells you nothing useful about their individual experiences.
‘Inclusion Strategies’ and ‘approaches to inclusion’.
If an organisation always uses accessible venues and facilities: takes a multi-sensory approach: employs people who are open, honest and respectful then ‘inclusion’ is the default position.
The Turning Tides project doesn’t, and never will, have an ‘inclusion strategy’: we aim to ensure that everything we do is open and inclusive. I’m sure we have much to learn, I’m sure we don’t’ always get it right. I’m confident we always question, reflect and learn from our experiences.
It's not mandatory to 'take a Social Model approach' but I can't imagine how we’ll achieve equal access without doing so...
Drake are publishing a useful set of Blogs that explore the way that ' disability' is understood within different theoretical frameworks. The Social Model of Disability Blog is a really good read : http://www.drakemusic.org/blog/nim/understanding-disability-part-5-the-social-model/
Who are the experts?
In any situation, interaction or communication everyone brings their own knowledge, skills and experience. Arguably, everyone brings some ‘expertise’ and no one is the ‘expert’.
There's been a huge increase in the attention given to the issues that limit disabled peoples' access to music and its opportunities. It’s exciting to have reached a point where, together, we could make a big difference. An open and ongoing conversation about how we make sure that potential is realised and how we ensure that our values, attitudes and expectations are accurately represented in our language, systems, processes and strategies would be brilliant.
Written by Jane Williams, Published by Dom Palfreman