How artists can advocate for accessibility – lyricist Gailin Leah – Spotify for Artists

Accessibility is one of the most neglected issues in the music industry, from a disabled trip to discussions about inclusion. About 15% of the world’s population, Or about a Billion People live with some form of disability, and disabled artists and music lovers often find themselves without the necessary access to music venues and events. While the conversations around accessibility continue to get louder, there is still a lot of work to be done to get to a place where everyone can enjoy a live music experience or feel part of the art or their music community.

Gailin Leah He is a lyricist, violinist, and public speaker from Minnesota who was born with osteogenesis imperfecta (also known as brittle bone disease). He has been in a wheelchair since he was a child, has had difficulty traveling with a disability, and has something to say about it – he currently writes a memoir about a disabled lawyer and spends his time around the world. He told us to imagine how quickly change could happen if all artists শু just disabled people দাবি demanded equal accessibility to the music industry. Here’s how you can help.

Photo by Gailin Lea courtesy of Evraglo Media

Photo by Gailin Lea courtesy of Evraglo Media

Space accessibility.

The biggest barriers to accessibility on the road and in the industry, Leah said, exist in venues. In the United States, where venues are required for the American With Disabilities Act (ADA), by law, accessible, problems still remain. In other countries where those laws do not exist, this is a bigger problem.

“The biggest obstacle on that path is the bathroom and the entrance, but then as an actor, the extra obstacle becomes the stage,” Lee said. “It’s the most obvious.”

Accessibility to entrances and stages can often be fixed by a portable ramp, so requesting ahead of time is one way to make sure you have a venue for a show available for your show disabled.

Of course, there are many types of disabilities. For deaf music fans, ASL Interpreter Provide a way to enjoy a show more fully. These can be expensive, but if you have the resources, an ASL interpreter can add a whole new dimension to the live experience.

Finally, Leah says the biggest task in ensuring that the places that artists play are accessible is to include accessibility information in all their promotions for the show.

“If it’s accessible, make sure people know,” Leah said. “And if you want to go up and out, like a song sheet or special seating for people – which is a great thing for a chronic illness that can’t stand – just say, ‘If you need any accommodation, just email this address . ‘And then try to deal with the requests you can get. Probably not going to be a million, but if someone can come because you said you were willing to adjust, that’s better.

Street life.

There are more subtle barriers to equal accessibility. While many artists think of traveling life as driving a few hours a day and crashing to the floor, it’s not actually an option for artists with mobility problems. Leah says it would be a dream to have a network that provides accessible places for artists to stay, but until that idea turns into an app (do it!), Perhaps contact local places that are friendly and allow you to know that Whether you are able to provide an accessible place to stay with other artists traveling in your city.

“The reality is that it’s hard for me to tour at the moment which is for some people who aren’t thinking about accessibility, but it won’t get any better,” Leah said. “If people collectively are a little more involved in this, if all the artists care about it, it won’t take long. I don’t think it will take as long as it would if it were just me and any other disabled artist. So it really commits itself to a bigger reason than a technical one of accessibility. It is committed to yourself because you care about human rights and deserve access to all citizens.

Where can I get on board? How can I get more involved?

Leah says that in addition to educating yourself, the diversity of the news you read and follow on social media can help deepen your understanding of your disability rights and broaden the conversation. All of this increases the ability to be an advocate in all areas, which logically increases representation on industry panels and affects people with disabilities such as day-to-day awareness of human rights issues.

“Think of disability as diversity,” Leah says. “Whenever you are planning an event where you have a panelist or a group of teachers, try to think about representing the disabled in the group you are working in, and if it is not represented, try to find qualified people who can help. May expand the dialogue. ”

Leah added that there are some organizations that can help you solve the problems faced by people with disabilities, especially in the arts. Everything in expression, UK-based, a disability-led charity committed to improving the access of deaf and disabled people to live music that recently launched a program to learn about access barriers for disabled artists and is available in the United States VSA, An international organization for the arts and disability.

“The problem with disability is that I don’t think there is any education that is really immersed in mass consciousness,” Lee said. “I think many of us are a little more aware of gender politics, racism, women’s rights and civil rights. We have some basic understanding, but that doesn’t mean we know everything, and we certainly have room to do better in all of those cases. But the concept of disability is not on the radar in a really meaningful way. If you read history, you will become much more excited. ”

What does a fully accessible music industry look like?

A fully accessible music industry, Lea says, is much more than just removing barriers. “It recognizes that all different groups, including people with disabilities, actually have something to offer as a cultural gift to society.”

What does this really mean? First, it is a music industry that considers all kinds of disabilities. On a wider scale, it seems like the inclusion of disability as a diversity in all fields, such as radio play, who is being written about in music media, who is working with record labels, and booking agents who are in charge of booking tours for disabled artists. As an artist, you have some powers here – you can diversify your roster with your label, omit names during interviews, and ask your booking agent to book you only in accessible places.

And to broaden the feeling, it’s important to take the disabled community as essential to cultural dialogue, Leah says, as opposed to including it in events in the interests of diversity: “Look at it this way, ‘ Terrible things and celebrating it instead of including it by default.


Before Leah started acting, she had never seen an artist with a disability visible on stage. When he saw Wheelchair Sports Camp হ the moniker of hip-hop artist Colin Heffernan-it made him proud. “It’s not that we’re all the same, but you realize,‘ someone like me, who has gone through a similar experience to me, is doing their job there, ’and it’s really worth seeing,” Leah said.

As an artist, you are in a special position to develop topics for the next group of artists who will expand the cultural dialogue. The impact on young people is that seeing others like them in empowering creative roles can go a long way in building a good music community. So book disabled artists, be a cheerleader for their work and encourage your community and teams to get on board.

“I did shows where people later said, ‘You know, all my years I’ve realized I’ve never seen someone like me on stage and it’s great to see,'” Leah said. “It simply came to our notice then. And in some ways I want to make it even more so for the next generation. I see little kids with disabilities on my show and I just want them to be able to do what I’m doing without my headaches. It’s – I’m not lying – it’s a lot harder at the moment and it shouldn’t be that hard. I want them to know: ‘I can do it.’ ‘

For more advice on how to become an advocate for people with disabilities, see Gailin’s website.

-Matt Williams

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