On the 8th February a 90 minute debate took place in Westminster Hall after a petition with nearly 283,000 signatures called for visa free travel for artists and technicians in Europe. MPs from across the political spectrum spoke up for musicians who are being hit with additional costs and bureaucracy to work in the EU.
It appears that visa free travel for musicians and their touring crew wasn’t included in the Brexit agreement because when the UK Government suggested this, the EU wanted a broader agreement which covered several sectors. The UK government wasn’t prepared to accept this.
Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage spoke on behalf of the Government at the debate and said that their original offer to the EU was still on the table if the EU would like to reconsider it. In addition, she has set up a working group regarding the issue, which includes the Musicians Union General Secretary Horace Trubridge, and since the debate has made a commitment to work with music organizations to find workable solutions. The government has also indicated that it intends to begin discussions with key EU Member states in the next few weeks to discuss issues regarding work permits.
bringing instruments on tour
One welcome piece of news is that Minister Dinenage has now confirmed that an ‘oral declaration’ can be made by musicians who are traveling with portable musical instruments and a carnet will not be needed. However, if musicians are transporting instruments or equipment by car, van or truck, they will need a carnet. The MU has secured discounts with two carnet providers, further details of which can be found here.
what you can do
In the meantime you can find out how you can take action to support work permit free travel here.
To celebrate International Women’s Day we want to share some of the amazing women we’ve welcomed on the Music Works podcast.
Our first guest was one of Polyphony Arts’s own composers: Ella JarmanPinto, talking about inclusivity & the creative process and her own podcast Beyond the Chameleon. You can hear Ella’s episode for Music Works here: (Music Works fact: Ella composed the podcast theme music.)
Ella came back later in the season for an open and honest discussion with Katie ranging from periods to parenting and what it means to be female in the music business. You can find this conversation here.
Pianist, composer & audio-visual artist Nina Danon spoke in her episode about finding supportive spaces as a female composer & performer & developing her creative practice as a woman & a parent.
We carried on Ella’s exploration of diversity in the music with Elizabeth de Brito of The Daffodil Perspective on tokenism and the wealth of female, black, Asian, and ethnically diverse composers who otherwise go overlooked and almost unheard, and why we need to radically rethink programming if we want to make classical music truly representative – listen here.
CEO & co-founder of SWAP_ra – Supporting Women and Parents in Opera, director, Sophie Gilpin gave us the lowdown on why we need better working structures for women in music – you can listen to Sophie here.
Hannah Fiddy of Alternative Classical has always been a true ally and a real champon of women and minorities in the music business. (See what she had to say about Katie and Polyphony Arts today. ) She talked to us here about producing concerts in non-traditional settings and how the future requires a radical rethink of the conventions of the classical music performance.
We’ll be posting more about the amazing women we’ve welcomed on the Music Works podcast over the next few days so keep checking back for the Music Works International Women’s Day Hall of Feminist Fame!