Gareth is Senior Producer - Music at Carousel in Brighton. Carousel work alongside learning disabled musicians and bands, supporting their development as artists, as well as their progress as career musicians.
What challenges was Carousel set up to address?
There are many aspects of being a musician which can cause anxieties: the importance of being able to communicate with a variety of different people, the need to represent yourself confidently in different settings, having to deal with rushed or delayed timings. More often than not, these things are more challenging for learning disabled people. There are also additional and more complicated practical considerations for learning disabled artists to work through: coordinating support schedules to fit with touring, accessing/using online platforms for promotion, and receiving payment for shows, to name a few.
Carousel make every effort to make sure artists lead their work but are there to ‘fill in’ where additional support is needed. We try to ensure learning disabled artists can navigate barriers that would prevent them accessing opportunities, especially within the music industry.
What advice would you pass on to music business organisations wanting to make change?
Our role is not always understood by music industry or media. I think it is in part due to a lack of understanding within the industry, something that in our experience is being addressed in many areas. I think also, because each artist we work with has different support needs, our role is forever changing and so it isn’t always easy for us to define ourselves in industry-friendly terms.