The Ivors Academy has moved to improve diversity within the organisation and its awards.
The Academy’s Annual General Meeting on 13 August saw a series of announcements to create a new code of ethics and Ethic Committee to carefully review future and past award decision-making.
It was also announced that Paul Hartnoll and Stephen McNeff have stepped down from the Board ahead of elections in April 2021, to create space to increase diversity and representation.
The trade body’s draft twelve-point Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan aims that as a minimum its Board and Committees will have a 50 percent gender balance, 30 percent Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic representation, and 10 percent creators with disabilities, involvement of a minimum of one person aged under 25 and avoidance of London-centric representation.
Crispin Hunt, chair, The Ivors Academy, said: ‘I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to Paul Hartnoll and Stephen McNeff. They have contributed enormously to the Academy’s success and we are indebted to them. I’m hopeful that both will stay involved to advise and advocate for the Academy.
‘With the recent appointment of Hope Winter and Imogen Williams in a shared role as under-25 Directors, the Academy is making good progress towards having a Board that brings a fuller range of perspectives and experiences that represent our community of music creators, and drives us to be greater champions of equality. From September 2020 the number of Board Directors from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic heritage will increase three-fold to 20 percent overall. Our Board will be almost at gender parity, and we have representation of creators with disabilities and from under 25-year-old creators.
‘We are announcing today that our four Genre Committees will co-opt up to another two music creators to each Committee for the remaining term. They are encouraged to attract creators from diverse backgrounds to help us achieve gender parity, increase our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic representation, involve more members with disabilities and members from across the UK at all ages.’
A statement from The Ivors Academy Board said: ‘The Ivors Academy is a not-for-profit organisation formed of songwriters and composers. We have always been, and continue to be, proudly creator led. The breadth of our community gives weight and power to our campaigning, our awards and our industry. We are only successful if all are welcomed, feel safe, are supported, have a voice and are given the opportunity to fulfil their potential regardless of their background. Difference is good for society, embraced by the Academy and celebrated through our Awards.
‘For this reason, any statements of discrimination and intolerance made by Academy members or award winners affects us all, not just those who are targeted for prejudice or abuse. We adopt a generous and supportive outlook, fostering collaboration and growth, not division and hate. These are values our members must sign up to on joining our membership; they are also expectations we should have of our award winners in future.
‘The world is changing, and so is the Academy. We are part of the positive movement underway to address longstanding inequality, unfairness, prejudice, and injustice in society. This has been given heightened awareness from the death of George Floyd, Black Lives Matter and Covid-19. It extends to the music industry, where we have embraced the opportunity to campaign for fairer remuneration for our members and defence of their rights. We are taking action to become a more diverse, inclusive and relevant organisation so that we can better champion every creator, from every style and every background.’