Aikama Music

Cultivating Sur – Youth Music Case Study

Aikama Music

Overcoming Challenges and Celebrating Transformations: Cultivating Sur Case Study

Cultivating Sur embarked on a pioneering journey to empower LGBTQI+ youth through music, aiming to foster talent development, build leadership skills, and promote resilience. However, this ambitious endeavour was not without its challenges. This case study delves into the obstacles faced and the innovative solutions employed, highlighting the program’s resilience and impact.

Challenges Faced:

  1. Creative Recruitment:
    • Initial recruitment efforts targeting private LGBTQI+ friendship sessions yielded limited interest despite e-flyers and graphics. This necessitated a shift towards more engaging strategies.
    • Solution: Organising a social event with partners where the DJ tutor showcased music and encouraged participation proved effective in generating interest. This highlighted the importance of creating fun and interactive recruitment environments.
  2. Inclusivity and Support for Neurodiverse Participants:
    • One young composer on the autism spectrum, presented unique challenges in terms of engagement and support. Her introverted nature and emotional sensitivity required tailored approaches.
    • Solution: Adapting workshop delivery methods and offering offline support allowed them participate comfortably. Additionally, providing a small commissioning pot empowered them to pursue their own project, supported by compassionate tutors who helped navigate their emotional journey.
  3. COVID-19 Disruption:
    • The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted plans to present Cultivating Sur’s work at BEAM, a prestigious musical showcase.
    • Solution: Despite the cancellation, the team adapted swiftly by presenting a video showcasing the participants’ achievements, ensuring their voices were still heard despite the challenging circumstances.

Impact and Triumphs:

  1. Talent Development and Inclusivity:
    • Despite challenges, Cultivating Sur succeeded in nurturing talent and promoting inclusivity, breaking stereotypes in the music industry and providing a platform for LGBTQI+ voices to thrive.
    • The program’s focus on adapting to the needs of diverse participants, including those with neurodiversity, exemplifies its commitment to fostering a supportive and inclusive environment.
  2. Resilience and Adaptability:
    • By overcoming recruitment hurdles and navigating the complexities of supporting neurodiverse participants, Cultivating Sur demonstrated resilience and adaptability in the face of adversity.
    • The team’s ability to pivot in response to the COVID-19 pandemic underscored their commitment to empowering LGBTQI+ youth, ensuring continuity despite external challenges.

By addressing challenges with creativity and compassion, the program has not only empowered LGBTQI+ youth but we believe it has started to pave the way for greater inclusivity and diversity in the music industry. Without talent development initiatives that prioritize inclusivity, resilience, and innovation, there will remain barriers for young people to have opportunities to develop in music.

Note: The insights and reflections shared in this blog are based on the evaluation report of our South Asian music programme Cultivating Sur. Names and specific details have been omitted to uphold participant privacy working with vulnerable young adults. The essence and learnings of our journey remain intact.

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