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VIDEO: Dr. Stacy L. Smith keynotes at the 2018 Global Forum at Canadian Music Week

On May 10, the 2018 Global Forum took place at Canadian Music Week. The annual event, which Music Canada has been presenting for more than a decade, seeks to tackle the most pressing issues in the music industry with a global perspective. This year’s theme was Inclusivity and Accountability: Bringing Measurable Change for the Music Industry and discussions were focused on challenges, solutions, and actions to make the industry more reflective of, and accountable to, the wider community. This includes initiatives to improve representation of all gender identities, ethnicities and sexual orientations across the industry, and to ensure all community members have equitable access to performance and career development opportunities, funding programs, and more.

The forum’s keynote speaker was Dr. Stacy L. Smith of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, the leading think tank in the world studying issues of diversity and inequality in entertainment. Dr. Smith is at the forefront of inclusion in the film industry and pioneered the now viral concept of an “inclusion rider.” In 2018, the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative also began to study the music industry and published a preliminary report titled Inclusion in the Recording Studio? During her keynote, Dr.Smith discussed the group’s preliminary findings, next steps, and areas for further research. Watch the full keynote below.

Dr. Smith began with a warning: “I am going to depress you.” Though her keynote described an industry where women and underrepresented groups were sorely lacking in many areas, members of the music industry, and those in other creative fields, were not shocked by the statistics.

One clear feeling among guests was that it’s time for action. Guests were all encouraged by Music Canada to complete an “Inclusion Pledge” detailing a specific action they will take to improve inclusion in their own field. Dr. Smith commented early on how refreshing it was to work with an organization that is committed to ensuring everyone feels they belong. “It’s an honour to be here amongst a group that cares so deeply about this issue,” said Smith.

After thoroughly detailing the problems facing the industry with data and statistics, Dr. Smith concluded by stressing the need for action. “What’s more important I think than the numbers themselves, is the solutions that we will be rolling out based on the data,” she said. “What we plan to do, just like in television, film and digital, is to roll out practical solutions so that the needle will move quickly, so that everyone who has the talent has the ability to participate not only equitably, but in safe work environments, so that they might thrive.”

To keep up with the latest from the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, visit their website and follow them on Twitter. A selection of photos from the 2018 Global Forum is available on Music Canada’s facebook page.

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