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Publication Detail
Visually-impaired musicians, community music and the "disability arts" scene
  • Publication Type:
    Chapter
  • Authors:
    Baker DC, Green L
  • Publisher:
    Oxford University Press
  • Editors:
    Higgins L,Bartleet BL
  • Status:
    Accepted
  • Book title:
    Oxford Handbook of Community Music
Abstract
This chapter reports on a multifaceted “disability arts scene” in music worldwide, which comprises visually-impaired (blind and partially sighted) instrumentalists, singers, composers, producers and others across a range of musical styles and genres. Some such musicians work alone but are usually deeply involved in networks. Others join ensembles which can be made up of musicians with a range of disabilities including visual impairments; or consist entirely of visually-impaired people. When forging their careers, some visually impaired musicians draw on the history and traditions of the blind in music across the world, and thus lore concerning special dispensations in the absence of sight. Yet there are others musicians who distance themselves from that self-identity. The chapter explores how members of this quite unique socio-musical group consider the aforesaid “scene” and how their interpretations correspond or clash with key matters of accessibility, independent mobility, marketability, musical approach and media, notions of discrimination, the labour market and social inclusion. The voices presented here come from a wider project “Visually-impaired musicians’ lives” led at the UCL Institute of Education, London (2013–15) and funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council. This was supported by the Royal National Institute of Blind People and the Royal Academy of Music, London.
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