Much Taboo About Nothing conforms to an arts-based research project as it was an original investigation set out to gain new knowledge by means of practice and the outcomes of the practice. The focus was through a creative process (in this case, musically focused) and on the work produced from this. The process of song writing workshops and a performance culminated in the ‘creative practice’ element of this project, followed by the research outcomes which derived from the process of the workshops and the show.
This project has shown that musicians with disabilities can perform and hold an identity as musicians in their own right, but importantly their disability is part of their unique identity as ‘musicians, with disabilities.’ As Kris said; ‘maybe we could make our own space and exist as disabled musicians as our own "scene" for want of a better word. Maybe that's optimistic, but I felt inspired by the show!’.
The more disabled people are able to access music programmes throughout their life and therefore allow an interest and passion for music to emerge, the more opportunities they can get to perform in society and build their identity in the industry. Meaning that less of a taboo and stigma will be around - allowing the main element; their skills, to be portrayed as the most important element, alongside their identity as a musician. Within the industry it is important that all aspects of a persons’ access requirements are met, this includes their physical access needs to enter a building for whatever means - rehearsal, recording, performance – as well as their wellbeing throughout. This aspect is done best when a conversation and relationship is built up between the artist and that of the venue or host.
Each individual presents themselves with their own challenges, and a conversation and openness in accepting these challenges, as not a hindrance but something that can be overcome, will give musicians with disabilities the best chance of gaining their right to be an artist, not as a side-line to abled-bodied musicians but as an equal.
Although this project found a number of barriers that musicians with disabilities face, and what support can be put in place, it was only a small project with a small number of artists involved. There are many other musicians in the sector that have a variety of disabilities. Therefore they will have their own barriers, so further research into this would be appropriate to collate more data and produce more research to make the industry more inclusive for disabled artists.
Much Taboo About Nothing set out to also break down the taboo around disability in society. This was done through stand-up comedy and the performers sharing their musical skills on stage. Although I believe this was successful, particularly from the artists responses themselves, responses from the audience was not collected throughout this project. In further research projects, collecting audiences perceptions would give more of an understanding into their view on disability and the arts and what may be the barriers around disability being a taboo subject.
Throughout Much Taboo About Nothing, each act was able to perform to the best of their ability, and share their music and message without any challenges. Our disabilities contribute to our musical lives and identity, but they don’t define us. Below is a show-reel that depicts the highlights of the show itself, and the main message that there is, ‘Much Taboo About Nothing’.