Woman with shoulder length brownish grey hair smiling wearing a brown smock dress while sat in an armchair by a window
Katherine Zeserson from Britten Pears Arts Think Tank to facilitate PMZ’s new Think Tank  

Plymouth Music is to hold the first regional Think Tank to support an emerging national campaign seeking to challenge the music industry to secure “wellbeing equity” for musicians.

In August this year, PMZ’s Chief Executive, Debbie Geraghty, was invited to contribute to a national Think Tank convened by the pioneering arts and heritage charity, Britten Pears Arts. The Think Tank was entitled “Musicians Matter” and was facilitated by the leading strategic adviser and consultant, Katherine Zeserson. The aim of the Think Tank was to bring together key organisations and thinkers to ask how as a sector we could embed wellbeing and workplace support for musicians and build greater empowerment across the board. It also set out to identify what is needed in terms of advocacy in order to gain ground and to consider how we might work together to make this happen. What emerged from this was a vision to create a national campaign to ensure “wellbeing equity” for musicians.

The “Musicians Matter” Think Tank included:

  • Facilitator Katherine Zeserson
  • Nina Swann (Executive Director Live Music Now)
  • Dr Anna Detari (Royal College of Music, Centre for Performance Science)
  • Jo Laverty (National Organiser Orchestras, Musicians Union)
  • Claire Cordeaux (CEO British Association for Performing Arts Medicine)
  • Janine Irons (Co-Founder and Chief Executive, Tomorrow’s Warriors)
  • Laurie Oliva (Director of Musicians’ Services, Help Musicians)
  • Debbie Geraghty (Chief Executive, Plymouth Music Zone)
  • Carol Leeming MBE (Black Lives in Music)
  • Dena Oxley (Psychotherapeutic Counsellor)
  • Cassie October Raine (Co-CEO and Executive Director, Parents and Carers in Performing Arts
  • Angie Lee-Foster (Producer for Creative Health, Britten Pears Arts)

This resulted in a diverse range of perspectives that can be heard at the link below. They have since been published in an Executive Summary which can also be downloaded here. 


Key outcomes, as reported by the national Think Tank:

“Musicians’ wellbeing is intrinsically bound up with questions of equity and social justice. Despite pockets of inspiring progress, we see a distressing lack of common cause on these vital topics across music in the UK. We need to come together across the multiple sectors that make up this industry – music education, publishing, the commercial sector, the subsidised sector, community music, creative health and more – to commit to musician wellbeing, to identify and replicate good practice in wellbeing equity, invest in musicians’ wellbeing. We see potential to build an alliance-based campaign based on a commitment model through which institutions and individuals would pledge to ensure the wellbeing equity (welfare and wellbeing) of musicians they work with, employ or commission. From attitude change we aim to inspire behaviour change – by coming together as an industry, we believe we can help all musicians to flourish”.

Plymouth Music Zone has since been invited to join the national Working Group to explore how to drive the campaign forward. The charity is considered a model of best practice in the area of wellbeing equity for musicians and will now be holding the first regional Think Tank of its kind to directly build on this important national development. This new “Wellbeing Equity for Musicians” Think Tank will create an opportunity to respond directly to these initial findings by convening this follow up Think Tank in the South West.  

PMZ has secured a small amount of funding from Arts Council of England and the national charity, Youth Music, and would be the first example of a regional organisation taking the lead to congregate in terms of modelling action within this emerging national agenda. We strongly wish to generate momentum for further regional conversations in what seeks to become an alliance-based campaign and national movement being catalysed by Britten Pears Arts.

Below is a video of the facilitator Katherine Zeserson speaking on some of the themes that arose out of the recent “Musicians Matter” Think Tank at Britten Pears Arts. Katherine will be facilitating our new “Wellbeing Equity for Musicians” Think Tank on 2 Nov at Plymouth Music Zone.  We will be inviting leading organisations and thinkers from across the South West to dovetail directly with this key national agenda.