Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Event Report: Occupational Health in the Performing Arts Industry – The Original Gig Economy

Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

Health in the performing arts industry – whose responsibility?

Every year BAPAM helps with hundreds of inquiries about health problems related to working in the performing arts. These include musculoskeletal problems caused by strain and intensive use of parts of the body, vocal health issues which need specialist diagnosis and treatment, psychosocial problems including performance anxiety, stress related to the uncertain nature of the work (82% of the workforce are freelance) and more complex and enduring mental health conditions as well as hearing health problems. Performers, in common with other freelancers, tend to ignore health problems and seek help at a very late stage.  The research shows that, at any one time, 75% of performers will have a health problem.

We were delighted when the Royal Society of Medicine chose to partner with BAPAM on a professional development event held on March 27, 2019 to consider occupational health in the performing arts sector and its relationship to the wider ‘gig economy’. We were lucky to have a stellar line up of speakers from the arts, academic and clinical worlds to provide a range of perspectives on this question.

Kicking off the conference, Jane Dyball, former CEO of the Music Publishers Association outlined the complexity of the industry and the relationship of an artist to industry bodies at different times of their career. In the early stages, the artist may be very dependent on promoters, venues, managers, but that relationship changes when they are successful so that those bodies are dependent on the artist for their own success.

Dr. Colin Thomas, Chief Medical Officer of the BBC, added to the picture as he described the plethora of jobs undertaken by freelancers in broadcasting and the difficult balance between their tax status as self-employed workers and the duty of care issues that organisations owe to both employees and freelancers.

Zeb Soanes, BBC Radio 4 broadcaster and BAPAM Patron, described the moment when he suffered paralysis of one of his vocal cords and his journey back to full health and employment. He spoke with courage of the isolation and anxiety of losing your identity and the difficulties of accessing the right care in this very specialist area.

Professor Aaron Williamon of the Royal College of Music’s Centre for Performance Science, described results from recent research which demonstrated the lack of general fitness, particularly amongst student musicians.

In the afternoon we heard examples of good practice from Peter Garden of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Professor Emma Redding, Head of Dance Science at Trinity Laban. Peter outlined Liverpool Philharmonic’s approach to developing and supporting performance excellence through providing health and wellbeing services to orchestra musicians. He and the Board have seen the impact of this investment on enhanced performance, improved employee satisfaction and engagement, and positive signs of reduced reliance on freelancers to cover sickness absence due to playing-related musculoskeletal injuries. Professor Redding outlined the advances in healthy practice in dance education and how a specialist health insurance scheme is helping to provide access to occupational health services.

Dr Rob Hampton, RCGP representative at Public Health England and a practising GP, described his own caseload and the difficulties for freelancers in accessing support with work-related health problems, the impact on the NHS and the evidence that working itself improves health. Dr John Etherington, NHS lead for rehabilitation, drew on research on performance enhancement in the military and in sport to demonstrate that effective training for the physical and vocation-related psychological demands as well as good rehabilitation after an injury can significantly improve health.

In this conference, the problems were clearly laid out and examples of solutions are available, but whose responsibility is it to drive the improvements? With over £5bn in UK annual revenue coming from the performing arts, it doesn’t seem sensible NOT to look after the health of the workforce, and leaving this role to charities on their own is not a sustainable solution.

Here are some thoughts from the BAPAM team on how the current position might be improved. First of all, to answer the question, who is responsible for improving performing arts health?

  1. Employers and Education Providers. These bodies do have a duty of care to employees and students. Liverpool Philharmonic has demonstrated the economic and artistic case for employers investing in healthcare. Many employers can and do support occupational health for performers. A consistent approach here would improve the health of 18% of the workforce. There are 50,000 students in performing arts education and Professor Williamon’s research, the practice in Dance Education and the work of the Healthy Conservatoires Network demonstrate what can and should be done to develop healthy behaviours in students and ready them for the realities of working life.
  2. The Freelance Performer. The performer is responsible for their own health (however, see point 3 below), including seeking help at an early stage and following the health behaviours which are evidenced to reduce the likelihood of health problems. Freelance performers who have learned these behaviours in education should be equipped for the working environment, but many performers have not had access to performance education. The provision of educational sessions and written and online materials together with peer support networks is crucial for this group. The Musicians’ Union, ISM, Equity, Help Musicians, Music Support as well as BAPAM and many other individual coaches and writers are currently offering support in this area.
  3. The Performance Environment. Research evidence tells us that good self-care is best achieved within organisational structures that support individual wellbeing. While other organisations in the industry may not have a direct responsibility for performers, they do have a responsibility for ensuring that the environment enables the performer to carry out their personal health responsibility. In addition to statutory health and safety duties, a culture and environment that encourages and supports healthy practice will help performers. As a very basic example, hydration is vital for performers – if there is no water available in a venue, it becomes difficult for the performer to practise this behaviour. What if the acoustics are so bad in a venue that the only way performers can hear themselves is turning the amps up excessively? What if there is a culture in your organisation that discriminates against certain groups or individuals, contributing to negative social relationships and mental health problems? What if the people you depend on don’t know where to go for help when they need it?

If this is a structure we can organise around, then what would a Health Manifesto for the Performing Arts look like?

  1. Everyone in the performing arts world needs to understand what healthy practice means, from the educator to the employer, individual performance professionals and any organisation or individual working in the business (managers, promoters, agents, labels etc).
  2. Everyone needs to know where and how to get clinical help when they need it.
  3. All funding options should be explored to develop a system-wide approach to providing for the health needs of performers, combining charitable funding sources with other sources of support including industry-specific insurance schemes, access to work funding etc.

We welcome responses by email at info@bapam.org.uk

A major event in Occupational Health

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

Are you a freelance performer, regularly working on short contracts and short-term engagements? BAPAM in collaboration with the Occupational Medicine Department of the Royal Society of Medicine is organising an event looking at Occupational health in the performing arts. The industry is commonly termed the original gig economy as a huge proportion of the workforce are composed of freelance performers. There is also unfortunately a high number likely to become injured or have other health problems as a result of their work.

In traditional settings occupational health teams keep people well at work – physically and mentally. But when it comes to the gig economy the healthcare support for a performer may not be as certain.

Amongst other things this event on 27th March 2019 will be looking at the health and work needs of the self-employed, especially those working in this gig economy. As well as the current needs and experiences of performers when they are faced with ill health and also performance-related injury and how they can be treated back in to work.

Click here to book on to the event which promises to be a very useful day for all performers and clinicians working with performers.

  • Interested in finding out more about occupational health and performing arts, there is a collection of resources on the subject on the Society of Occupational Medicine website.

 

Open evening for Performing Arts Medicine course

Friday, March 8th, 2019

Are you a health professional and have an interest in working with performers? Or you may already treat some performers and want to be able to give them the best treatment possible. Then an open evening on 13th March is your chance to find out more about UCL’s Performing Arts Medicine MSc and diploma course. Tutors and course administrators will be on hand to talk about what this unique training programme involves. (click image for more info)

The course will allow you to gain in-depth knowledge of the diverse field of performing arts medicine, with modules ranging from clinical assessment and rehabilitation of the performing artist, musculoskeletal and neuromuscular performance related injury to clinical management of the professional voice and performance psychology, to name a few.

The specialised skills learnt during the can then be incorporated into an individual’s own professional practice. Or alternatively they can participate in performing arts clinics in settings such as conservatoires, orchestras, music or dance colleges.

The programme also provides its students with broad knowledge of the art forms and their demands on the performer and how these impact on their wellbeing.

For more on entry requirements, course fees and how to apply for this course head to the UCL website

Occupational Health in the Performing Arts Industry: The Original Gig Economy

Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

 

Wednesday 27th March 
Royal Society of Medicine
London

 

Registration for this event is now open.

Training arts professionals in healthy practice skills is vital, but we believe that healthy individuals also require systematic support from the industry that is built on their work. 

The majority of workers in the performing arts are freelancers and all are likely to, at some point in their career, experience an injury or have other health problems as a result of their work. The particular needs of those in this industry translate to other areas of the national workforce where, with the expansion of the ‘gig-economy’, traditional occupational health provision increasingly may not reach. 

The Occupational Medicine Section of the Royal Society of Medicine and the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine have therefore come together to run a one day educational meeting that will be of interest to a wide range of people with an interest in health and work.

Talks and panels feature leading arts industry and occupational health experts, academics and clinicians, and include consideration of the economic case for investing in health, health promotion, injury prevention and rehabilitation for self-employed workers, key and emerging occupational health issues in the arts sector.

Contributors include:

Professor Aaron Williamon, Royal College of Music, Centre for Performance Science

Zeb Soanes, BBC Radio 4 presenter

Jane Dyball, CEO of Music Publishers Association Group, winner of Music Week Women in Music Award for Outstanding Contribution

Professor Emma Redding, Head of Dance Science, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance

Colin Thomas, Chief Medical Officer, BBC

Colonel John Etherington, Director of Defence Rehabilitation and Consultant in Rheumatology and Rehabilitation, Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre

More information and registration

Free Health and Wellbeing Webinar Series with ISM

Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

Tuesday 5th February to Tuesday 26th February

We have teamed up with the Incorporated Society of Musicians to present a series of free webinars looking at musicians’ health. Our performance health experts will lead the sessions, exploring solutions to problems frequently encountered in music careers. For more information on each session and how to book a free place click here.

Looking after yourself on tour: Tuesday 5th February
Health in the gig economy: Wednesday 13th February
Resilience and bullying in the workplace: Tuesday 19th February
Preventing playing related injury: Tuesday 26th February

 

BAPAM Performance Environment Day

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

What would an ideal performance environment look like? Is such a thing even possible when we work in such widely different spaces? How do our environments affect our health, our creativity, our social relationships? What can healthcare professionals, technicians, artists, support organisations and communities do to both support performing arts wellbeing and facilitate excellence in artistic practice?

Our Performance Environment Day explores these topics, from a healthcare perspective and including the experiences of other professionals including artists, technicians, educators and people working in arts support roles, some with additional needs due to illness, injury, difference or disability

You can now read the full programme.

The event takes place at Resource for London on November 17, 9.30 – 17.00.

Tickets are available here.

 


Presentations and Discussion

The Performance Environment: Challenges in the Performing Arts Industry
Sophie Lane, Specialist Performing Arts and Sport Physiotherapist

Saving Your Ears for the Music!
Gladys Akinseye and Jordon Thompson, Clinical Audiologists and Hearing Therapists

Preparing for Challenging Performance Careers
Arran Peck, Athletic Development and Conditioning Coach, National Centre for Circus Arts

Cognitive Function of Adult Amateur Pianists
Dr Marie McKavanagh, GP, MSc Performing Arts Medicine Shipley Rudge Award Winner

Anxiety and Psychological Support for Theatre Productions and Artists
Dr Anna Colton, Chartered Clinical Psychologist

Panel Discussion/Q&A

Do our performance environments facilitate or obstruct artistic practice? How can the ways in which we design, manage, use and share space be a positive factor in healthy practice? Collective support in creative communities, accessibility and participation.

Kris Halpin, Musician/Producer
Robin Townley, CEO Association of British Theatre Technicians
Lisa Tregale, Head of BSO Participate, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Siân Willett, Co-creator of Wellbeing for the Arts

Dan Hayhurst, BAPAM Information Coordinator (Chair)

Music promoter Skiddle chairs mental health panel

Friday, October 5th, 2018

BAPAM Director Claire Cordeaux was invited to be part of a panel at an event organised by music event promoter Skiddle. The panel discussion was titled mental health in the music industry and was organised off the back of a survey the promoter had conducted amongst professionals within the industry, looking at their mental health at work.

Other panelists included Christine Brown from Help Musicians UK and psychotherapist and former music producer and DJ Matt Cantor along with some other music promoters.

The survey found mental health problems were a big issue amongst this demographic. According to the survey 82 per cent of those working in the industry said they suffered stress, 67 per cent suffered from anxiety and 40 per cent from depression.

65 per cent of the promoters frequently felt an intense and an unmanageable level or pressure and almost 50 per cent said the music work often led to a constant level of anxiety and sadness.

Speaking on the panel Claire Cordeaux said, “Promoters don’t get the visibility that other groups get even though the survey shows that they experience similar sorts of issues. So the results aren’t that surprising as they are probably not getting the same sort of access to support that other parts of the industry are getting.”

Here’s the full discussion:

Vocal Health Workshop in Glasgow

Friday, September 7th, 2018

Top vocal and performance coach Lucy Heyman will be conducting an afternoon workshop for vocalists in Glasgow.

The BAPAM training session organised by the Musicians Union will take place at the Scottish Trades Union Centre in Glasgow on 13th September. It will cover essential skills for enhancing vocal performance with the aim of giving tools and skills needed to succeed and thrive in music careers.

As a manager Lucy Heyman has worked with a range of artists including some of the UK’s biggest names, so has a real understanding of the trials and tribulations a performer goes through.

The topics she will cover include vocal techniques and warm-ups, preparation for performance and psychological skills for optimal performance.

BAPAM’s healthy performance training sessions are designed to avoid health problems which are often encountered in the course of an arts career and are led by the experts in the field. To enquire about booking a BAPAM training session email info@bapam.org.uk

We also run free medical assessing clinics for performing artists in Glasgow every month. (Next one is 5th October) To register as a patient and book an appointment call our helpline on 0207 404 8444/5888

International Symposium in Performance Science, Reykjavik

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

The MSc in Performing Arts Medicine and BAPAM were well represented this month at the International Symposium in Performance Science (ISPS) in Reykjavik, Iceland, with research papers by Dr Trish Halliwell, Dr Philippa Whebble, Dr Farrah Jawad, Dr Hara Trouli, osteopath Tommi Sliiden and physiotherapists Kari Arnason, Lindsay Wallace and Krzystoff Dabrowski. Projects on flautists’ injuries, breathing relaxation for singers, vitamin D levels in dancers, health issues of popular musicians, lung function when singing and dancing, muscle injuries in string players, footwear and dancers’ injuries, and palmaris longus in pianists were received with great interest by the conference delegates. It is important to see such a group on the international arena of Performing Arts Medicine and we hope this will encourage more researchers to bring their work to this level. Congratulations to all involved!

OPACA Study Day: Osteopathic Approach to the “Singing Voice”

Monday, September 4th, 2017

The Osteopathic Performing Arts Care Association (OPACA) present their second study day in Manchester on Sunday 15 October, focusing on Voice, and led by osteopath, singer and teacher, Ashley Staffiord.

To book online please visit: www.opaca.co.uk

OPACA aims to foster a uniquely Osteopathic perspective of treating performing artists, to encourage new ideas and offer mutual support. New members are welcome.

“A practical and experiential workshop for osteopaths with a special interest in the power of the voice. This full day’s programme will include practical work with bodybreath-voice relationship: exploration of the diaphragms and the relationship between primary and thoracic respiration and the many influences upon the functionality of the voice from head to toe. It will include a review of the anatomy and neurology of the vocal apparatus and demonstrations with singers. Participants will leave with a clear view of how to approach the voice of the patient osteopathically and with minimum trauma in the interventions”.