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Title: Where are all the disabled musicians? : an exploration of the attitudinal and physical barriers that impact on the identities and lived experiences of musicians with a physical impairment
Author: Low, George Alexander
ISNI:       0000 0004 7654 694X
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2018
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According to the UK Government, 'disabled people remain significantly less likely to participate in cultural, leisure and sporting activities than non-disabled people' (Department for Work and Pensions & Office for Disability Issues, 2014). Despite this fact, much of the research that relates to disabled people and music is focused on the therapeutic benefits of music and there is a deficit in research that explores disability and music from the perspective of the musicians themselves. The aim of my PhD project was to fill this gap by examining the lived experiences of disabled musicians in order to ascertain what might cause the perceived under-representation of disabled people in the music world. As a musician and music student with mobility and sight impairments, I have first-hand experience of the challenges that can face disabled musicians and these experiences inspired me to explore this area of concern. Consequently, my PhD project is centred on the lived experiences of disabled musicians as they engage in performance and work towards qualifications in music. Thematic analysis was used to analyse data that was collected through 11 semi-structured interviews with disabled musicians and an autoethnographic analysis of my own experiences, both as a disabled musician and PhD researcher. My PhD project shows that disabled musicians encounter a wide range of barriers as they engage in music making or journey towards a qualification in music and that these barriers create significant physical and emotional challenges for disabled individuals. Most of the issues disabled musicians experience occur during performance or while they work towards a qualification in music; these issues are the result of negative attitudes, discrimination and imbued misconceptions. Consequently, there is a need for the lived experiences of disabled people to be better understood by both non-disabled individuals and institutions who provide facilities and services. This improved understanding would allow both service providers and individuals the means to establish and maintain better access to music and music education through the implementation of reasonable adjustments and more positive attitudes towards disabled people.
Supervisor: Davis, John ; Kustatscher, Marlies Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: disabled musicians ; lived experiences ; music qualifications ; autoethnography ; access to music