Kelsey Hargreaves wears a lot of hats. A Youth4Music Ambassador living in Winnipeg, MB, she is also an engineer working for Winnipeg House, a non-for-profit housing project and deeply passionate about music. Although her daytime is spent ensuring houses are safely designed for those in need, she spends much of her free time practicing her trombone and rehearsing for the symphonic band of which she’s a member. Kelsey believes that everyone should have access to music and music education, and that access should be without borders or prevent certain demographics from engaging safely. She recently attended a panel discussion titled Creating Safer Spaces in the Music Community. This discussion centred around the challenges of opening up about this topic and addressed the need to welcome many ethnicities, races, and other demographics.
If music is a language that links us all, then a discussion on inclusivity and safe spaces only makes sense. These things are important as we move forward culturally as a country. Just beginning these conversations can be uncomfortable but it is here that the discussion begins and therefore addressing the issue can begin. Kelsey believes that this kind of work is important for performers and musicians for them to make the best possible work they can, and to be true to their culture and artistry. Kelsey observed that the panel included venue owners, musicians and music organization members. She notes that some were already trying to make changes within their venues to improve the space so it felt comfortable for a variety of demographics. One of the musicians on the panel, Ashley Au, commented on offering a consulting service for venue owners and providing a fee for that service. Since not all musicians or venue owners are able to identify the needs of each demographic, knowledge offered by the consultants might be helpful in making a performance venue or recording pace more user friendly to all.
While this discussion is just beginning, Kelsey believes it is an important one. The music industry must welcome change to its demographic and allow creativity to flourish not to be hindered because of unsafe spaces. Kelsey looks forward to continuing this discussion with the Youth4Music Winnipeg Hub and other youth leaders.