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Blind to the Facts - An exploration into the needs of blind and visually-impaired musicians (1995, John Ludlow, Inner Visions Music Company)

Research commissioned by Baluji Shrivastav OBE and supported by the RNIB and Platinum Trust, identifying challenges for blind musicians working in the UK music industry. This research led to the establishment of the Baluji Music Foundation and the Inner Vision Orchestra.

The music business is an extremely competitive one, and the fact is that blind and visually impaired musicians are at a disadvantage within it. The difference between success and failure, between getting or not getting the gig, recording contract, television slot and so on, can be marginal. The problems associated with being blind, or sometimes merely the perception of what those problems are, often leads to undeserved failure.

Some visually impaired musicians are able to make up for this because of their great talent, public relations skill, powerful friends or sheer luck. But too many others find themselves losing out to sighted musicians of equal or even lesser talent.

It is within this context of disadvantage that the Inner Visions Music Company has been formed. Designed as an umbrella organisation, its aim is to redress the balance by identifying the problems faced by visually impaired musicians and helping to address these problems through mechanisms for support.

The need for such an organisation was initially identified by the renowned blind sitar player, Baluji Shrivastav, who was a key figure in setting up the project. The Report is essentially Inner Visions' first step, providing it with a starting point, with the intent of both illustrating the current state of play, and suggesting possible future policies and programmes of work for the organisation itself. The research programme could not have taken place without the support of The Platinum Trust and the Royal National Institute for the Blind, and grateful thanks goes to both these organisations for their help. We have since discovered that George Michael founded the Platinum Trust and we are very grateful to this amazing musician.

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