Earlier this week the Royal College of Music announced a new fund for three UK students from ethnic minority backgrounds applying for the BMus course at the RCM beginning in 2018/19. UK black and minority ethnic (BAME) musicians are sorely under-represented across the performing arts – that’s one of the reasons Chi-Chi Nwaoku’s marvellous Chineke Orchestra is such a powerful and necessary force at the moment.
The RCM’s scholarships are welcome, and perhaps even long overdue. The size of the bursaries also indicates what the blocks are to BAME applicants – cost. Deputy Director of the Royal College of Music Kevin Porter’s quote bears that out:
‘The RCM is a diverse and welcoming community representing some 60 different nationalitites. We are proud of the RCM’s diversity and these scholarships for BAME students continue our commitment and are central to the RCM’s ongoing strategy.’
But the commitment goes further than representation. Isn’t it also about supporting the under-privileged? And if it is, doesn’t that point to a bigger problem further down the ‘supply chain’ for higher education establishments?
Applications (via UCAS Conservatoires) open on 19 July. The deadline for the BMus course starting in 2018/19 is 2 October.
The UK’s first BME orchestra Chineke! appears in a Late Night BBC Prom on Wednesday 30 August 2017