Nightlife Articles #10 : Unraveling Unconscious Bias: Transforming the Night Time Economy and Music Culture. 

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The night time economy is a vibrant and integral part of our society, fostering creativity, social interactions, and economic growth. However, it’s not immune to the pervasive influence of unconscious bias, as seen in policies like Form 696 and the approach to music selection. To ensure the preservation of our diverse culture, it’s imperative to recognise and address these biases and reshape our approach to music within the night time economy.

Unconscious bias, often rooted in societal stereotypes and preconceptions, subtly shapes our decisions and actions. One glaring example of this from the past is Form 696, a controversial risk assessment form historically used in the UK to regulate live music events. This form required promoters and event organisers to disclose specific details about the event, including the type of music and expected audience. Critics argue that the form disproportionately targeted events featuring genres like grime and hip-hop, primarily attended by Black and minority ethnic communities. This policy perpetuated stereotypes and discouraged diverse cultural expressions, inadvertently promoting exclusion and stifling creativity.

The consequences of unconscious bias within the night time economy are far-reaching. The restrictions imposed by some of these policies led to the cancellation of numerous events and limited opportunities for artists from underrepresented backgrounds. This not only hindered economic growth but also contributed to a sense of alienation and inequality. Moreover, the biased perceptions associated with certain genres adversely affected the social dynamics within the night time economy, preventing it from fully embracing the diversity that makes it thrive.

The first step in addressing unconscious bias is acknowledging its existence. Promoters, event organizers, and policymakers must undergo training to understand the impacts of bias and how it affects decision-making.

The abandonment of policies that fuel and influence unconscious bias is crucial. These policies only reinforce stereotypes and hinder artistic expression. Instead, risk assessments should focus on objective criteria that apply universally, irrespective of music genre.

Promoters should actively seek out and showcase a variety of musical genres and artists from different backgrounds. Creating diverse lineups not only reflects the richness of our culture but also attracts a wider audience.

Collaborating with local communities and involving them in event planning can help bridge cultural gaps and ensure that events cater to a broader spectrum of tastes and preferences.

Venues should be encouraged to promote inclusivity by hosting events that celebrate various musical genres. Inclusivity should extend to the overall atmosphere and staff diversity as well.

Media outlets play a significant role in shaping public perception. Encouraging coverage of diverse events and genres can help challenge biases and promote positive cultural exchanges.

The night time economy has the potential to be a powerful force for inclusivity, creativity, and economic growth. However, unconscious bias, as exemplified by policies that have been experienced both past and present, poses a significant challenge to realising this potential. By reforming policies, diversifying lineups, and fostering awareness, we can transform the night time economy and ensure that our musical landscape remains a reflection of our diverse culture. It’s time to harmonise our efforts and amplify underrepresented voices to create a night time economy that truly embraces all aspects of our society.

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