Access and Inclusion for a Modern RIAM: Reflections from a Twenty-First Century Conservatoire Leader

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If you open the Royal Irish Academy of Music (RIAM) current strategic plan you will find that ‘Access and Inclusion for a Modern RIAM’ is the first of four overarching goals. This paper begins by making the case that access and inclusion was a founding principle of the RIAM and has continued as a principle up to today. I reflect, as director of RIAM, on our more recent contribution to promoting access and inclusion in music education and participation to include young people and adults with disabilities through the creation of the Open Youth Orchestra of Ireland. I review some of the defining factors that influenced our thinking, including the Creative Ireland project (2017–present), international models of good practice, and policy statements about music and human rights.

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Deborah Kelleher