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Musicians’ Union Launches Free Refugee Musicians Membership

The new membership for musicians escaping famine, conflict and persecution means that refugees can now join the MU for one year for free, and access all the union’s advice and services to help build their lives in the UK.

Published: 01 June 2023 | 12:40 PM Updated: 05 June 2023 | 11:04 AM
Two musicians on a stage lit with purple lighting, one on a microphone and phone in the background on a deck.
Members who join on the Refugee Musicians Membership will have access to expert advice through the MU’s regional offices across the UK.

The MU is proud to launch a new Refugee Musicians Membership scheme giving refugee musicians access to one year of free MU membership.

This means musicians escaping famine, conflict and persecution will have full access to the MU’s advice and services including contract advice, legal advice and insurance cover relating to their work as musicians.

Members who join on the Refugee Musicians Membership will also have access to expert advice through the MU’s regional offices across the UK, and a regular programme of training and networking events.

Working with Counterpoints Arts, the MU hopes the scheme will help refugees build their music careers in the UK.

Anyone wanting to join the MU on this offer can do so via Counterpoints Arts by emailing hello@counterpointsarts.org.uk.

Making the UK’s musical landscape richer

MU General Secretary Naomi Pohl said:

“I am proud to lead a trade union that welcomes refugee musicians, and where the suggestion of a free membership offer came directly from our members.

“This initiative is a testament to our commitment to welcoming refugees into our family of musicians. The UK’s musical landscape is richer because of wide-ranging musical influences from across the world, and we’re here to provide support and guidance to all musicians who need us.

“Solidarity and inclusion are about embracing everyone. We want refugee musicians to flourish, avoid bad deals and exploitation, and have confidence that should they need it we’ll be right by their side.”

Musicians who would like to do more to support refugees and asylum seekers in the UK can take a look at this list of organisations and resources.

A statement of solidarity from the community of musicians

Counterpoints Arts Director Almir Koldzic said:

“We’re delighted to be collaborating with the MU on their offer of free membership for refugees who are professional musicians.

“Access to information, contacts, and support is so important for people who are seeking sanctuary, and with the MU’s support many more musicians will now be able to share their work with the public.

“This initiative is also a statement of solidarity from the MU and the wide community of musicians they represent, and a strong commitment to a spirit of welcome and inclusivity.”

Counterpoints Arts support and produce art by and about migrants and refugees to ensure that their contributions are recognised and welcomed in UK art, history and culture. They also run Refugee Week, which runs every June and encourages people to do 8 Simple Acts in solidarity with refugees.

Everyone deserves to be treated fairly

MU Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion John Shortell said:

“Everyone deserves to be treated fairly at work and access to trade union membership is a crucial part of making that a reality. Refugees can experience exploitation and abuse in workplaces, and may be unable to report if employers are taking advantage of them. Without access to a trade union that can challenge these practices, refugees can be pushed into poverty, debt and homelessness.

“No musician should lose their job because of the colour of their skin or where they were born.

“This refugee membership offer will ensure that refugees have access to the MU’s legal advice and assistance services, workplace representation if they need it, learning and development programmes, and networking events enabling them to build a professional network in the UK.”

Get MU membership today

From gig players to part-time teachers and professional instrumentalists, MU members can access specialist insurance for musicians. This includes accident cover, health schemes, travel insurance and car insurance add-ons through the Musicians’ Union.

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  • Get public liability insurance for musicians
  • Access expert legal support
  • Be represented in your profession
  • Access expert career advice, resources, and training events
  • Connect, network, and get to know the community of musicians

Learn about all membership benefits

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