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120 years celebrated at Conference

The MU celebrated 120 years at its 35th Delegate Conference in Manchester on 23 and 24 July. Over one hundred members and invited guests joined the MU's Executive Committee and speakers from industry, education and Parliament at the Midland Hotel in Manchester, a stone’s throw from where the Union was first established in 1893.

Each of the MU’s six Regions sent a delegation to propose and debate conference motions and rule changes, with the carried motions to be considered by the Executive Committee in the coming months.

Chaired by Dr Kathy Dyson, Conference discussed numerous key topics including musicians’ employment, terms and conditions, the Union’s external relations and political developments, MU campaigns, MU support and funding for arts and culture, plus copyright, legal issues and performers’rights. In addition, delegates received presentations from Union officials and contributions from a large number of distinguished speakers. In addition, equalities and education were high on the agenda and debated by two panels, with the latter including valuable contributions from Christine Blower, General Secretary of the NUT and Kevin Brennan MP for Cardiff West.

Jo Dipple, CEO of UK Music made the case for fairer compensation on private copying and changes to National Insurance contributions with a strong speech from the stage and was followed by Frances O’Grady endorsing the MU’s successful campaign to change legislation governing instruments on planes.  In reference to the Lost Arts campaign and cuts to arts funding, O’Grady was direct by stating that 'Frankly, we’re governed by a bunch of philistines'.

In his key note speech, Dan Jarvis MP and Shadow Minister for Culture, emphasised that music is vital for our communities and not just in a financial sense. 'Music is at the very heart of who we are as a nation. By putting culture and creativity at the heart of our education system, we can ensure that our young people develop the transferable skills they will need in life.'

The work of the University of Stirling and University of Glasgow in building the MU Archive and leading the MU History project, was represented and complemented by graphics on display from the MU’s campaigns and promotional material across the 120 years. Their work is expected to be completed by 2015.

200 guests then celebrated the 120th anniversary at a reception and were entertained by the parliamentary band, MP4, and the John Patrick trio with special guests, saxophonist Dave O'Higgins and violinist Pete Hartley.  The Midlands Youth Jazz Orchestra delivered a rousing and accomplished set at the Conference’s formal closing dinner.

That just left Kathy as Chair to commend the delegates and guests and welcome in the next 120 years of MU history in the making.


Published: 29/07/2013
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