PRS Foundation win €200,000 Creative Europe grant to develop new talent

One of the UK’s leading non-profit organisations for music has secured a substantial European grant to empower a new network of female artists. Supported recipients will be funded to showcase and collaborate at music industry festivals across Europe and Canada.

This new and ambitious European collaboration will promote the role of women in music and the potential creative and economic contribution women could be making to Europe’s music industry.

The €200,000 grant will fund a new initiative called Keychange, and sees PRS forge partnerships with Iceland Airwaves (Iceland), BIME (Spain), Reeperbahn (Germany), The Great Escape (UK), Tallinn Music Week (Estonia), MusickCentrum/Way out West (Sweden) and Mutek (Canada). Additional sponsorship has also been secured from Spotify and STEF (The Performing Rights Society of Iceland), more associate partners are expected to be announced.

PRS Foundation is the UK’s leading charitable funder of new music and talent development and since 2000 has given more than £23.6 million to 5,300 new music initiatives. The foundation supports a wide range of new music activities – from composer residencies and commissions to festivals and showcases in the UK and overseas.

Vanessa Reed, chief executive of PRS Foundation, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve succeeded as lead partner in our application to Creative Europe in spite of uncertainties posed by the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. European and international collaboration is essential to the creative and business development of individual artists and the industry as a whole.

“Keychange’s focus on giving talented women access to international networks and new markets at critical stages in their career will help them realise their potential as future leaders of an industry that is ready for change. I’m proud to be working with such an impressive line-up of festivals and music organisations to realise this ambitious European project which is based on shared values and a joint commitment to shifting the status quo.”

Keychange will fund 35 female music creators and 30 innovative industry professionals, who will collaborate through a Creative Lab programme. A digital platform will enable hundreds more musicians and creative industry pros to get involved with the project’s training programme and social media campaign.

The new initiative will build on PRS Foundation’s experience of running the pioneering Women Make Music Fund in the UK, but will extend its reach to nurturing talent development and innovation with an international scope. The long-term goal being to transform the European music sector, making it an egalitarian sphere for women artists and creators.

Ragnar Berthling, partner and CEO Musikcentrum Öst added, “Apart from any obvious reasons of justice, democracy and fairness, gender equality in the music industry is also about increasing the quality of music. We are convinced that Keychange will boost the festival circuit and the industry with a wave of young female artists and creative female innovators. To be a part of this network gives true hope for a borderless future music business built on creativity, visions and smart business models. We must congratulate PRS Foundation and Vanessa Reed for this brave initiative.”

Activities will include two mass gatherings of the Keychange network at Tallinn Music Week and BIME in 2018, smaller groups showcasing and networking at other partners’ music festivals, a programme of creative labs and online content which stimulate ideas for new projects and ways of working, a high profile social media campaign and a final event in Brussels at the European Parliament in 2019 at which partners will jointly present a manifesto for change.

Participants will be selected through a nomination process coordinated by local partners and their industry colleagues. A joint selection panel will take place at Reeperbahn Festival in September 2017.

For opportunity updates follow @PRSFoundation on Twitter with the #Keychange