Hi! We are Erin Townsend and Blanche Cheng and we are your new Access & Outreach Officers! We’re really excited to be working with the rest of the OUMS Exec Committee and the Faculty of Music to make music in Oxford as accessible as possible, and increase the offer of outreach opportunities that OUMS provides its members.
We've created a quick, 5 minute survey to get a better idea about what you would like to see happen. Find it here.
We also wanted to introduce ourselves a little more, and let you know what we're particularly excited about...
Erin: I come from a state-school educated and single-parent family background and because of this am keenly aware of the importance of access, especially to and within institutions like Oxford University. Although I had a very comfortable upbringing, coming to Oxford brought me face to face with the significant class inequality in British society and I want to get involved in access to show other state-school students that Oxford is a place for them too. Music is a unique subject requiring a lot of pre-requisites to even get to the point of considering a degree in it, which are often only available to those with money. Because of this, I believe Music lags behind other subjects at the university in its accessibility, and I would like to draw more attention to this and explore ways of mitigating it.
I am very interested in the outreach side of my job too, and I believe OUMS should be offering a lot more in terms of outreach opportunities. Due to my experience working in care and volunteering with both children and older people, I feel comfortable doing music in the community and would like to set up schemes for OUMS members to visit schools, care homes and more to perform in informal concerts/workshops. I would also like to share more information with OUMS members about any work experience, bursaries or general wellbeing/advice for musicians that might benefit us all as both students and musicians. Feel free to contact me any time with any questions, concerns or suggestions you may have!
Blanche: Despite the thriving musical ensembles in Oxford, I recognise that many aspects of music and music performance remain neglected. For instance, non-Western music is rarely heard, and those who do not play orchestral instruments or sing often struggle to join the music community. This lack of inclusivity motivates me to enhance the accessibility of OUMS and music in Oxford, with the ultimate goal of enabling everyone, regardless of their socio-economic, ethnic background, or subject, to equally enjoy music here.
Furthermore, as part of the university, I often feel disconnected from other communities in Oxford beyond the students and staff. Therefore, I am eager to collaborate with outreach programmes to engage with the wider Oxford community. By working with Erin, I intend to organise regular visits to local homes and care homes, allowing OUMS members to perform in more casual settings and include people of all ages in Oxford’s vibrant music life. Additionally, I plan to arrange performances that feature non-traditional instruments, such as the kora and erhu, in order to celebrate non-Western cultural festivals and emphasise the diversity within both OUMS and Oxford’s broader community. If you have any questions or suggestions, please get in touch with me!
How to get in touch:
The main way to get in contact with us is our OUMS email address which we've both got access to - it's checked semi-regularly
You can also email us on our personal emails if that’s easier!
You can also message us on Facebook, where a phone call or in person meeting can be arranged if you’d rather talk in that setting :)
Erin Townsend / Blanche Cheng
We look forward to seeing you at our social mixer/AGM event on Saturday 29th April (this week)! Blanche and I will be there for any access queries, and there will also be a quieter breakout room if anyone would prefer to talk in that space. Drop in from 12.30-2.30pm.