Applications open today for the Accessible Instruments Challenge: a virtual inclusive innovation programme aimed at making adapted musical instruments, assistive equipment and music technology more accessible and affordable for disabled people of all ages. Plexal’s innovation team will support virtual teams over four months as they address a series of challenges, which will culminate in a hackathon event on 3 October 2020.
The programme is being funded by Arts Council England and delivered by the Inclusive Access to Music Making Hackathon Project, which is led by a group of partners that includes Creative United, The OHMI Trust, Plexal, Hobs 3D and University College London (UCL).
We’re calling on disabled or non-disabled musicians, instrument makers, designers, manufacturers, innovators, music teachers, academics and students to apply to join a team at accessibleinstruments.com. Applications open on 24 June and close on 17 July.
The teams will address challenges like adapting mainstream music production software, increasing the supply of adaptive musical instruments in schools, improving on the design of existing one-handed wind instruments and exploring the potential of virtual music making environments.
Plexal’s involvement in the Accessible Instruments Challenge builds on work our innovation team has done to champion inclusive design. We’ve delivered the OpenDoor accelerator for under-represented founders, we’re working with BT to making football more inclusive and have partnered with UCL, Disability Rights UK and other organisations to launch the East London Inclusive Enterprise Zone at Here East, which is aimed at developing the UK’s inclusive innovation sector and supporting disabled entrepreneurs.
Commenting on the programme launch, Russell Gundry, Plexal’s head of innovation strategy, said: “Including users creates better design and it’s time that more companies woke up to this fact. What’s most exciting about the Accessible Instruments Challenge is that the teams will approach the challenges from a range of perspectives, and we’re also ensuring that disabled musicians and entrepreneurs are leading the innovation process from the start.”