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Notes on Women's Autonomous Cultural Scenes (9)

MURAKAMI Kiyoshi / July 4, 2017

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June 16, 2017
"Women's Autonomous Cultural Scenes: Media, Space, and Activism": The 10th lecture
memorandum (some part of lecture contents)


The main theme of this lecture was "Discwoman and Women's Beat League". In the beginning, I introduced the basic information of Discwoman(http://www.discwoman.com/).
Founded by Frankie Decaiza Hutchinson, Emma Burgess-Olson and Christine McCharen-Tran, Discwoman is a New York-based platform, collective, and booking agency―representing and showcasing women and LGBTQ talent in electronic music. Started as a two-day festival in September 2014 at Bossa Nova Civic Club Discwoman has since produced and curated events in 15+ cities―working with over 200 DJs and producers to-date.[http://www.discwoman.com/about-discwoman/]

This techno-focused New York collective has been running since 2014, founded by Frankie Hutchinson, Emma Burgess-Olson (who produces as Umfang), and Christine Tran. "I met Emma at Bossa because she played a techno track I liked and I asked her what it was. Christine I had met previously through her collective Witches," says Frankie of how they came together. "Centering women allows us to make dope parties whilst being conscious of the reality of the fucking world." Following a recent night in Mexico with The Black Madonna, Discwoman has been announced as residents at Chicago's Smart Bar for this year, as well as having potential plans to take things to the U.K., Chile, Colombia, and India.[Vagianos 2016]
First we confirmed their self-definition and course of action. Secondly we confirmed their principles behind activities.

The most important points of their practices are to have capabilities to (1)empower women/LGBTQs and (2)keep diversity in club music scene.

Additionally, they actively collaborate overseas organizations. Therefore, their influence is not exclusive to New York/US. It is no exaggeration to say that they are a worldwide role model of women/LGBTQ's collectives trying to create a favorable/safe environment with diversity for club music scene.

That will lead to the disorganization of a male-dominated system. These self-organized and autonomous practices by the collective of marginalized people themselves must produce a (more) fair system in the aspects of space and order.

As a similar example, I took up the activity of Women's Beat League(http://www.womensbeatleague.com/).
Women's Beat League has been organizing events, workshops, classes, and parties in Portland, Oregon since 2015. The group is dedicated to providing resources and access for those interested in or currently pursuing skills in djing, music production, event coordination, and more. Founded by Felisha L, Alyssa B, and Daniela Karina ― WBL operates as a multidisciplinary group aiming to bridge demographic gaps in the landscape of electronic music.[http://www.womensbeatleague.com/info]

Based out of Portland's own S1 [http://s1portland.com/], Women's Beat League works to provide a space for female and non-binary folks to share skills and equipment in a safe and inclusive environment, whether through workshops, lectures, or events.[tobyalden 2016]

The synthesis class is just one effort made by Women's Beat League (WBL) to help female and nonbinary gender Portlanders learn the software, hardware, and other skills necessary to start DJing or making electronic music. The group is among a recent wave of like-minded organizations including San Francisco's Women's Audio Mission and the Yorkshire Sound Women Network in the U.K., the classes being held at New York's Lower Eastside Girls Club, and DJ collectives like Discwoman, Sister, Apeiron Crew, and more. All aim to overcome the unfortunately sizable chasm that keeps many women from joining the male-heavy fray of beat matchers and beat makers.[Ham 2016]
This Portland collective not only makes efforts to give instruction in skills of DJing/making music and set up a safe space but also actively develops overseas activities. As a recent example, they were in charge of the program of NTS Radio ―an online radio station based in London― on June 13, 2017 (http://www.nts.live/shows/guests/episodes/womens-beat-league-13th-june-2017)*.

It is interesting that they strike a balance between local activities and global activities.

* Incidentally, Discwoman co-founder UMFANG had charge of a one-off show at NTS Los Angeles studio on June 12, 2017 (http://www.nts.live/shows/guests/episodes/umfang-12th-june-2017).

【References】
◇billboard(@billboard)
".@DISCWOMANNYC on female & queer representation in dance music.[Movie]"
[2017年6月16日6:35 https://twitter.com/billboard/status/875466717102694401]
◇Aurora Mitchell "9 All-Female DJ Collectives You Need To Know Right Now"(February 17, 2016/The FADER)
http://www.thefader.com/2016/02/17/female-dj-crews-discwoman-sister-mahoyo-tgaf
◇Alanna Vagianos "How 3 Women Are Disrupting One Of Music's Biggest Boys Clubs"(March 30, 2016/HuffPost)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-3-women-are-disrupting-one-of-musics-biggest-boys-clubs_us_56f2d797e4b0c3ef521796c7
◇Keith Barbalato "Politics on the Dance Floor: Reclaiming Queer and Black Roots in Electronic Dance Music"(April 14, 2016/YES! Magazine)
http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/politics-on-the-dance-floor-reclaiming-queer-and-black-roots-in-electronic-dance-music-20160414
◇Sophie Weiner "Promoters of the Year: Discwoman Opens Up the Dancefloor for Everyone"(December 29, 2016/Thump)
https://thump.vice.com/en_us/article/discwoman-promoter-of-the-year-photo-essay
――――
◇Robert Ham "Women's Beat League Wants to Close Electronic Music's Gender Gap, One Synth Class at a Time"(July 26, 2016/Pitchfork)
http://pitchfork.com/thepitch/1246-womens-beat-league/
◇tobyalden "Interview with Women's Beat League"(September 8, 2016/Discogs)
https://blog.discogs.com/en/interview-with-womens-beat-league/


■List: [Serial Publication] Notes on Women's Autonomous Cultural Scenes

■Class Information
The Course in the First Half of the 2017 Academic Year at Kobe City University of Foreign Studies: Introduction to Gender Studies "Women's Autonomous Cultural Scenes: Media, Space, and Activism" (Lecturer: MURAKAMI Kiyoshi)


Author: MURAKAMI Kiyoshi
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