The future of Feminism, it is something I regularly wonder about. This current discourse and fervent recognition of the state of the world and specifically the music industry/community has been nothing short of fantastic. I have seen women and GNC using songwriting and platforms to shed light on their experiences. Phrases like ‘feminist’ and ‘smashing the patriarchy’ are almost becoming commonplace in press releases. Even a growing number of people, both male and non-male, have starting expressing their growing awareness of sexism and discrimination within the community.
But where does that take us now? By no means should we be dusting our hands off and stamping ‘solved’ on everything, but how do we move forward? How can the discussion affect even more change? How can it create changes in the system and not just changes in individuals and small groups?
LISTEN, one of the groups at the forefront of feminist discourse in the Australian music community, have just announced details for the second incarnation of their annual Melbourne conference. And if its name is anything to go on, it may help to answer some of my questions. Titled ‘Feminist Futures’, the conference hopes to provide a platform to reflect on new ways to nurture diversity and creativity within music.
Last year’s LISTEN Conference was two days of enthusiastic discussion focussing on a variety of issues including gendered sound, overcoming anxieties felt by performers, the intersection of race and music and safer spaces. This year, the organisers have ramped up proceedings with the conference now running over three full days. Delving into topics such as gendered language and journalism, pros and cons of call out culture and more; this year will have a huge and diverse group of panelists as well as keynotes from Clementine Ford and Alok Vaid-Menon of DarkMatter (USA).
As well as providing an opportunity for discourse, the conference is holding live music showcases for each night of the conference. Boasting an impressive intersection of Melbourne’s finest from a variety of genres and scenes, each night will be different from the next.
For Friday, The Curtin will play host to local faves Ouch My Face, The Pink Tiles, Wet Lips, Hi-Tec Emotions and Crystal Myth. Saturday night shows a more electronic focus with Wahe, Bahdoesa, Netti, and DJs Sovereign Trax and Brooke Powers. The final night will sooth us all with poetry, spoken word and introspective music-making from Alok Vaid-Menon, Dawn Iris, as well as performances by Astrid&, Callan and Sarah Mary Chadwick.
One day and three day tickets are available here with 10% of tickets sales being donated to Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance and Sisters & Brothers NT.
Admission to each of the live showcase events is $5 for conference ticket holders and $15 for everyone else.
LISTEN Conference 2016: Feminist Futures
October 14th – 16th at Bella Union.