POLARITY SHIFT – A successful panel discussion and female takeover in Berghain Kantine
„POLARITY SHIFT | c/c women in electronic music“ was the sequel of „The survival of electronic music scene“, an event approaching the historical relevance of Berlin’s electronic music scene by inviting professionals from the scene to participate in a panel discussion in order to gain a deeper understanding of past and current opportunities and challenges in the “capital of techno”
Ein Gastbeitrag von Anita Jóri
(Berlin) The event „POLARITY SHIFT“ on 11th October focused upon a specific aspect of the electronic music scene: the female artists’ situation. Although being perceived as diverse and open-minded, the electronic music scene has to struggle with gender-related preconceptions that stigmatize an entire subculture as male-dominated. Therefore, the team behind the project decided to establish a platform to address concerns regarding the underrepresentation of women in the electronic music scene and raise awareness of an issue that has been dealt with in many cases, yet, none of which has brought forth any substantial changes. But instead of simply pointing out the fact that women apparently have been outnumbered by men in the field of electronic music, the aim was to go a step further, converting the issue into a source of creativity by inviting different participants of the scene to be part of another panel to discuss their approaches on dealing with the challenging situation.
Panel discussion and female takeover
Arielle Fischer [senior label manager, INgrooves], Jessica Ekomane [sound artist] and Peter Kirn [audiovisual artist/journalist; Create Digital Music] took part in the discussion with the moderation of Anita Jóri [research assistant; Macromedia University]. The panelists added their diverse perspectives to the topic: the audience could hear different thoughts from the viewpoints of a female artist, a woman from the music industry, and a male artist/journalist/scholar. Highlightening reasons behind the low numbers of women in the scene, the panel tried to give ideas how to change those numbers: establishing own networks; organizing courses in music production and DJing in a friendly atmosphere; bringing the interest in technology closer to women – right from the beginning in the childhood; slowly changing the traditional/conservative gender roles in the society, etc. Moreover, the panel also discussed the question of quota system.
Following the panel discussion, there was an all-female takeover of the decks, shifting the audience’s attention to what it’s all about: electronic music. Anja Zaube [nemorous rec.], Martha [gravure], resom [://about blank] and Toxido Mask [unacceptable], gifted female artists of Berlin‘s electronic music scene were playing during the night. POLARITY SHIFT won three sponsors for the evening: Ableton, Thomann, and VUT. The cooperation partner MINT Berlin supported the event with giving us the opportunity to screen their interview series Mint Faces during the discussion.
Polarity Shift – next steps
POLARITY SHIFT started as a student project of three music management students; Steffi Meisl, Sven Iversen and Tom Talenberg, working under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Martin Lücke. After their successful event with around 250 participants, they decided to follow up with the project and create an event series for discussing issues on the topic. Their first kick-off meeting will be the part of the program of the Most Wanted Conference organized by the Berlin Music Commission on 20th November 2015. More info here.