On Wednesday, April 12th, the DISSIDENT club hosted a conference for female identifying and non-binary DJs in Paris. The event was co-organised by Act Right, an association that works to empower event managers and spaces with tools to reduce sexual harassment and violence at parties and events.
The conference started with a networking hour, followed by a roundtable discussion led by the DISSIDENT club’s project manager, Liliya Golovanova. The participants included emerging young artists and professionals from the music industry such as Daphne Duviol, the Communications Coordinator of Act Right, Camille Cutta, an event coordinator with extensive experience working in concerts, and Andrea Karina, who is working for Act Right’s new project that aims to highlight female identifying and non-binary DJ artists in Paris.
Duviol, who is also an emerging DJ, explained the challenges of working at the roundtable. “The party scene can be extremely difficult to navigate for us, because while as a DJ, for you it is a professional gig, many people at the party refuse to honour professional boundaries. The party environment that we work in often leads to a lot of sexual harassment and violence.”
Their organisation – Act Right is committed to creating safe spaces that have tools to combat such sexist, racist, and homophobic harassment. “We want to teach the spaces to be safe first, before teaching those who come there,” Duviol explained, emphasising that the hosting locations need to take the first step
Beyond outright violence and harassment, female DJs also face a lot of systemic discrimination in the music industry. “As a woman or a trans person it is much more difficult to get gigs, and to get paid equally as the male DJs. This is really discouraging to those who are passionate about mixing music and want to make a career out of it.”
Karina, who mixes electric Latin music, shared her approach to music making with the participants at the DISSIDENT club. “The themes of feminism and migration will obviously come into the music I make because I am a female immigrant in France,” she explained, adding that her music primarily aims to deconstruct the long held beliefs and themes of this industry. “I believe it is only when the new generation deconstructs old ideas that an art evolves.”
One of the new Act Right’s new projects by the initiative, Shake the Gambass also aims to highlight female identifying and non-binary DJ artists and increasing the representation of such artists is long overdue. As Cuttaz put it, “Being able to see more non-male artists, who are paid equally for their work, will go a long way to reduce the violence we face in this industry.”
This conference at the DISSIDENT club is a step towards building safer spaces where people of all genders and backgrounds can enjoy themselves with music. These are core values we have, and we are excited to offer a safe space for other young and emerging musicians to share their work. You can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to participate in our project.
Report by: Leah Koonthamattam, team < the DISSIDENT club >