Women Who Rock: Making Scenes, Building Communities (2011 Conference)
We convene because the music calls us. Women have been a powerful force in Seattle’s well-known independent music scene, as performers, promoters, writers, DJs, archivists and fans. In many cases, they embody the hybrid identity of artist-‐activist-‐advocate. Historically, in the Pacific Northwest, women have used their music and activism to create music scenes that anchor social justice movements. The present is no different. The Women Who Rock Conference, organized by the Women Who Rock Research Project and the Women Who Rock Graduate Student Collective, highlights both contemporary and past movements in and outside of Seattle by bringing together musicians, activists, writers, advocates, educators, and scholars to talk about questions of female representation and access for women within music scenes. We have been particularly inspired by the ways that Chicana and Black feminist thought has expanded who counts as “women” and what counts as “rock.” In staging these conversations about women and music, we hope to build community and make our own scenes in the process. Though these conversations may prove to be challenging at times, we commit to them with our hearts and souls.
The conference runs for two days. On Thursday, February 17, following a workshop format, a small group of scholars will respond to works-in-progress centered around feminist thought and music presented by graduate students from the University of Washington and Seattle University. The conference then welcomes all participants with a film festival hosted by Angelica Macklin. On Friday, February 18, conference goers will attend topic-‐focused breakout sessions that bridge a broad range of participants. Here, we've experimented with a conference structure that emphasizes dialogue. In a departure from traditional panel sessions, participants will briefly introduce their topics and then open up conversations that engage the diverse audiences present at the conference. Later, we will meet as a large group to synthesize our conversations. At the close of the conference, performance artist Maria Elena Gaitan will perform and that night, we will convene with a Community Music and Fandango gathering.