Do you know a female that deserves recognition for their contribution to the music industry, or is that person you? Listen up! The Australian Women In Music Awards (AWMA) is back for 2019 at the Brisbane Powerhouse, with a huge two day series of forums, keynote speaker presentations, entertainment and recognition of women in the industry.
Following a massively successful inaugural year that saw Amy Shark, Jen Cloher and NGAIIRE all take home awards and star-studded entertainment provided by Australian legends Kate Ceberano, Emily Wurramara, Katie Noonan, and Adalita, 2019 is set for an even bigger year.
“It’s not really about topping it actually,” says Founder and Executive Director, Vicki Gordon. “An inaugural year is a challenging year because you just don’t know how things are going to go and when you’re building something from the ground, you never really know the level of support you are going to get. In the end, all we can do is provide a platform to acknowledge the great contributions of women and a platform for a greater conversation between men and women in the industry and wait for the community to respond, and they most definitely are.”
Nominations opened on Tuesday 11 June and within two days already saw 150 entries across the a whopping fifteen categories across a wide range of areas including awards for Lifetime Achievement, Diversity in Music, Live Production, Emerging Artist, Music Photographer Award, the newly introduced Excellence in Classical Music Award, Music Journalist Award and Excellence in Image Making Awards, and many more. The award’s purpose is to not only acknowledge those making positive contributions to the industry but to identify those actually working in the industry and to spark conversations around the state of the music industry and the lack of representation.
In particular, this years’ inclusion of the Excellence in Classical Music Award shines a light on the serious misrepresentation of female conductors and composers. In a Women In Music research report as published by The Guardian under the title, ‘Female composers largely ignored by concert line-ups’, the report found that in 1,445 classical concerts across globe only 76 include a work by a woman, meaning that an astounding 95% of compositions were produced by men, a statistic Gordon hopes to change through the awards recognition.
“By actually creating a platform through an awards ceremony you actually create a far greater opportunity for further conversation within that space and that’s what is really, really needed,” she says.
Along with the awards ceremony on Wednesday 9 October, the second day will continue with that conversation around industry change through the trio of forums. ‘Visibility in Hip Hop – Women on the Front Line’ will explore why the male-dominated world of hip hop “hasn’t traditionally empowered women’s stories or voices, and why is it so difficult for women to lead and find their rightful place in that scene”. ‘The Art of Rebellion – The Intersection of Music and Politics’ delves into “the power of creativity in relation to the arts and whose voices are being heard and whose voices are being fundamentally silenced” and finally, ‘Image Making – The Changing Face of Music’ looks at “the negative effects of the media and the double standards that exist within the industry in relations to gender, sex, race, sexuality and social/cultural backgrounds”. All facilitators, speakers and entertainment are yet to be announced [watch this space], but they are not to be missed.
“What I try to do with the forums is to not so much focus on what’s happening in the music industry but to talk about the many issues which I think are impacting on women across the broader community,” says Gordon.
“We need to be positive when we try to create change but it has been a difficult place for women and it has been difficult for women to have a voice around all of these things and if you can do through the AWMAs and the community wants us to do this and supports us to do that, well we’re just going to become stronger and stronger I think. The power of music to bring people together should never be underestimated and the power of music to heal people and actually make the world better should never be underestimated either.”
Just like Vicki Gordon and the AWMAs, there are plenty of women positively impacting our music community, and in-turn the wider community, and paving the way for change through their work. Now is their chance to not only be recognised for their contribution but to also become part of that continued conversation. You can self-nominate or if you know someone who is deserving, Gordon encourages you to stick their name in the nominations pool.
“No matter who you are, no matter where you are, if you are a woman working in any area as outlined in our award categories in the music industry we want to know about you. We want to know about what you are doing and we want to empower you to continue to do it and we want to support you to do it! There is no shame in being acknowledged for the work you do and that is one of the things we want to turn around.”
All eligibility details and judging criteria are available on the AWMAs website.
Nominate today at https://womeninmusicawards.com.au/nominations/
Written by Tammy Walters