Research Futures: In the Key of She

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Join the 22nd session in the University of Portsmouth's Interdisciplinary Webinar Series, chaired by  Leïla Choukroune, Professor of International Law and Director of the University of Portsmouth Thematic Area in Democratic Citizenship, and presented by Professor Samantha Warren, Research Lead in the Dept. of Organization Studies and Human Resource Management.

Women continue to be under-represented in, and reluctant to enter technology-driven careers, despite the rhetoric of computers as a democratizing force (Armstrong 2016). This is especially true of the digital-creative industries that remain heavily ‘male coded’, e.g., electronic music/ DJing, games design, animation, and software coding more generally.

In the Key of She is the title of my ongoing (2019-2021) Leverhulme Trust Fellowship. I am undertaking a critical case study of career experiences of female, female-identifying and gender minority electronic music (self)producers in order to shed light on the persistent male dominance of digital-creative cultural production . The music industry recognises it has a gender balance problem with various initiatives to balance festival and gig line-ups, such as the PRS Keychange initiative . When we consider the more technical roles in the industry, things get even more unbalanced. For example, according to the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, only around 2% of music producers are women (Smith et al. 2019). With electronic music production increasingly being seen as a source of reputational capital for contemporary DJs, if women are not producing and/or releasing their own tracks, they are going to struggle to compete with their male peers (e.g., Reitsamer 2011).

In this seminar I introduce the project, its methodology, and present some emerging findings as well as details of the industry initiatives I am involved with.

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