I went to the launch of SWIM yesterday. SWIM, Scottish Women Inventing Music, is a collective of women from across the music industry: performers and promoters, managers and marketers, DJs and drum techs.
It was brilliant.
The day was a mix of formal panel discussions, informal networking and the presentation of a lifetime achievement award to the fabulous and funny Janet Beat, Scottish composer and electronic music pioneer. That last bit was an unexpected highlight, both hilarious and moving.
I enjoyed the whole day. The panel discussions were thought-provoking, insightful and useful and the buzz during the breaks was palpable: so many amazing, inspiring women who do amazing, inspiring things making connections and sharing experiences.
The panels were diverse, too, and I think that’s incredibly important: many of the issues affecting women in music are intersectional, so for example the things that affect all women may be amplified or complicated for women who are also black, or gay, or older, or who have family responsibilities. It was also refreshing to see the panelists drawn not just from the rock concert industry but from club culture, folk, jazz and other genres.
I don’t think I’ve experienced anything like it, and I went away with a head full of ideas and a bag full of flyers and business cards pointing me towards new music (I haven’t checked them all out yet but if they’re as good as the first artist I’ve listened to, Rosie Bans, my ears are in for a really great day).
And on a personal level, this really mattered. From the website:
when stating ‘women’ or ‘female’ this includes all people who identify as female.
SWIM is a diverse, inclusive organisation, and it welcomes non-binary people and trans women. It’s hard to overstate how important that feels, to be in a space that actively welcomes you, where you’re actively made to feel part of the family. I may have shed a tear or two.
Enough about me. SWIM has the potential to be an incredibly positive force in the music business, whether you’re a musician or a technician, a plugger or a promoter. If you’re interested in finding out more, becoming a member or volunteering, you can find everything you need on the SWIM website.