IMC statement on addressing gender imbalance in jazz and improvised music
In 2017, Improvised Music Company (IMC) is committed to embarking on a series of initiatives designed to address the under-representation of women in jazz and improvised music in Ireland, beginning with supporting the album release activity of a number of emerging and accomplished artists, while simultaneously developing long term developmental strategies in this area.
We realise that this lack of representation is not particular to the Irish jazz scene, nor to this genre of music above others, but indicative of inequalities in many fields, and for many complex reasons. However we are committed to firstly raising awareness of the issue in our own sphere of influence, with the hope of encouraging similar initiatives, and in the long term, implementing permanent policies, structures and activities to support and address this issue.
If you see it, you can be it
IMC will undertake a long term commitment to addressing gender imbalance in the area of Programming with plans underway to work towards a gender balanced programme of international and domestic talent, at both world-class and emerging artist level. Relatively speaking, jazz is a somewhat niche genre but one where role models have a dramatic influence on aspiring professionals. We recognise the importance of showcasing such role models and its value for Irish female artists, as well as actively promoting and nourishing our domestic artists.
Education is a crucial fulcrum in this issue, from early childhood to 3rd level. For example, over 70% of students sitting Higher Level Music at Leaving Certificate level are female, yet statistics show that this high ratio is hugely reduced in students applying to study music at 3rd level. There is also a worrying lack of diversity across instrumentation, which research has shown, can often be attributed to early childhood experiences, with an unconscious bias at play. These issues limit the opportunities for programmers to represent adequately female artists in Ireland. IMC is engaged at board level towards identifying the core issues that lead to underrepresentation. We are working on the actionable steps that an organisation like IMC, along with other cultural organisations, can implement to affect change at crucial developmental points in both the short and long term.
In the short term we will continue to promote and support existing talent, build awareness and engage with artists and fellow promoters to develop longer term goals for diversity across domestic musicianship.
We intend to audit our responsibility in this area annually.
Part of these initial steps is supporting a number of female artists in album releases in 2017 through our ‘IMC Supports’ activity, assisting in career development of artists that we are proud to champion, while enhancing the domestic scene. Listen to a PLAYLIST of these artists and watch out for new material to be released soon.
More to come later in 2017!
Improvised Music Company is supporting the following artists in an advisory, promotional and event production capacity for their album launch activity in 2017.
SUE RYNHART For the past 18 months IMC have been supporting this highly unique vocalist and composer in the development of her album 'Signals', which will be launched at The Fumbally Stables, Dublin 8 by Note Productions on 28th April. www.suerynhart.com
RUBA SHAMSHOUM is a Palestinian musician, living in Dublin and graduate of the jazz performance at Newpark Music Centre. Her debut album ‘Shamat’ (Beauty Spots) merges jazz with different musical styles of the Middle East, and will be released in Whelan’s upstairs on Thursday 25th May. www.ruba.land
EDEL MEADE is an Irish vocalist and composer, set to release the music video for the title track of her long awaited debut album this Friday 31st March. A striking instrumental mood-piece, inspired by scenes from Baz Luhrmann’s iconic ‘Romeo + Juliet’ and Jim Morrison lyrics.
Her debut album ‘Blue Fantasia’ will be released later in 2017. www.edelmeade.com
IZUMI KIMURA, Japanese born and Irish resident, is a highly acclaimed practitioner of contemporary piano music and a rising star in the world of improvised music. IMC are excited to support a release of her improvised material later in 2017. www.izumikimura.com
NAOMI BERRILL is an Italian based cellist and composer releasing her 2nd album in September 2017 with Irish performances dates to be announced for that period. www.naomiberrill.org
RÍONA SALLY HARTMAN is a Dublin based vocalist and composer. In 2017 she will be recording her 2nd album consisting of original, site specific song cycles. Ríona is a member of the IMC’s board of directors. www.rionasallyhartman.com
IMC will support the output and developmental activity of these, and other Irish based female artists in 2017, in conjunction with developing a long term strategy to address gender imbalance in jazz and improvised music.
Listen to a PLAYLIST