STUDENT TAKES ON MALE-DOMINATED MUSIC INDUSTRY

A young woman from South & City College Birmingham is using her coursework project to highlight the issue of gender inequality in the music industry.

Twenty-two-year-old Charlotte Barnes from Nuneaton, is about to graduate from the college with a First Class BA Hons degree in Popular Music Practice. During her five years of study on Level 3 BTEC and BA(hons) courses, she has helped to organise and perform at numerous live events, the highlight being her experience working as lighting engineer on the internationally recognised Supersonic Festival.

The insight that Charlotte has gained within the music industry has showed her how male-dominated it is both on and off stage, an issue reported by the Guardian.

The Guardian reported that “from the moment a woman takes an interest in music, she enters a culture that is dominated by men – whether it’s the staff in record shops, the bands in your local pub or the roadies for stadium gigs. In the UK, women make up just 5% of all sound engineers, according to industry group SoundGirls. The Music Producers Guild estimates only 6% of its members are women”.

Charlotte, who plays the drums, is now using a website that she set up for her coursework, www.girlsunplugged.co.uk, as a platform to celebrate and support females in the music industry.

She said: “This is something which I feel very passionate about and will continue to raise awareness of. Earlier this year, I organised a college event to celebrate International Women’s Day which included a Q&A session with some female ex-students who now work in the music and entertainment industry which was fascinating for myself and my fellow students.”

Nils Edstrom, Charlotte’s tutor, said: “Charlotte travelled to college from Nuneaton every day for nearly two years, showing huge commitment. She initially came in as a performer but is leaving us with an extremely expanded skill set having produced, recorded and mixed her own band recordings – she is very well prepared to work and prosper in the music industry.

“South and City College provides the perfect environment for those looking to pursue a career in the music industry. With current, relevant courses, unique work experience opportunities and staff industry experience, all housed in excellent facilities including a 600 capacity working venue “The Crossing” this is a great environment for gaining some serious skills.

“Charlotte is a fantastic example of someone who has grown and embraced new opportunities and skills and has committed herself to self-improvement without ever losing sight of how much fun music and teamwork can be. We will be sad to see her leave but wait with some anticipation to hear of her inevitable successes.”

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