Uncovering Histories, Shaping Futures: Insights from the Electronic Music Symposium

## Uncovering Histories, Shaping Futures: Insights from the Electronic Music Symposium

Explore key insights from the Electronic Music Symposium, where speakers tackled issues of gender, race, technology, and activism in electronic music. Uncover the significance of historical context, challenges of diversity, and the importance of systemic change. #ElectronicMusic


The  Electronic Music Symposium of 2021 brought together a diverse panel of speakers, including Hana Bosma, Miki Kineda, Kathy Cox, and Francis Morgan, to delve into critical discussions surrounding gender, race, technology, and activism within the realm of electronic music. Let's explore the key insights and implications drawn from the thought-provoking conversations at this event.

### Intersectionality and Systemic Barriers in Electronic Music

#### Hana Bosma's Perspective
Hana Bosma shed light on the intersectionality of gender and musical roles, advocating for a broader reevaluation of creativity and expertise within electronic music beyond traditional compositional roles. Bosma's discussion highlighted the systemic barriers that hinder the full integration of women composers and performers in electronic music, urging for more inclusive practices within the industry.

#### Kathy Cox's Examination
Kathy Cox's examination of systematic barriers at the Computer Music Center (CMC) during its early years exposed disparities in gender and ethnic diversity among staff and event programming. Cox's findings underscored a systemic bias favoring whiteness and maleness, signaling the urgent need for structural changes to promote diversity and inclusivity within electronic music institutions.

#### Francis Morgan's Exploration
Francis Morgan's exploration of creative activations of electronic music archives emphasized the significance of engaging with historical works. By showcasing projects like the reconstruction of Daphne Oram's composition "Still Point," Morgan highlighted the importance of preserving and revitalizing electronic music heritage for future generations.

### The Performance of Daphne Oram's "Still Point"

During the symposium, attendees were treated to a performance of Daphne Oram's "Still Point," a captivating orchestral piece manipulated live. Shiva Feshareki's interpretation of Oram's handwritten notes for the turntable part added an innovative dimension to the performance, drawing inspiration from DJ and club cultures. The prioritization of technological fidelity by Feshareki and James Bulley further underscored the dedication to honoring Oram's original vision.

### Reflecting on Historical Context and Contemporary Practices

The discussions at the symposium prompted reflection on the historical and contemporary challenges of gender and race representation in electronic music. The acknowledgment of ancestral labor and exploitation underscored the complexity of empowerment through technology, urging for a deeper understanding of historical context in shaping contemporary practices.

### Activism, Technology, and Systemic Change

The intersection of activism and technology was a recurring theme throughout the symposium. Participants raised questions about the effectiveness of diversifying fields if labor within those fields remains systemically devalued. Emphasis was placed on the importance of systemic change beyond demographic shifts, advocating for the naming, valuing, and protecting of labor and contributions in activist work.

### Embracing Collaboration and Community Efforts

The symposium also highlighted the significance of community effort and collaborative learning in advancing inclusive practices within electronic music education and research. The establishment of the Unsung Stories Discord server and the availability of additional resources showcased a commitment to ongoing dialogue and engagement beyond the event.

### Gratitude and Looking Towards the Future

As the symposium concluded, participants expressed gratitude to sponsors, organizers, and fellow attendees for their contributions. The transition of Ellie to a new role at the University of Toronto was acknowledged with both sadness and excitement, underscoring the collaborative spirit and hope for continued collaboration across borders.

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