By Maxx Brunet
This past week, Pauline Blackwood and I hosted the first Toronto area SoundGirls.Org meet-up. Since becoming a SoundGirls member and blogger, I feel like I’ve become part of an active online group where I can ask questions and get great advice from fellow technicians. Online communities are important, but I think it is also necessary to make real life connections: I have been fortunate enough to meet a few SoundGirls members through touring. As awesome as it has been to meet American SoundGirls, I was left wondering where all the Canadian members were, and if there was any interest in setting up a local chapter in my new hometown.
I was fairly anxious when I showed up at our designated meeting spot, as I wasn’t sure we had done enough promotion. Pauline and I decided on the date of the first meeting as I was on tour in the US – this meant that the only sort of outreach I could do was online based. I’m a big fan of putting up posters in pertinent places (for example, local music stores), and I wasn’t sure that reaching out to friends and local Facebook groups for musicians would be enough… As 3 pm rolled around, it was looking fairly bleak – only Pauline and me! Then, almost like magic, women started showing up. Next thing I knew, there was eight of us sitting at the table, chatting about our experiences in audio. We were a diverse bunch, with women involved in post-production, recording and live sound.
Although all of the women present had different backgrounds, we all had similar reasons for wanting to create a local chapter – there is both a lack of women in audio and a lack of visibility of those who are currently working in this field. To give an example relevant to my life: I just finished a 54-show North American tour, and only worked with female engineers twice. That’s fewer than 4% of the time! In a day and age where women are encouraged to pursue all career paths, how is it that we are so underrepresented in the audio world?
While I’m not sure the Toronto SoundGirls chapter will be able to answer this tough question, we did discuss how we would be looking to show the next generation of sound engineers that women do have a place in this industry. We will also work on supporting one another in our own professional development – most of us expressed interest in having access to further training, or shadowing one another at our respective work sites. I, for one, have never been to a post-production studio and am looking forward to seeing how a studio engineer’s workday is different than mine! Overall, it was a productive and enjoyable meeting, and I’m glad Karrie encouraged Pauline and I to start a local chapter.
If you’re interested in being part of the Toronto SoundGirls group, our next meeting will be at 1 pm on Sunday, January 3rd, at the Center for Social Innovation’s coffee shop, located at 720 Bathurst Street. Hope to see you there!
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