Introducing our Open Space events

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Introducing our Open Space events

Kate Lowes, our Head of Programmes, blogs about the next phase of our Both Sides Now programme – a three-year initiative to support, inspire and showcase women in music across the North of England – and we want to hear from you.

This week we mark the centenary of some women having the vote, and with anniversaries come reflections. What great strides have been taken in this time. What incredible achievements have been made that 100 years ago would have seemed unthinkable. But also what else there is still to do.

Following a very motivational launch for Both Sides Now in November, we were inspired to hear all of our wonderful guest speakers talk about their hopes and concerns around gender equality in the music industry. We are now moving the programme onto its next phase and hope to hear even more voices in this rapidly growing discussion.

Through Both Sides Now we want to create a growing network, deliver sustainable activity, and affect permanent change around the perception, opportunities and profiling of women in music, from the classroom, to the boardroom, to the stage.

The music industry is in an enormous place of transition, opening it up to be hacked, reshaped, transformed, and reinvented. Because of the fluidity of this cultural time, more women in this sphere could have a larger impact than at any other moment. It’s ready for new voices, and we want to hear them.

“It’s ready for new voices, and we want to hear them.”

Across March and April we are working with the Hub UK and our partners across the North to programme a series of Open Space events. Open Space is a method of facilitation, where participants create and manage their own agenda of discussions around a central theme.

These events are for anyone with an interest in the many conversations that surround gender equality in music to come together and discuss what could make a real difference – whether that’s about role models, motherhood, education, social mobility, policy change or something else entirely.

Unfolding over a series of informal conversations, the agenda will be set on the day by the people in the room. You might want to convene a conversation about something you feel passionately about, or join a conversation kick-started by someone else. More than just a talking shop, our aim is to get things and people moving.

“More than just a talking shop, our aim is to get things and people moving.”

What we discuss in these Open Spaces will help to identify the most pressing issues, and grow the Both Sides Now programme – both creatively and politically. In July we will deliver a large-scale event at the Great Exhibition of the North where we will set out these challenges and discuss practical solutions and the next steps needed to address them.

We hope you can join us at one of our upcoming Open Space events – they are open to everyone. Food and drinks will be provided and there will be activities for children.

How to get involved

Fri 9 March – Manchester Central Library (with support from Manchester City Council)
Register here

Sat 17 March – Constellations, Liverpool (in partnership with LIMF Academy and Culture Liverpool)
Register here

Monday 26 March – Duke Studios, Leeds (in partnership with Music:Leeds)
Register here

Newcastle date tbc (in partnership with Generator)
Registration coming soon

We use an inclusive definition of ‘women’ and welcome participants who are women and non-binary, both cis and trans.

Both Sides Now is supported by public funding through the National Lottery by Arts Council England, and Youth Music