BA (Hons) Audio Production is in its third year, meaning we now have students at all three levels. Of these, we have a small but growing number of young women: three at level two (of twenty seven students) and four at level one (of thirty one students). However, we still have relatively few female applicants. I talked to Jasia, Galani and Alex to find out why, in a field that has traditionally attracted many more males than females, they were compelled to buck the trend and study Audio Production.
Galani: “I knew I wanted to be in a sound-related job from being in secondary school, when I first picked up guitar lessons. I had this youthful perception of being a “rockstar” musician. However, as I got older, my interest grew into the technical aspects of production. I started to research more into sound engineering and knew from then on that this is what I wanted to do for my career. When I came to university, I was pleased that the course opened up new areas such as film, television and radio too, and I fell in love with sound for visual media!”
Alex: “I think girls get put off of doing audio because of the theoretical and technological side of sound and the practices that come with it – they assume it’s a subject for boys. But for me that is the interesting part, learning the ins and outs of everything. Sound as a whole interests me and is something I want to keep learning about and make into my career.”
Jasia: “From an early age I have listened to radio and there is still a lack of women presenters which has driven me to my ambition of becoming a radio presenter. Audio Production is a great course to widen knowledge and gain experience for future jobs in the industry.”
As the women here verify, there are many aspects to audio production and the reasons for choosing to study on the course are as wide-ranging. Audio Production has its technical aspects, of course. However, there is no reason for it to suffer from the same challenges of gender stereotyping as subjects like engineering, chemistry and computer science despite the very unhelpful images of bikini-clad models holding synthesizers that still appear in today’s music technology magazines.
The challenge then is ours: to find ways to communicate to female applicants that this is not a ‘boys with toys’ course but a rich and creative learning environment involving the many aspects of audio production. I hope this blog post goes some way towards that.
Link – Julie Allinson from the University of York describes her gender stereotype work at University of Lincoln’s DevXS