Sounding the Feminists Symposium: Women in Popular and Traditional Music in Ireland

9am-5pm, Friday 23 November 2018

PJ Carroll’s Building, Dundalk Institute of Technology


The Department of Creative Arts, Media & Music at Dundalk Institute of Technology, in association with Sounding the Feminists, is pleased to host a one-day symposium on women in popular and traditional music in Ireland on Friday 23 November 2018. This one-day symposium brings together both scholars and community activists engaged in work to address gender imbalance in both the music industry and academia.

In the past three years Ireland has witnessed a resurgence of feminist activity and public debate around gender inequality and the participation of women in Irish society. The need for feminism in the Irish cultural context was starkly foregrounded with the centenary celebrations of the Easter Rising in 2016. Initially cultural commentators noticed the lack of acknowledgement of the role of women in the War of Independence: women were largely absent from the historical narrative being presented. In November 2015 The Abbey Theatre announced its programme for the centenary year of nine men and one woman. Within a week of the programme announcement the Waking the Feminists movement had been formed, the purpose of which was to campaign for awareness of the need for gender equality in Irish theatre. A few months later the National Concert Hall announced its Composing the Island series for September 2016 in celebration of the Rising. Featuring the work of ninety composers (almost 200 compositions), only 17 works by living female composers were programmed versus 74 by male composers. Prompted by this concert series and following in the footsteps of Waking the Feminists and international groups such as female:pressure (Vienna) and Fair Play (Brussels) the Sounding the Feminists working group was established in 2017 with the purpose of promoting gender equality and opportunities for women in music in Ireland and to encourage debate in this area.

A feminist history, or any history for that matter, of women in music in Ireland remains mostly unwritten and the question of how to conduct a feminist historiography within the Irish context needs to be addressed. Furthermore, scant statistical data exists for the Irish musical context and scholars have yet to quantify or qualify the reality of the situation for women in music in Ireland. This is the cultural and academic context within which this symposium on women in traditional and popular music in Ireland was conceived.

See Schedule here:


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