This year, for the first time, Austria joined five other countries in European efforts to promote FLINTA (women and LGBTIQA) in the music industry. MEWEM Europa (Mentoring Programme for Women Entrepreneurs in the Music Industry) aims to systematically break down structural inequalities in the occupation of leadership positions in the music world.
At the kick-off event on September 28th, 2021, mentors and mentees got to know each other for the first time. They were matched in advance according to their interests, career paths and goals in order to best utilise individual strengths and needs. Already in the first edition of the program, Monika Eigensperger (ORF), Eva Fischer (sound:frame), Annemarie Reisinger-Treiber (Parramatta) and Angelika Schopper (NÖ Kulturlandeshauptstadt St. Pölten GmbH), among others, were recruited as mentors.
Face-to-face meetings followed for all mentoring pairs to share experiences, help with the concrete planning of events or releases, and expand their professional network. The program consists of two pillars: The individual appointments between mentee and mentor, for whose organization and content the participants themselves are responsible, and the group meetings on topics relevant to the participants, e.g. playlists, copyright, application training, etc., which take place in the form of panels or workshops with external speakers.
In a first group meeting in mid-October, Susanne Kirchmayr aka Electric Indigo, artist and founder of female:pressure, was invited to talk about her experiences with activism and equal rights for women in the music scene. The mentees were able to ask questions and discuss challenges and solutions.
These group meetings also serve as an exchange between the mentees, a protected space to address challenges on the one hand, and to share experiences of success on the other. The mentees have already created a network among themselves and organize small meetings to share their professional experiences, and support each other in case of difficulties.
Here are some insights into the participants’ experiences so far:
“So far, the mentoring program has not only given me the opportunity to learn more about my mentor’s career path and gain insights into the work areas of a 360° degree music agency, but also to take away suggestions, inspirations and tips for my own professional career in a joint, personal conversation.” – Katharina Schwab
“There should be a project like MEWEM for so many more industries. I think the exchange and support with and from other FLINTA in the professional environment is so important and enriching. For me, it’s a great opportunity to advance professionally. But the best part is that there are at least 20 FLINTA in each of 6 countries who are willing to actively change something about the imbalance in the music industry!” – Katharina Fennesz
“For me, the MEWEM mentorship program comes at just the right time. To orient and establish oneself in a rapidly changing music business world requires, among other things, a high degree of knowledge transfer and networking. This is exactly what MEWEM provides. The program makes an important contribution to empowerment and gender equality. We need more of that!” – Elisabeth Maria Thornton (Liz Metta)
“I am very excited to be a part of this. Not only are the mentors who are participating incredibly inspiring, it’s so good to be in a group of like-minded people and have a safe space where women can share and ask questions. I feel very well taken care of.” – Nina Braith
The workshop day at the end of November had to be postponed due to the pandemic and will take place on December 17th (online). The topic is: “Confident negotiation and conflict resolution”, designed by Karin Wolf from the Institute for Cultural Concepts. Music-specific situations will be staged, such as a contract or fee negotiation. Afterwards, Theresa Langner, co-founder of the successful label Assim Records, will talk about her entry into management and will be available for any topic-specific questions. In February, the well-known “Michel’s Musikstammtisch” will focus on MEWEM and will specifically draw attention to FLINTA’s promotion opportunities in the industry.
We are pleased to report that tangible results have already been recorded for numerous mentees and mentors – from international networking to internships to mentoring works.
MEWEM EUROPE is a project carried out with the support of the Creative Europe Programme. The European Commission’s support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.