Structural inequalities do not stop at the music industry. For this reason, MEWEM Europa – Mentoring Programme for Women Entrepreneurs in the Music Industry – was launched. As one of seven partner organizations in six countries, mica – music austria hosts the EU-funded mentoring program for Austria and provides its expertise. MEWEM Europa is additionally supported by the Federal Ministry of Arts, Culture, Civil Service and Sport.
TEN MENTORS, TEN MENTEES
In particular, women and people who define themselves as trans or non-binary are in
leadership positions and are essential in the music world. The customized mentoring program MEWEM Europa aims to help precisely this target group, also known as FLINTA in German-speaking countries, get started in the music business. The decision to expand the target group to include trans or non-binary people is obvious: diversity enriches the industry.
What does a 360° degree music agency do? How do I start a label? Where can I get reliable information on copyright? At the beginning of their careers, female professionals are often confronted with questions, but don’t know who to ask. MEWEM Europa connects experienced female industry experts from all business sectors of the music industry with ten mentees who are at the beginning of their careers. The four-month program supports participants in their professional and personal development and lays the foundation for a future network based on trust and respect. Under the direction of Regina Fisch and Rainer Praschak (mica – music austria), mentors include Monika Eigensperger (ORF), Eva Fischer (sound:frame, CIVA), Annemarie Reisinger-Treiber (Parramatta) and Angelika Schopper (NÖ Kulturlandeshauptstadt St. Pölten GmbH).
EMPOWERMENT AND SAFE SPACE
The mentors include cultural managers, curators, music and media managers. They describe MEWEM Europa primarily as empowerment and a safe space. The clear mission of the program brings people together in a group where, although they are all at different stages of their journey, some of these paths are similar. Those involved appreciate finding themselves in such a valuable network. The exchange between the mentees and their mentors works very well and the mutual encouragement is seen as positive. The mentors describe the meetings with the mentees as extremely successful moments.
As part of the mentoring program, regular meetings are organized to impart knowledge, such as the workshop in December 2021 on the topic of “Negotiating confidently and solving conflicts”, led by Karin Wolf (Institute for Cultural Concepts). Afterwards, label operator and co-founder of ASSIM records, Theresa Langner, was available to answer questions on the topic of “Modern Label Work”.
ROCKET PROPelling FOR THE PROFESSIONALIZATION OF THE MUSIC BUSINESS
The ten mentees also report very positive experiences so far. They describe MEWEM Europa as a rocket propulsion for professionalization in the music business, as they can work on specific topics with their mentors and receive well-founded feedback. Being personally accompanied by inspiring role models brings them great added value in addition to the pure transfer of knowledge, also in terms of their own artistic creativity. After all, the group of mentees also includes people who are artistically active themselves. All participants find building a strong network to be enriching on a personal level, but also socially relevant. Overall, the freshly established network is found to be very inspiring.
The ten mentors and the ten mentees are:
Angelika Schopper & Damaris Richerts, Annemarie Treiber & Marietta Born, Astrid Exner & Claudia Oczenski, Danny Kufner & Itta Francesca Ivellio-Vellin, Eva Fischer & Katharina Fennesz, Monika Eigensperger & Nina Braith, Sandra Walkenhofer & Katharina Schwab, Tatjana Domany & Paulina Parvanov, Theresa Langner & Nicole Jaeger, Tina Ruprechter & Maria Elisabeth Thornton.
MEWEM Meeting in Berlin
In late January 2022, mentors from this year’s program in Germany now met their counterparts from Austria, Romania, Spain, France and Belgium in Berlin. The meeting provided an opportunity for new ideas, concrete measures and reflections on the future of women in leadership positions.
“[…] All partners gathered for a meeting to discuss the progress of their local programs as well as to collect ideas for the future of MEWEM in each respective country. Various scenarios of transgression were explored and defined. Particular focus was given to the hub as a valuable dissemination and resources center for other organizations that are interested in conducting a mentorship program.
The resources that have been created, evaluated and tested in various years of mentoring women in the music business will be available soon for various organization and people in the industry that are dedicated to the structural changes that effective mentoring can bring.” – Regina Fisch (mica – music austria)
MEWEM Europa – Mentoring Programme for Women Entrepreneurs in the Music Industry is implemented with the support of the Creative Europe program of the European Union. Cooperating organizations are National Federation of Independent Labels – FÉLIN (France), Verband unabhängiger Musikunternehmer*innen – VUT (Germany), Wallonie-Bruxelles Musiques – WBM (Belgium), Asociatia Romanian Artists Worldwide – RAW Music (Romania), Mujeres de la Industria de la Música – MIM (Spain), Music Information Center Austria (Austria) and Le LABA (France).
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Translated from the German original by Arianna Fleur Alfreds.