KISMIF Conference

KEYLECTURE | ‘From Rock’n’Roll High School to LISTEN: Past and present feminist music activism in Melbourne’, by Catherine Strong

Abstract
This paper will examine two waves of grassroots feminist activity in the Melbourne music scene. Rock’n’Roll High School and ‘Grot Grrrl’ adopted ideas from Riot Grrrl as a way to claim space for women in music-making in Melbourne in the mid- to late-1990s. In the past two years, the LISTEN collective has emerged to inhabit much of the same space, but with different emphases and priorities. In comparing and contrasting these two feminist movements, I will draw on work dealing with the marginalisation of women in music scenes and feminist theory to explore the relationship between these two groups of activists, and the contexts in which they arose. I will also attempt to position them in terms of collective memory, both in relation to how they remember (previous waves of women’s activism, particularly how LISTEN remembers Riot Grrrl, Grot Grrrl and Rock’n’Roll High School) and how they are remembered. This is particularly significant in the current wave, as one of the foremost goals of LISTEN is to document the activities of women musicians as a way of creating a record to counter the prevailing male-centric music histories in Australia. I will attempt to answer the question: do feminist activists in music have an understanding of previous manifestations of their movement, and what consequence does such awareness – or lack of awareness – have for their ability to achieve their stated goals?

Keywords: feminist activity, Grot Grrrl, Melbourne music scene, LISTEN .

 

Biographical note of Catherine Strong >>>

 

 

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