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Diversity, inclusion and discrimination in Audio Engineering: perspectives from current research

27 November 2019 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm Bancroft Building, Queen Mary University of London, 327 Mile End Road, London, E1 4NS + Live streaming elsewhere
Diversity, inclusion and discrimination in Audio Engineering: perspectives from current research

Date: 27th November 2019
Time: 18:00 for a 18:30 start
Multiple Venues:

  • Bancroft Building, Queen Mary University of London, 327 Mile End Road, London, E1 4NS
  • Live Streaming where questions will be directed to Queen Mary, University of London
    • Caedmon G13, Headingley Campus, Leeds Beckett University, LS16 5LF
    • WH123, WH Building, Performance Hub, Walsall Campus, Gorway Road, Walsall, University of Wolverhampton, WS1 3BD
Speaker: Grace Brooks

You’ve (probably) seen the numbers: only about 5% of Audio Engineers are women (Mathew, 2016); we’re not even sure how many Audio Engineers are non-white. What might not be clear is why this is the case, what it means for Audio Engineering, and what can be done about it. To address the first question, I will review the current literature on diversity in Audio Engineering, placing the profession in an ideological and historical context that conceives of both technology and sound as masculine. I will then present findings from within the management literature showing that diversity is closely associated with positive organizational outcomes (Østergaard, 2011; Young, 2018; Armstrong, 2010; Pitts, 2009; Ensher, 2001). This literature also suggests that recruiting diverse populations to Audio Engineering programs will not be enough to ensure diversity in the field, but that it is also crucial to reduce the experiences of systemic discrimination and micro aggressions that underrepresented groups encounter in their work. In order to do this on an organizational level it is necessary to have a detailed and comprehensive understanding of what these experiences of discrimination are (Cooper, 2010). To this end, I will present an ongoing large-scale survey project designed to document the discrimination and micro aggressions experienced by Audio Engineering professionals in studio engineering for music, as well as to understand how these experiences are related to demographic factors (such as minority status, sexual orientation, and gender). I will discuss the implications of the survey findings for the AES and other professional Audio Engineering institutions working to implement diversity and inclusion initiatives. Finally, I will end with a group discussion, inviting attendees to share their insights into this complex topic.

Grace Brooks is a PhD candidate in the School of Information Studies at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. Her PhD research uses conceptual models from within knowledge management and gender studies to explore the development and use of tacit knowledge (knowledge that can not be written down) by Audio Engineers. Grace’s academic background is in applied mathematics and biomedicine. She completed a Master’s degree in Biomedical Research at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in 2015 where she studied stochastic delayed dynamics and an undergraduate in Physics and Physiology at McGill in 2012. She is also an active experimental musician and has been working full-time as a front of house audio engineer for most of the last six years.

Before attending this talk, we invite you to fill out the survey ‘Sound Engineers’ and Producers’ Experiences of Micro Aggressions in the Recording Studio’, available here.
This research is being conducted by recording producer Dr. Amandine Pras and cultural sociologist Dr. Athena Elafros (both University of Lethbridge) in partnership with the Audio Engineering Society’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee and with the support of The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

To book a place for any of the three venues, please follow the Eventbrite link.

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