The importance of safe spaces in the club scene: Clear Lines and Boiler Room event this Wednesday

I think having a safer space policy is the very least you can do as a promoter or venue to make your stance on harassment clear and acknowledge the risks womxn take when stepping into your party.”

 – Martha, DJ, sound artist and documentary-maker. 

Our collaboration with international dance party curators Boiler Room this coming Wednesday 17th October has got us in the mood for a proper boogie. And we’re even more thrilled to announce a line-up of Boiler Room faves who will be ensuring we can dance the night away together whilst raising funds and awareness for Clear Lines’ mission to create open, honest and inclusive conversation around sexual assault.

The event is guest list only and it’s filling up fast, so remember to email us at clearlinesfestival@gmail.com as soon as possible to join us on the night. And in case you haven’t been persuaded yet, we thought we’d let one of Wednesday night’s amazing artists, Martha, do the talking. A member of our team recently spoke to Martha; DJ, sound artist and documentary maker from Peckham, who shared with us her thoughts on safe spaces and the role of music in creating open discussion.

     How did you get into DJing/performing?

I have always been very active in searching for new music. I started playing on Reprezent Radio (which was in Peckham at the time, where I’m from) when I was 16 and began working in radio production a few years after. Radio is my favourite medium and programming my show comes quite easy to me, but it took me ages to learn to DJ and be confident with it, to be honest it’s something I’m still experimenting with and developing.

     Who are your role models, and why are role models important?

I’m really lucky to have some amazing mentors in my life who have helped me realise my potential and bring my ideas to life. They’re not necessarily people in the public eye, and that’s important. Whilst it’s great to have figures on Instagram and in the media to look up to, they can feel quite far away. Celebrate and appreciate the real ones around you who want to share their experience and their knowledge. Role models who look like you are the first step in helping you visualise yourself doing something you’re interested in and passionate about, but the hard work will come from you!

     Have you ever felt as though your career in the music industry has been hindered in some way because of who you are and how you identify?

Any blocks I faced coming through in the music industry are similar to issues womxn face in a great number of industries. These things are not specific to music and everyone in every workplace should be considerate of the daily battles womxn face just trying to do their jobs.

     Do you enjoy nights out as a punter as well as DJing? How do you feel when you are out in a club crowd? Are there specific nights that feel more comfortable than others? 

It’s not something I have one answer for because each scenario is different. I’m a very shy person and being in crowds can be quite overwhelming, but I love experiencing music on an amazing sound-system and soaking up the atmosphere DJ’s create during their sets. That love often outweighs my anxieties. so you’ll find me at the back of Room 2 Corsica studios at the hyper-dub night, in this groove in the wall that’s just enough space for my body.

     What are your thoughts on specifically ‘safe space’ clubs or nights? Do you think they work?

I think having a safer space policy is the very least you can do as a promoter or venue to make your stance on harassment clear and acknowledge the risks womxn take when stepping into your party. Putting a poster up saying you have a safer space policy is not the same as having a safer space policy. The staff need to be briefed and trained to deal with scenarios that may come up on the night and the whole club team should be on the same page! I think these policies are good for raising awareness and starting conversations with those who might not have considered safety in a club environment before.

     How would you/do you create safe spaces to make club environments more inclusive, particularly for people who have had negative experiences in terms of sexual harassment, assault or violence?

I’m no expert but most of it is just basic respect and common sense. Listening to individuals who have been affected is essential, and (if they’re happy for you to) elevate their voices, then roll out any practical support they ask for.

     Clear Lines aims to create discussion on the themes of sexual violence and consent through the arts. Do you think music has the power to create discussion?

Yes, that’s a huge part of music’s functionality. But at the same time we should also consider that music is an escape for many people who have been through a lot.

Martha is a DJ, sound artist and documentary maker from Peckham, south east London. Martha plays on NTS every Friday 3-4PM and produces The Hour podcast for RA. You can find out more about Martha on her Instagram page and on Facebook

Martha will be joined on Wednesday 17th October by renowned DJs BBZ, Lil C and Manara, who will be bringing the sound to Clear Lines. Remember to get your name on the guest list by emailing us at clearlinesfestival@gmail.com.

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