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.

Get your name on the list for our October event!

We have a very exciting collaboration with international dance music curators Boiler Room to bring you a special fundraising party on Wed, Oct 17th!  As a leading music platform, Boiler Room events book up within days, so if you would like to attend please email names to clearlinesfestival@gmail.com as soon as you can!
  • This event is meant to draw attention to sexual harassment & assault within the club, music, and festival scenes — and highlight the need for gender equality in these industries.
  • Line Up TBC (but all very exciting DJs)
  • Open Dance-floor Policy: By joining us in this space, you agree to celebrate and respect everyone in the Boiler Room community – regardless of race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, physical ability, gender identity or sexual orientation.
  • BYOB
  • Free to attend, but suggested donation £5 on the door. All proceeds go towards helping us continue to run Clear Lines events.
Boiler Room, Bethnal Green
Wednesday 17th October, 2018
7.00pm-10.00pm

The sun is shining, cakes have been freshly baked – Day 3 of Clear Lines Festival is about to begin!

Clear Lines Festival is now in full swing. Yesterday at Day 2 we started the day with a panel of legal experts from festival sponsors international law firm McAllister Olivarius discussing how we can challenge sexual harassment and damaging workplace cultures, as well as positive developments in the law on revenge pornography.

media

At our media panel event we had a great conversation with journalists from the BBC and The Telegraph about the role of media coverage of sexual assault, complete with important feedback from audience members on how journalists can improve reporting.

theatre

The powerful plays in our Theatre Night really reflected the diversity of experiences of sexual violence, from the complexities of relationships involving domestic violence to questions around true “recovery” from abuse.

The festival has also been featured on Channel 4 news! Co-founders Winnie Li and Dr Nina Burrowes were interviewed and you can watch the clip online here.

And now for Day 3….

We are kicking off today with Dr Nina Burrowes and Survivors Together as they address the incredibly important issue of how we can talk to children about sexual abuse to keep them safe, followed by a discussion with our festival Artists-in-Residence Johanna Ward and Ela Xora about their exhibited work at the festival, and Johanna will also be creating a new piece of art during the day in her pop-up photo studio.

To reduce the incidence of sexual assault, we need to understand why perpetrators commit these crimes, and at 3pm Dr Nina Burrowes will be tackling the difficult issue of the psychology behind sexual offenders.

Nest at 4.30pm we have a brilliant panel of survivors, activists, criminal justice professionals and others to answer the questions about sexual assault that you’ve never had a chance to ask. This will be followed at 6.30pm by our event looking at how men can be part of the solution to sexual violence, with White Ribbon Campaign, National Ugly Mugs Scheme and blogger Chris Packe.

And to close – a nice bit of comedy! We’ve had lots of questions about how we can make jokes and laugh at sexual assault – well tonight you can find out! Join Tiff Stevenson, Sarah Kendall, Josie Long, and Stuart Black as they poke fun at cultural attitudes towards rape, sexuality, and the objectification of women. We have a few tickets left so grab yours here.

Here is the full Clear Lines Programme from Thursday 30th July to Sunday 2nd of August. Check out the schedule too.

You can still book your tickets on Eventbrite.

Follow the #clearlinesfest hashtag and @ClearLinesUK on Twitter for live updates throughout the weekend.

See you all later!

sexual assault let's talk about it_yellow (by alana@onroadmedia.org.uk)