A few weeks ago I came across a very interesting post on LinkedIn about something called Nine Muses Festival. A quick read between the lines was enough to convince me to book a spot and save March 8th for an event dedicated to women working in the creative arts. I took a course in the creative industries so the interest was not just personal but also professional. The event was co-founded by Spotify which was also a significant reason behind my decision. The people who know me and my passion for music will totally understand why. I saw this as a great opportunity to interact with them beyond their streaming service that I am heavily using and that I recommend to all music lovers out there. As days passed they started announcing their speakers on their social media profiles and my excitement grew stronger and stronger. I am not going to go through their programme or fully present their guests, this is nicely done on their website that I linked to a few rows above. The speakers I got to listen to are described as broadcasters, business women, media personalities, managers, performers, authors both from Sweden and from abroad. But I am going to give my view on how I lived this day.
So here I was in the morning with a hot cup of coffee in my hand, trying to ignore my annoying allergy burst and irritating back pain, and listening to what became one of the most inspirational events I’ve ever attended. One after the other, amazing women shared their stories, knowledge and experience with us, offered advice and presented facts. I did not expect to get a recipe for everything but I do like it when I am given something to think about and this is what happened today. Besides hearing great stories, taking part in a storytelling workshop with The Moth, I felt somehow challenged by what I heard and did. There were things that made me nod with approval, there were things I didn’t agree with but tried to understand why they would be useful and important for others, stories I could relate to and ideas that were new to me. Girl power comes in so many shapes and sizes, and the diversity of the speakers and their dissimilarity were even more inspirational. It showed that we can be persevering, we can dream, be weird, dare, be kind and positive, smile, be professional and confident, it showed that we work in different ways and that all this is OK. It presented empowering ideas but also ones that hurt, like the constant pressure on some women to prove something to somebody in order to gain credibility while most of the times men don’t have to do that. This was not presented as a universal truth, but the idea was touched upon, just like the one of the payment gap between different-gendered professionals. And even though everything was centered around women, men were not left out of the discussion, nor was their role in creating a more equal and better world for everybody involved. I also watched a pannel about the music industry where it was so nicely mentioned that music can transmit something, that I was instinctively sent back to my master’s thesis and my argument that music is not just noise, not just a mass product, it can also be used as a mean of communication, not just entertainment. And those two can be combined and work amazingly together. Besides the speakers I also got to mingle and talk to other members of the audience and hear some of their stories too. It occasionally got very personal and emotional from all sides involved, and it clearly showed just how much passion these persons put in what they are doing. All in all, Nine Muses Festival brought together a really interesting crowd.
I did expect the event to be more political, I wanted it to start a bigger debate, challenge more ideas and ideologies in a creative way. But this is just my approach on things because I used and still use music and popular culture/the creative arts in general to make sense of the world. But this was just the first edition of the festival, I can’t wait to attend the next ones!
The event as a whole was very well organised, top grade to everybody involved! I have some experience with making things tick in such situations and I know what great work hides behind something that at first sight seems fun and calm, but as the song says, still waters run deep, and the depths hide a lot of hard work and long hours.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend the concert of the evening with Zohra, Afghanistan’s first all-female orchestra, but I did get o hear their story during the morning session. I learnt that the members of the orchestra put their lives at risk in order to play their music. That was a kind reminder not to take things for granted, music in this case. Instead I came home and I started working on this post, and it wasn’t that easy to put down in words everything that has happened today, especially that now I am really paying the price of my ignorance of my allergy and back pain. I replaced wine and music with hot tea, antihistamins and painkillers.