Archive for March, 2017

Meet the XLR Collective: Beth

Name: Bethany Hamilton-Allotey

Campaign: Gender Equality

Areas of specialism: Vocalist

What made you apply to Change Creators: The XLR Collective? I’ve always had a passion for music, and the Change Creators course is a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness for an issue I feel strongly about in a creative way. I also really wanted to work with a group of people that weren’t afraid to be outspoken about these issues, and to talk about how we can overcome these challenges in the future.

What are you up to when you’re not campaign developing with Change Creators? I spend a lot of time going to concerts and gigs, opening my musical horizon even further. I also love going to art galleries and seeing independent films whenever I can. Bristol has such an incredible arts scene, and I really enjoy getting to know my home city in that way.

What aspect of Change Creators are you most looking forward to? I’m looking forward to our three day residential trip, as it would be really interesting to experience the music scene and how they campaign in a different country. I’m also looking forward to speaking to other charities that would be able to help us raise awareness for our cause.

Favourite song? Sara Tavares – Dam Bo

Favourite music genre? Jazz

An artist that inspires me is Krystal Warren, because she is willing to be completely authentic and original as a female artist, with the most powerful lyrics. She is herself, and it really feels that she’s creating true art within her music.

Best live performance/event (either attended or performed at / and why?) When I saw JP Cooper at the Trinity Centre, his voice blew my mind! I felt that his music really moved me, and the emotion that he can portray when he sings is stunning.

Where do you see yourself / want to see yourself at the end of the programme? I would like to get my confidence back, and to know more clearly about the direction I would like to take in the industry. Whether it be music or campaigning, it will be nice to see where the Change Creators course will lead me to.

Meet the XLR Collective: Will

Name: William Sissons

Campaign: Gender Equality

Areas of specialism: Bass Guitar, Music Technology, Events

What made you apply to Change Creators: The XLR Collective? I wanted to challenge myself, confront the issues that I care about head on, and learn skills that will have a positive influence in my daily life.

What are you up to when you’re not campaign developing with Change Creators? I like to gig a lot, playing bass in several bands and at regular jam nights, while teaching on the side. I’m also a serial live music fan and sometimes put on my own events. I have a part time job at a small business selling edible cake toppers and I’m addicted to travelling and watching films.

What aspect of Change Creators are you most looking forward to? I’m looking forward to meeting really interesting people that challenge or re-enforce my own beliefs and learning practical skills that will help my professional development.

Favourite song? Impossible question, but Maggot Brain by Funkadelic always floors me every time I listen to it.

Favourite music genre? Also impossible to answer, but lately I’ve been listening to a lot of bands that straddle both Jazz and underground EDM (e.g. Thundercat, Comet Is Coming). I’m also a big fan of Neo-Soul, Folk and Mathrock.

 An artist which inspires me is Hiatus Kaiyote because of several reasons. Firstly, their music is pushing boundaries with use of both technology and technical skill, while retaining the original ethos of jazz and soul music. The band have found a sound unlike any other and the rhythm section is incredibly tight and play off each other, which appeals to me as a bass player. Finally, the front-woman emanates individuality, originality and artistry.

Best live performance/event (either attended or performed at / and why?) I grew up listening to Heavy Metal, so as soon as I was old enough I started going to see Metal shows at big venues and stadiums. I always found a certain type of euphoric energy at Heavy Metal shows that I never quite got from other genres. The one band that stands out was Lamb Of God at Bristol’s O2 Academy in 2009. The energy in the room was palpable and they had the audience in the palm of their hands. It’s been a source of inspiration ever since.

Where do you see yourself / want to see yourself at the end of the programme? I see myself having more confidence in expressing my opinions and ideas in a constructive and inclusive manner. I’d also like to use the practical skills we develop from the programme to enable my other musical projects to flourish. My biggest ambition is to start a DIY label in the jazz/electronic scene, which thrives off collaboration and challenges the status quo!

Change Creators: The XLR Collective – Barcelona Delegation

Earlier this week, the young musicians and creatives taking part in this year’s Change Creators programme spent an amazing three days in Barcelona to learn more about gender equality initiatives in the Catalan city and use their creative skills to develop new music in response to their experiences.

The packed programme included meeting gender equality activists, taking to the streets to research people’s opinions about gender stereotypes and sexism, and writing and recording two original songs – which were broadcast on radio less than 24 hours later!

As well as helping the Collective to consider how they could use music to tackle issues relating to gender inequality, the delegation visit gave them plenty of opportunities to test their leadership skills and work together in small teams – two key elements of the seventh month programme.

Read on for a full write-up of their trip and follow them on Twitter at @change_creators. We’ve no doubt you’ll be hearing much more from them as the programme develops…

Day One: Monday 27th March 2017

The 11 members of the Collective – Beth, Bex, Courtney, Jay, Jerome, Maya, Molly, Millie, Milo, Olivia and Will – were at Bristol Airport bright and early for their flight to Barcelona.  Unfortunately, brightness didn’t extend to the weather, as heavy fog over Bristol caused a 2.5 hour delay.

Upon arrival, the group headed straight for their accommodation. But within minutes of embarking on the train into central Barcelona, the two themes of their campaign – music and gender inequality – were brought into sharp relief as a group of male musicians busking in the carriage began blowing kisses at the female passengers and giving them unwanted attention.


Day Two: Tuesday 28th March 2017

The group’s first full day began by meeting Elena Tarifa, a journalist, feminist and social activist who is part of the Barcelona en Comú municipalist platform.  She explained that the city recently elected its first female mayor and detailed some of recent campaigns to promote gender inequality and combat gender violence.  During the question and answer session Elena discussed a range of issues with the Collective, including: perceptions of feminism in Barcelona, ‘macho’ culture, the impact that Spain’s economic crisis has had on men and women, and the perpetuation of gender stereotypes in the media.

The Collective’s next stop was Antoni Gaudi’s breath-taking Sagranda Familia.  The group admired the soaring, twisting towers and took a selfie (or ten!) before heading into the nearby park to chat to tourists and locals.  As well as asking them about the local music scene, the Collective were keen to find out if people thought men and women were treated equally where they lived.  They also photographed billboards and adverts they felt portrayed men and women in stereotypical ways or as sexual objects.

After being split into two teams, the Collective got to work on writing two new songs in response to everything they’ve heard and seen so far – both in Bristol and Barcelona.  With the support of sound engineer Marcel at music studio BCN Tracks, the Collective recorded two original pieces. The first team, led by Will, created the ‘t(r)opical hip hop‘ tune ‘Philosophy’, with vocals by Bex, rap by Jay, drums and soundscapes by Jerome and Olivia, guitar by Molly and Will on bass. While reflecting on the same experiences, the other team chose a different sound, creating the acoustic ‘Let Me Be’, featuring vocals and harmonies by Beth, Courtney and Millie and guitar by Milo. Will lent his support on bass, while producer and team leader Maya oversaw the writing and rehearsal process.

To round off the day, the Collective visited an open mic night.  After watching some of the other acts – including a comedian whose jokes made the group even more certain that gender equality should be the priority issue for their campaign – Millie took to the stage and performed two numbers with the house band!


Day Three: Wednesday 29th March 2017

Another beautiful morning and another busy day!  The Collective made their way to The Basement to make use of their open-plan space for their morning workshops.  KWMC’s Communications Officer Rachel kicked off the session and supported the group to reflect on their mission and start drafting the framework of a strategy to communicate it.  Following up on their last session, Rachel invited the two teams to quiz each other about their values, inspirations and songs in preparation for their first live radio interview later in the day.

Videographer and former Change Creator Jay Carter-Coles then helped the group come up with ideas for music videos to accompany their songs.  After a detour to see the magnificent Arc de’Triomf, the group recorded some footage for their films in the winding alleys of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter.


The last stop on their tour of Barcelona was Barcelona City FM to meet DJs Jim Kent and T-Bird.  Both teams were interviewed live on air, sharing the story of the programme so far and telling listeners of the English-speaking show what inspired them to create their songs.  Rounding off the visit to the station was a workshop about gender and the media with DJ Michelle Hardiman.  Michelle shared some hard-hitting statistics that highlighted the disparity between the number of men and women working in a range of roles in the radio, music and film industries.  She also shared some ideas of what could be done to change things.

Over dinner that evening the group had the opportunity to reflect on what they’d learned and the direction they might want their social action project to take when they return.


KWMC would like to thank all of the organisations that took time to meet with the XLR Collective and share their experiences and expertise. Watch this space to see what’s next for the group!

Meet the XLR Collective: Milo

Name: Milo Clack

Campaign: Gender Equality

Areas of specialism: Vocalist (rap and metal), lyricist/activist

What made you apply to Change Creators: The XLR Collective? I want to push myself to develop in every way that I can and would’ve regretted missing the opportunity to do something extra with my life. I’m also incredibly passionate about music and issues/injustices that people face on a daily basis – I’d love to be able to make a positive change around some of them.

What are you up to when you’re not campaign developing with Change Creators? I go to Access to Music college three days a week, where I study Music Performance. Through this I formed a band and therefore spend a fair amount of my time writing new material and refining our repertoire in order to be ready for eventually getting out there and performing. I also work at the Bristol O2 Academy and I’m pretty much always listening to music! Apart from that I love to be around other people and chat about almost everything. I love the outdoors, so as soon as there’s some sun I have no doubt I’ll be out playing football whenever I get the chance.

What aspect of Change Creators are you most looking forward to? I’m most looking forward to seeing how all our creativity is going to eventually merge together and watching us grow as a collective. I’m also excited to see what kind of impact we’re going to have on other people.

Favourite song? As an ever-changing being who needs different music at different times, this comes as a difficult question as my favourite song is always dependent on my headspace. Having said that, if I had to just pick one out for now I suppose it’d be Gojira – The Axe, because it’s a song that just gives me something that I don’t think any other song is capable of, and fills me with such willpower and determination. Whenever I’m not so confident, I can usually depend on this song to give me a well needed lift as well as the belief of self-worth, and that my actions can have an incredible impact on others.

Favourite Music Genre? Metal.

An artist which inspires me is Gojira. They’re without a doubt my all time favourite band for so many reasons – I could go on forever! To summarise, they’ve made me who I am today. I try to be compassionate and open minded in every situation because of what they’ve taught me, and they have made me feel more than I thought ever possible through the power of music. The music alone is so powerful and incredibly innovative, but the ethos and meaning behind it has given me such passion to want to do something with my life and not waste a single moment. I aspire to be the best I can because of these guys, and although an outsider may just see them as another “angry” metal band they can’t understand, they’ve given me such determination to spread love and understanding in times of such disparity and despair. They’ve taught me life is not as it always seems and that “all illness can be healed”. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without them.

Best live performance/event (either attended or performed at / and why?) Gojira, Gojira and Gojira. I first saw them in 2012, and that was my first ever “proper” gig. When they played L’Enfant Sauvage it’s like it awoke something in me that I had no idea was there, and it was an incredibly profound experience. This is what made them my favourite band. Now almost five years later I’ve finally seen them again – twice within a week! Both venues were sold out which was amazing to see, as they’ve finally gained the exposure they’ve always deserved. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a crowd so vivid and enthused – the guitarist even said at the Bristol gig he felt it was one of the best in his so far 21 year career.

Where do you see yourself / want to see yourself at the end of the programme? Personally, I try to live in the moment as much as I can. It’s good to have goals and aspirations, but ultimately I know that nothing will ever turn out quite as expected. All I can say is that, by the end of this, I will have learnt a lot and will be wiser and very proud of what I’ve achieved. I hope to have met many inspiring people along the way and make some lifelong friends as well. I truly believe this programme will give me a different perspective on life.

Meet the XLR Collective: Millie

Name: Millie Grant

Campaign: Gender Equality

Areas of specialism: Vocalist

What made you apply to Change Creators: The XLR Collective? The chance to make a positive change, go abroad, and meet more likeminded people.

What are you up to when you’re not campaign developing with Change Creators? I’m a full time student with Access to Music so I’m usually studying. I also regularly go out and about in Bristol to enjoy the music scene.

What aspect of Change Creators are you most looking forward to? Getting our project off the ground, I’m really excited to see what it develops into.

Favourite song? DOPE LEMON – Honey Bones.

Favourite Music Genre? I don’t have one in particular but my favourites at the moment are indie folk, psychedelic rock, dub reggae and drum and bass.

An artist which inspires me is Elena Tonra from the band ‘Daughter’. [She] inspires my music and has helped me to create some of my own pieces. This is because of her lyricism. The subject matter is quite dark and truthful, and the metaphors she uses are haunting. The honesty of her writing is admirable and made me also want to be the sort of artist that can be related to.

Best live performance/event (either attended or performed at / and why?) I always enjoy the festival circuit, for me playing at Shambala was awesome. This was largely due to the people that you get in an audience at a festival, they’re all cheering you on and are all determined to have a good time. The energy from the audience always makes it easier to deliver a good performance and an enjoyable one.

Where do you see yourself / want to see yourself at the end of the programme? I see myself with the skills, knowledge and confidence to go forward and actively pursue being a teacher.

Meet the XLR Collective: Molly

Name: Molly Perryman

Campaign: Gender Equality

Areas of specialism: Drums, guitar, bass

What made you apply to Change Creators: The XLR Collective?  A friend who attended the course the previous year recommended to me as he couldn’t speak more highly of it.  He told me how he can now speak in public without a worry because he gained confidence and I thought I’d love to be able to do that too!

What are you up to when you’re not campaign developing with Change Creators?  Writing music with my alt-rock band Rum & Ghost. Also composing my own electronic/rock songs and writing music video ideas.

What aspect of Change Creators are you most looking forward to? Getting to play more music and also maybe organising an event.

Favourite song? All Star by Smash Mouth.

Favourite Music Genre? Rock.

An artist which inspires me is M83 because Anthony Gonzalez of M83 , in my opinion, is absolutely one of the best composers because of his ability to write amazing songs that are used as soundtracks and trailer music. I don’t think he intentionally writes for productions but the music is so moving and emotional, it seems a lot of companies want a piece of M83. I would love to make music that can enhance a message and bring out emotion in people, just like M83.

Best live performance/event (either attended or performed at / and why?) I once performed a song I wrote at Colston Hall for my school’s Christmas concert. It was amazing as I had my friends supporting me by performing my music whilst 100+ school children sang my chorus lyrics to over 500 people in the audience.

Where do you see yourself / want to see yourself at the end of the programme? I hope to be a more confident, well rounded individual at the end of the programme. I would like to be in a position where I know I can face any challenges or adventures that come my way.

Meet the XLR Collective: Maya

Name: Maya-Blue Gamble

Campaign: Gender Equality

Areas of specialism: Live Events, festivals

What made you apply to Change Creators: The XLR Collective? I applied to Change Creators because I wanted to feel more confident as a leader. Its rare that you see long term opportunities, I’d never seen a program so dedicated to individual development. My brain is literally overflowing with ideas and I’m excited to learn how to effectively transform my creative thinking into a reality, and make important social change at the same time! In the words of Kool & The Gang ‘We need peace, we need unity, we need peace, for you and for me.’

What are you up to when you’re not campaign developing with Change Creators? At the moment I’m at Motion on the weekends and work with my pops in the week. I produce music events and go to as many gigs as I can. Large proportions of my days are spent listening to music. I’m from the kind of house where there’s some kind of sound system in every room including the shed. So when I’m home tunes are blazing. I love to cook vibrant food and baking is my favourite solution to boredom. I have truly inspiring friends so I spend a lot of time with them. To be honest I’m just a bit of a thinker, I love to come up with ideas about events, festival infrastructure, products, projects…all sorts. This time of year I’m eagerly waiting for the festival season to kick off. When it’s does I’ll be in my element again.

What aspect of Change Creators are you most looking forward to? Learning, meeting new people, hearing their stories. Plotting the ins and outs of our campaigns. Building relationships with likeminded people. Not that I’m in a rush for the programme to end, but I can’t wait to look back and see what we’ve accomplished, I want to feel like we’ve changed at least one person’s thinking around the realities of gender equality.

Favourite song? No comment: hardest question to ask a music enthusiast!

Favourite music genre? I’ve got time for so many genres of music, My favourite could depend on what kind of mood I’m in… The weather… Who am I playing music too? Generally I listen to Music of Black origin e.g. Grime, Dancehall, Afro-beat, Soul, HipHop, Jazz, and Funk. But I also love House, Techno and Dance music in general. My family have also brought me up listening to global beats, so I love those international sounds. An artist which inspires me is Eyrka Badou because she’s unapologetically true to herself in everything she does: her music, her attitude, her activism.

Best live performance/event (either attended or performed at / and why?) Glastonbury Festival is a massive part of my existence. I’m part of a generation of festival babies. I’ve never missed a year and hope for that not to change. I love getting back in that field with the crew who are like a massive weird extended family to me and making it all happen. Both me and my sister now work at Glastonbury within the Silver Hayes Area as assistant programmers. We focus on and bring in underrepresented genres and breaking the freshest of talent. Glastonbury/Silver Hayes has truly shaped my values and who I am today.

Where do you see yourself / want to see yourself at the end of the programme? I see myself fired up for more social change. I think as soon as were done I’ll be thinking about the next thing I can do to make a difference in my community. I’ll feel comfortable calling myself an activist! I will have some sound new friends which is exciting. I will be a stronger facilitator and leader.

Meet the XLR Collective: Jerome

Name: Jerome Barrs-James

Campaign: Gender Equality

Areas of specialism: DJ Producer

 What made you apply to Change Creators: The XLR Collective?  I heard about it through college and the concept behind it appealed to me – of using music as a medium to discuss certain issues.

What are you up to when you’re not campaign developing with Change Creators? Normally studying at dBs or messing around at home on Ableton.

What aspect of Change Creators are you most looking forward to? I’m looking forward to finding out about how change can occur with regards to the issues being discussed and what both we can do collectively and how I can help individually with achieving this. I’ve never been to Spain before so that’s pretty exciting!

Favourite song? It changes pretty often but at the moment it’s The Flute Tune by Hidden Agenda.

Favourite music genre? I listen to a lot of electronic music which boils down to things like Jungle/Drum & Bass, Hip-Hop, Dubstep, Techno and I like to explore other genres outside of this such as Dub, Funk, Jazz & Soul so that I can find something good for sampling in a track.

An artist who inspires me is Break Because his work rate as a producer is baffling and his style is one that is all his own.

Best live performance/event (either attended or performed at / and why?) Last year I went to Boomtown Fair and the Banghai Palace stage was particularly astonishing, as it must have been at least 50 feet tall and had fire shooting out of it from about 15 different places!

Where do you see yourself / want to see yourself at the end of the programme? Hopefully with a more developed understanding of the issues that Bristol and other places face and in a better informed position with regards to how to challenge it.

Meet the XLR Collective: Courtney

 Name: Courtney Bicker

Campaign: Gender Equality

Areas of specialism: Vocals & Events Management

 What made you apply to Change Creators: The XLR Collective? I really wanted to meet some new people that are as passionate about music as I am and I was really interested in making a change through music and feeling like I’ve made a difference.

What are you up to when you’re not campaign developing with Change Creators? I am currently a music performance student at dBs music and I am the vocalist in my indie band ‘Hey Saturn’. I am hopefully going to study events management at BIMM.

What aspect of Change Creators are you most looking forward to?  I’m most looking forward to seeing what it is we create by the end of the programme and the impact that it has, as well as meeting lots of interesting people.

Favourite song? Genesis by Grimes.

Favourite Music Genre? A little bit of everything but mostly Indie and Grunge.

An artist who inspires me is Grimes because she has faced sexism in the music industry as she was not taken seriously as a producer and she wants to change how the music industry treats women.

Best live performance/event (either attended or performed at / and why?) Reading Festival 2012  was my first festival and I got to see several of my favourite bands such as Paramore, You Me At Six and The Cure. It was also amazing seeing how connected everyone in the crowd was and the energy everyone had.

Where do you see yourself / want to see yourself at the end of the programme? I see myself as a more confident, openminded and informed person through being part of the collective. I would also like to keep in contact with the people I have met on the programme and maybe work with them again on future projects.

Change Creators: The XLR Collective – Communications Planning

On 20th March the XLR Collective focused on communications planning and how they might start to tell the story of their project. It was their final session before they jet to Barcelona to meet activists, campaigners and musicians working on the international stage. 

During the session the group worked with KWMC’s Communications Officer Rachel to practice ‘elevator pitches’: short introductions to the Change Creators programme and the issue they’re passionate about tackling. 

Some of the key questions included:

What are the key points we want to convey?
Do we use any ambiguous words or concepts that might need more explanation?
How can we keep things short avoid the temptation to ramble on?!
How can we make sure our conversations and dialogues are meaningful – not people talking at each other?

The group recently decided that they want to explore the issue of gender inequality; as part of their leadership training they will meet professionals working on gender equality initiatives in Barcelona before creating their own music in response to the experience.

The pitches will come in especially handy when the Collective visit an English-speaking radio show – follow the group on social media next week to see how they get on and look out for the Barcelona update coming next month!
@change_creators @xlrfest

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