GRID: Gender Research in Darmstadt
A think tank on diversity and gender equality issues taking place over the course of the Darmstädter Ferienkurse by initiative of Ashley Fure in collaboration with Neele Hülcker and Stella Veloce.
Project description on the Darmstadt Program Booklet by Ashley Fure:
The Darmstadt Archive. Proof the giants of our tiny world existed, their fossils etched in crackling records, crumpled photos, and hand-scribbled notes. When asked last year to confront this vast collection creatively, the question most pressing that came to my mind wasn’t what’s in the archive, but what isn’t. The thing is filled with year-by-year evidence of icons being made, their reputations forged through repeated recognition and pedestals perfectly poised for some to preach. But what stories weren’t written down? What history speaks in the cracks and absences in the archive? An impossibly vague question, perhaps, but one I thought I’d start chipping away at through the lens of gender. I wanted to see numbers. I’m sure we’ve all had the sense there weren’t many women around in those early years, but really, in hard data, what did it look like? How did the patterns shift over time? Where do we stand today, and where might we hope to move in the future?
With these questions in mind, I gathered a simple set of metrics charting (admittedly, and apologetically, binary) gender breakdowns of a few key areas: female/male ratios of compositions performed, lectures given, participants attended, and prizes won, each year of the festival. Joined by a host of collaborators, including Professor Georgina Born of Oxford University, we offer this harvested data now for the Darmstadt community to digest. Our aim is not to impose an interpretation, but to carve out time for collective, focused engagement with the information. Through a range of events, from round-table discussions to open space activities to ground up group publications, we hope to spark critical, communal reflection on the past, present, and speculative futures of the Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music.