Guardian Masterclasses and Dark Mofo present pleasure and pain: a music industry workshop

If you’re planning to attend Dark Mofo and you’re interested in learning more about the ins and outs of the music business, this one-day crash course is definitely worth your while.

The Masterclass aims to demystify the industry and explain how all the parts work together and how you can build a portfolio of skills - attendees will hear from a mix of inspiring speakers, some of the best in the biz, who will share their wisdom and lessons learned. They will outline key practical tools and tips of the trade to arm you with the knowledge you’ll need to leap into the industry with confidence. The day will end with a networking exercise and a chance to get acquainted before heading out the enjoy a gig from UK rock band Savages and the infamous Blacklist afterparty.

The tutors include Kate Hennessy (freelance journalist and Guardian critic), Meagan Loader (Content Director for triple j’s Digital Networks), Lorna Clarkson (Director Kinderling radio station and ex FBI), Steph Harmon (Guardian Culture Editor and ex editor of Junkee and The Brag), Tory Loudon ( Guardian Head of Programs, ex Sydney Opera House and CarriageWorks producer), Hannah Fox (Dark Mofo Creative Associate, Blacklist curator and Co-Director of creative agency Supple Fox) and Pip Stafford is a media artist and producer.

Attendees will get an insight into music criticism, audience engagement strategies, programming/curation and the nuts and bolts of setting up your own music business whether it’s a radio station, a festival or an independent label. The first ten people to book will have the option to send their 350-400 word music review of the Savages’ show at Dark Mofo to Kate Hennessy, the Guardian Australia’s music critic, who will provide personal feedback and tips.

This course is for you if...

  • You are interested in music programming
  • You’re a writer who wants to become a music critic
  • You want to know more about festival curation
  • You’re an event organiser who wants to engage and capture an audience

Course description

This course is about bringing certain roles and skills out of the shadows and into the light. You’ll be able to consider how they might apply to your current work or work you may do in the future. It is about de-mystifying roles, understanding how the different parts work together, how you can diversify your skills and how to find your voice and space in this industry. Kate Hennessy’s music writing workshop will help you to identify the six core skill any critic needs, as well as what it takes to write great live reviews, record reviews, interviews and headlines.

Topics on the day include:

  • how do you become a music programmer, curator, festival curator, music critic - different career paths and tips on how to move across areas & build skills
  • how do you write a music review and more generally - put music into words
  • how do you pitch a story, pitch a band or event to clients/programmers/editors
  • what do you need to know about digital content and how are things changing?
  • how do you find your voice/space in a crowded industry
  • how to balance what you love with what you do as business
  • what are the key take away tips from artists, curators, programmers and producers - little gems they wish they had known

Tutor profiles

Kate Hennessy has been a freelance journalist for a decade and writing about music for 15. She teaches Guardian Masterclass ‘How to be a music journalist’. Kate’s music writing is published in The Guardian, ABC Arts, Sydney Morning Herald, Mess+Noise, The Quietus (UK), The Wire (UK), FasterLouder and others. She is often travelling in Australia and abroad to report on arts festivals and gigs. She chats from time-to-time on ABC TV weekend breakfast and has spoken at Vivid Ideas, The Rock & Roll Writers’ Festival, Darwin Writers’ Festival and Big Sound. Kate is a teacher of four years at the Australian Writers Centre and is an Australian Music Prize (AMP) judge. @smallestroom

Meagan Loader has worked in music radio for over 20 years. In 2003, she launched FBi Radio in Sydney, where she also created the Sydney Music Arts and Culture (SMAC) Awards, which champion the brave and creative drivers of Sydney. In 2014 Meagan launched Double J on digital radio for the ABC. Prior to Double J’s launch, she was Content Director at triple j, and has nurtured the early careers of many presenters, producers and music industry professionals. Meagan has long championed female talent, and recently kicked off triple j’s annual Girls to the Front - a celebration of women in music across triple j, Double J and triple Unearthed. Named in 2011 as one of Sydney’s Most Influential by the sydney Magazine, she’s also worked as an editor, in arts marketing, with independent record labels and BBQ chicken.

Steph Harmon is culture editor of Guardian Australia. Steph joined the Guardian after three years as founding editor of Australian pop culture/politics site Junkee, and three years as editor of Sydney music street press The Brag. Steph tweets@stephharmon.

Lorna Clarkson is one of Australia’s preeminent DJs and radio makers. Lorna was a founding DJ on FBi Radioand has produced and presented two award winning shows on 2SER Radioall whilst keeping busy as a music journalist, music PR and managing the odd record label. Oh, and she is godmother to 5 awesome little humans.

Tory Loudon is the Head of Events and Programs for the Guardian Australia. She has worked with a number of Australia’s leading cultural institutions such as Sydney Opera House, CarriageWorks and Australia Council on the Arts on audience development and engagement programs. Ironically, Tory is a luddite however she is learning fast about digital media platforms and finding new ways to engage readers.

Hannah Fox is one half of Supple Fox, a creative partnership who develop, curate and design social, artistic, live experiences and installations, founded in 2008 by Tom Supple and Hannah Fox. The company’s portfolio of work has spanned a variety of self initiated projects and roles including Artistic Associates at Melbourne Festival, Creative Associates for Dark Mofo, Head of Design for UK based creative agency Lavish, developing performance concepts for high profile musicians and visual artists as well as consulting and providing art direction for independent artists and curatorial services for Festivals and Arts Institutions.

The company has earned a reputation for its unusual approach of taking all sorts of performing arts out of traditional venues and creating new contexts for staging and presenting work including in nightclubs, in cupboards, in swimming pools, on top of cars, and on boats. Their work has crossed a broad spectrum of outcomes, from painting hundreds of sheep in candy colours for Latitude Festival in the UK, to programming parkour runners at the Tate Modern and placing a 30 piece choir on a Ferris Wheel.

Their continued mission is to forge new contexts for social and artistic experiences that are original, challenging and sometimes even enjoyable.

Pip Stafford is a media artist, producer, curator and arts communications worker. Through her work, which can be found in the form of installation, video, sound, radio broadcast, performance, public and online projects, and publications, she explores networks, systems, radio and feminist methodologies. She was the 2012/13 MONA Scholarship recipient and has exhibited, produced projects and performed locally, nationally and internationally at spaces such as Contemporary Art Tasmania (where she is currently the Communications and Audience Engagement Co-ordinator), LABoral (Spain), BUS Projects, Constance ARI, Underbelly Arts, Speed Grandma (Bangkok), CESTA (Czech Republic), Casula Powerhouse (NSW) and recently produced her first commission for Radio National’s Soundproof. With Julia Drouhin she is the recipient of Next Wave’s Emerging Curator Program for which she created Sisters Akousmatica with the support of Liquid Architecture, 3CR, Signal, The City of Melbourne and The Channel. Pip has a solo experimental sound practice and likes to tinker with synths and radios. She also has an unashamed podcast addiction and produces ‘What Are You Looking At?” a podcast about Contemporary Art for Contemporary Art Tasmania, which is now it its second season.


Dates: Saturday 18 June
Times: 10am - 5pm
Location: IMAS (Institute for Marine and Antartic Studies), 20 Castray Esplanade, Battery Point, Tasmania
Price: $120 (includes ticket to the Saturday 18 June evening gig Savages and Blacklist afterparty valued at $79)
Event capacity: 60
Dress code: There is no dress code for Masterclasses. Please wear whatever you feel comfortable in

For more info, click here. Terms and conditions can be found here

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