Nominations are now open for the inaugural Australian Women in Music Awards (AWMA) which will be held 9 – 10 October in Brisbane.
For the first time in Australian music history, AWMA will turn the spotlight on women by presenting 14 award categories acknowledging and celebrating first nations and multicultural performers, excellence in artistry, technical and production skills, cross-cultural development, songwriting, music education, music photography, management, humanitarian work and more.
The AWMAs seek to redress the underrepresentation of women in the Australian music scene by recognising the value, achievements and contributions of women in the industry. As discussed in depth at our last Contemporary Music Roundtable in a panel convened by the founder of the AWMAs, Vicki Gordon, and Lindy Morrison OAM, a musician, educator and social worker, there is a significant gender imbalance in the Australian music industry.
According to a media release issued by the AWMAs, women represent only one-fifth of songwriters and composers registered with APRA, despite making up 45 percent of qualified musicians. Of the 100 most played songs on commercial radio in 2016, only 31 were by a female act or act with a female lead. Since the first Australian Independent Records Association awards in 2006, only 22 of the total 103 awards presented have been won by acts with a female lead, or equal numbers of women and men.
High profile acts like Tina Arena, Deborah Conway, Kate Ceberano, Debra Byrne, Katie Noonan, Christine Anu, Clare Bowditch, Isabella Manfredi, Jen Cloher, Sophie Koh, Kween G, Patricia ‘Little Pattie’ Amphlett and APRA Chair Jenny Morris are among the list of artists backing the AWMAs.
Queensland Minister for Women Di Farmer has also called for women to nominate for the inaugural AWMAs. “The music industry is clearly a male-dominated one and I urge women to seize this opportunity to showcase their industry worth, not only for those talented women on stage but also the many skilled ones behind the scenes. These awards are not just about picking up prizes – they also shine a light on the depth of female talent in the industry”.
The Australian Women in Music Awards categories are as follows:
Lifetime Achievement Award
Presented to a female artist or musician who has made outstanding artistic contribution to the field of recording and/or live performance during her lifetime.
Recognises an individual who has made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and/or to empowering Indigenous female artists in remote and regional communities.
Diversity in Music Award
Recognises individual artists or female-driven musical collaborations for their contribution to advancing a culturally diverse and inclusive music industry.
Auriel Andrews Memorial Award
Recognises a true pioneer of Aboriginal women in music.
Studio Production Award
Recognises a female sound engineer or producer who has made contributions of outstanding significance in the studio recording environment.
Live Production Award
Recognises a female working in a live production or touring environment making significant impact in her field: Includes Tour Management, Live Sound, Lighting, Backstage and Roadcrew.
Music Leadership Award
Recognises a female CEO, Managing Director, Label Manager, A&R Director, Artist Manager or Publisher making significant impact in music industry leadership.
Recognises a female songwriter or composer who has made extraordinary impact nationally and/or internationally in the past 12 months.
Breakthrough Artist Award
Recognises a female artist who has had a significant breakthrough impact nationally in the past 12 months.
Music Photographer Award
Recognises a female music photographer currently working in the field and to acknowledge her body of work.
Recognises a female music videographer, clip-maker or film-maker currently working in the field and to acknowledge her body of work.
Artistic Excellence Award
Recognises exceptional creative achievement from a female artist/musician across any genre.
Creative Leadership Award
Creative Leadership Award is a curatorial award recognising excellence in creative programming and/or content creation from a woman working in a music festival, live performance/venue or media setting to champion female artists. (includes: Content Directors, Artistic Directors, Festival Directors, band bookers, broadcasters, writers and publicists).
Recognises exceptional musicianship from a female musician across any genre.
Nominations close 12 July, with finalists to be announced on 3 September. For nominate or for more information, head here.