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ChicMix Sells Out, Women Move In

12 June 2018

For the third year running, SAE Creative Media Institute’s hosted a sold-out audio engineering workshop for women at its Auckland campus.

Held on June 9, the ChicMix workshops were run by experienced female engineers and open to women 17 years and over. It provides women with a unique opportunity to get hands-on experience in a female-only environment, and to demystify perceptions of engineering as a male-only profession.

SAE Auckland Campus Director, Dr Suzette Major, said women were still largely under represented in audio production and engineering. Although SAE has increased its female student numbers by 20 percent in the last three years, the flow on into the industry itself is still lagging,” she said.

“I have had studio managers in Auckland tell me they want to hire women. We listen to what we are hearing and we are making active steps towards filling this need.

“SAE Auckland is a category 1 institute that works closely with industry partners and key stakeholders to respond to the unique and constantly changing world of audio. ChicMix is a direct result of demand.”

ChicMix was the brain child of Mona Sanei, an SAE graduate and studio supervisor, who was the only female in her 2014 audio class. Mona had experienced first-hand the struggle of being a minority in the studio environment.

“I wanted to give women the opportunity to explore the studios in a comfortable environment, surrounded by other women,” said Mona, who also self-produces her own music and has started a production company. “When women get together to work exclusively with other women there is a different dynamic.

“ChicMix is not about guy- bashing, it’s about giving women an opportunity to express themselves without gender being a factor.”

The intensive one-day event was split into four ‘taster’ workshops. The workshops cover everything from microphone placement and mastering to electronic music production. The turn out on the day was a mixed bag of ages, experience and reasons for attending, with some attendees coming from as far as Wellington and Gisborne.

Gisborne Girls High student Tyler Pomana said she had no idea what the day might hold for her. “I didn’t expect it to be so overflowing with knowledge,” said Tyler. “It gives you just the tip of the iceberg, before you dive into the depths of sound and audio.”

Also travelling from afar was Rebecca Harrison, a radio and broadcasting student who flew up from Wellington to attend the event.

“I’ll definitely be able to apply the production techniques I learnt today into my studies, and potential work,” said Rebecca. “We have a training radio station at school. I got a lot out of today that I can apply there.”

Dr Major said the fact that participants were flying in from around the country to attend ChicMix was extraordinary. "It's a small way we are trying to change the face of the music and audio industry, but it's clearly making a big difference in the lives of these women."


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