MA student Keeley Hudd introduces Cause A Scene Project

15 June, 2021

We are super proud of our Bristol MA student Keeley Hudd, who has started a fantastic project, Cause A Scene, as part of her Masters degree.

Cause A Scene (CAS) aims to support young, marginalised people from underprivileged communities, helping them take their first steps into a difficult-to-navigate and often expensive industry. Although the project is focused on helping women, non-binary people, POC, and marginalised people, it aims to be as inclusive as possible. So, if you have a passion for music and a lack of resources, Cause A Scene is there for you.

Keeley has been working hard on their new Cause A Scene project while also working on their own collective: a completely independent online radio station called Longthrow. They’re always looking for all kinds of shows from creatives, prioritising those from underrepresented communities.

Chatting to Keeley Hudd

We caught up with Keeley to learn more about the project and how to get involved

Hi Keeley! Can you explain a bit more about the project?

Cause A Scene is a free community music project aiming to support young, marginalised people from underprivileged communities in taking their first steps into creative music-making. We aim to help them overcome exclusive barriers such as expensive music tuition and knowledge of western theory, which privilege white, middle-class people by offering inclusive and accessible ways of making sounds.

We also provide better representation by highlighting key cultures, their associated genres, and core female, non-binary, and POC artists who have tackled inequality in their respective scenes. Our core ethos is allowing our participants to simply enjoy the process of learning and making in a way that resonates with their own individuality – rather than pushing a standardised, whitewashed curriculum.

Who is the project aimed at?

CAS is mainly aimed at 14-17-year-old women and non-binary people, POC, and marginalised, impoverished and underprivileged communities. Although we focus on underrepresented genders, we aim to be as inclusive as possible and support anyone with a passion for music who has difficulty accessing resources due to their lack of privilege.

How else do you think gender inequality can be addressed?

As a central tenet to a more inclusive industry, organisations, collectives, and individuals need to stop engaging with actions that simply put a plaster over the issue; such as booking one woman on a line-up just to tick a box, and even then merely booking her because she’s a woman and not because you like her music.

We need to start tackling the problem at the root. This means expanding the pool of talent by creating a more inclusive and accessible music education system; improving the representation of minority communities through a more diverse curriculum that celebrates more than old white men and offers relatable artists and current, engaging topics to study; making the industry and its spaces safe for women, NB, trans, POC and ethnic minority communities to be in; not just claiming safe space policy, but enacting it with adequately trained staff and increased security. Good Night Out Campaign is leading the way in ensuring bar and club staff are better equipped in dealing with sexual harassment. It’s so easy to dismiss the problem of gender inequality by claiming that there aren’t enough women/NB/trans people involved or interested – but very few are looking past this shallow excuse at WHY that might be.

“Hopefully, one day, we will begin to see the scales even out.”

Cause A Scene is an informal group, but it aims to encourage those society has dismissed as unable to partake in this industry. It might be that they’ve been dismissed for being too poor, not masculine enough, not educated enough, etc., to make their own way. Cause A Scene encourages them so they can make their own decision on how they wish to continue to participate, be the leaders of their own communities and scenes, and encourage people like them to do the same. If we continue a positive cycle, hopefully, one day, we will begin to see the scales even out.

What do you think a more inclusive music industry will look like?

More women, NB, trans POC, and people from ethnic minorities booked on merit rather than simply their minority-ness. This would include line-ups that are sometimes female+ heavy and more male-heavy, but all line-ups are cohesive and diverse. There’ll also be safer clubs, pubs, bars, offices, festivals, and online spaces. There’ll be more women/NB/trans people on label rosters, with more solo releases instead of only featuring on VA comps.

“It’s getting comfortable to call out these issues when we see them.”

It looks like inclusion riders, gender-neutral facilities, and the rejection of masculine dress codes. It’s calling out racial profiling and the fetishisation of black culture. It’s remembering that POC and LGBTQ+ communities built the scenes that we dance among today. Finally, it’s getting comfortable to call out these issues when we see them.

How can people get involved?

They can contact me via email ([email protected]) or check us out on Instagram (@CauseASceneBristol), where they can find the sign-up form in our bio!

Why did you choose an MA course at BIMM?

I completed my undergraduate degree course at BIMM in 2019, during the beginning of the pandemic. I had plans to build and grow my collective, Longthrow, whilst trying to establish a community music project for young womxn alongside it once I had finished. Then suddenly, I’m graduating into a dying industry that was already struggling pre-Covid. With few options open to me, I figured I’d go for a Masters and try to better myself while the music industry took a hiatus.

“I can’t emphasise enough how much I’ve grown in the past year and how many opportunities I’ve been offered through my Masters.”

It turns out I could embark on all the things I wanted to do – build my brand, start my project – as part of my Masters. Only, I could do it 1,000 times better with an incredible support network of brilliant course leaders (shout out to Riaan and Paul), mentors who specialised in the relevant fields I wished to explore, and a tight-knit cohort of other students. I can’t emphasise enough how much I’ve grown in the past year and how many opportunities I’ve been offered through my Masters. It’s totally the best decision I’ve ever made.

What’s so special about Bristol for a project such as this one?

Bristol is one of the more liberal, forward-thinking cities when it comes to better inclusion and equality – but there’s still a lot further to go. The city is heavily divided by a vast wealth gap, majorly ghettoised communities that continue to perpetuate racial segregation, profiling, under-funding, and impoverishment from those in power. The history of this beautiful city is heavily interwoven with the struggle of several different communities.

“It’s now time to start supporting the next generation.”

Some may think that this means we have done our bit, but it means that we have a responsibility to continue to be a positive example and a leading community in inclusion. A lot of the positive initiatives from the likes of Saffron Records/Mix Nights, Noods Radio, and Intervention set the bar incredibly high. Still, it’s now time to start supporting the next generation to step out into an adult world so they can continue this vital work, rather than starting from scratch all over again.

Amazing work, Keeley! You can read more about our fantastic students and their successes here.

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