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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2019

Sophie Hennekam, Sally Macarthur, Dawn Bennett, Cat Hope and Talisha Goh

The purpose of this paper is to examine women composers’ use of online communities of practice (CoP) to negotiate the traditionally masculine space of music composition…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine women composers’ use of online communities of practice (CoP) to negotiate the traditionally masculine space of music composition while operating outside its hierarchical structures.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors employed a mixed methods approach consisting of an online survey (n=225) followed by 27 semi-structured in-depth interviews with female composers to explore the concept and use of CoP. Content analysis was used to analyze the survey responses and interpretative phenomenological analysis was used to interpret respondents’ lived experiences as relayed in the interviews.

Findings

The findings reveal that the online environment can be a supportive and safe space for female composers to connect with others and find support, feedback and mentorship, increase their visibility and develop career agency through learning and knowledge acquisition. CoP emerged as an alternative approach to career development for practicing female music workers and as a tool which could circumvent some of the enduring gendered challenges.

Originality/value

The findings suggest that online CoP can have a positive impact on the career development and sustainability of women in male-dominated sectors such as composition.

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 49 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

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