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Intersessions founders. Photo by Katrin Braga.

Intersessions: Ottawa’s first DJ workshops for women, non-binary, and queer folks

By Nneka Nnagbo on August 2, 2016

IntersessionsThere is a multitude of women working in the music industry, both as producers and DJs. However, within our own realm of electronic and dance music, women have very little visibility. Music is a male-dominated industry and the world of DJing is no exception. The same “boys-only” mentality applies to women working as DJs and producers.

Rap artist, Chippy Nonstop, alongside fellow artist Rhiannon Blossom, founded Intersessions. It’s a new series of DJ workshops aiming to inspire female musicians. Intersessions wants to combat the “good, for a girl” label that many are trying to break. The initiative began earlier this year in Vancouver, where Nonstop resided at the time, with the goal of addressing issues women face in the music industry, such as sexism and racism. Through Intersessions, Nonstop, Blossom and their crew strive to break the “male-only” platform upon which the music industry and DJing were built.

“The goal of Intersessions is always changing and developing,” Nonstop tells me over email. “At first, the goal of Intersessions was just to create a safe space for females, but I’m thinking we might help the students who are really passionate and talented with artist development. We want to see more LGBTQ and women DJs.”

One of the organizers for Intersessions Ottawa, Hana Jama, adds to this notion, stressing the importance of such an initiative: “Some girls and queer youth may want to DJ but don’t have the group skills and don’t feel like being taught by a [cis-gendered] heterosexual male. Also, some may already have those skills but want to be encouraged by fellow female and queer identifying people that they too can get into the underground DJ scene.”

After workshops in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal, Intersessions comes to Ottawa for this city’s first female-friendly DJ workshop, curated by and for women and the LGBTQ community. Hosted by Rhiannon Blossom, in conjunction with Babely Shades and The Queer Mafia, the workshop will be led by Nonstop and her fellow instructors, DJs Audrey Loudres, Nino Brown, and Bambii. Attendees will learn the basics of DJing and music production in a safe, inclusive space. The workshop aims to nurture female producers and DJs, whether they are interested professionally or for recreation, while also highlighting the value of female collaboration and female-identifying spaces.

Intersessions is Friday August 5 at Gabba Hey (202-250 City Centre). Registration info can be found here. There is a $10 suggested donation.