Berklee College of Music has launched the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice, which will focus on equity in the jazz field and on the role that jazz can play in the larger struggle for gender justice. The institute will celebrate the contributions women have played in the development of the art form, and frame more equitable conditions for all pursuing careers in jazz in an effort to work toward a necessary and lasting cultural shift in the field.
The jazz industry remains predominantly male due to a historically biased system, imposing a significant toll on women who aspire to work in it. In understanding the importance of balance and equity, the goal of the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice is to do corrective work and modify the way jazz is perceived and presented, so the future of jazz looks different than its past, without rendering invisible many of the art forms’ creative contributors. The institute will welcome students of all gender and sexual identities to achieve the goal of true gender diversity in the field. It will work to address gender inequities at the college through curriculum, recruitment, residencies, performances, research and community engagement.
Terri Lyne Carrington (B.M. ’83, ’03H), a multiple Grammy Award-winning drummer, producer and educator, is the founder and artistic director of the Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice. Carrington made history as the first woman to win a Grammy Award in the Best Jazz Instrumental Album category for Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue, a reimagining of the Duke Ellington classic. She also serves as the Zildjian Chair in Performance for the Berklee Global Jazz Institute and is artistic director of Berklee’s Summer Jazz Workshop.
Related: Berklee College of Music Profile, by Tom Kenny, Nov. 4, 2014
“I am proud to serve as the founder and artistic director for the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice,” says Carrington. “Now more than ever, jazz musicians, educators, presenters and practitioners must turn their attention to inclusivity in the creative and performance processes to incorporate more women and gender non-binary artists and professionals for the further development of the art form. This institute will address injustices in jazz through research projects and performance-based programs that will allow students of all gender identities to collaborate, learn and grow as artists within the Berklee community and beyond.”