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Megan Mitchell

Megan Mitchell traverses the intersections of music, gender, and social justice in various capacities. As proprietor of the index of female/trans/non-binary composers of experimental music, Many Many Women, she acts as a media equity advocate. Mitchell is also a Master of Library and Information Sciences, having acquired her degree from the University of Washington’s iSchool. She is the audio archivist for the music producer, Randall Dunn, as well as a field recordist, vocalist, and musician.

"Representation Matters: Information Professionals as Stewards of a More Equitable Music Canonization"
 I’ve been at the helm of the project, Many Many Women, an index of over 1,000 non-male composers of left-of-field music since December of 2015. Similar projects and/or collectives, such as female:pressure and Discwoman, seek to alter the existing narrative of male dominance in experimental and electronic music by presenting data to support the claim that the problem is one of representation as opposed to the lack of existence of non-male artists in these genres. My role as the proprietor of this index, as well as a media equity advocate in general, bleeds over to my professional role as an archivist and information curator.

Many existing collection development policies at institutional libraries and archives seek to either actively or passively reinforce the canon that has traditionally been taught to students of music, which has historically been white and male in nature. I argue that LIS (library and information sciences) professionals have the ethical imperative, as curators, storytellers, and shapers of what is admitted to the historical canon as ‘fact,’ to actively seek marginalized and underrepresented artists for inclusion in curated music collections. Further, collection development policies need to explicitly outline means of achieving a more equitable balance of voices to bolster this missive. I will show that moving away from the stance of ‘objectivity’ in information repositories and institutions is a necessary concession and paradigm shift that must take place in order to more faithfully represent the bias that is built into the existing knowledge management structures. Further, I will point to specific examples of codifying this prerogative on an institutional level, backed by examples such as female:pressure and Many Many Women as hybridized information resources that may be more broadly applied to formal collections at archival institutions.