In the context of freelancing

The extreme interpersonal dependency in the jazz scene exacerbates the powerlessness in which those affected by violence find themselves. Almost all musicians have a teaching job in addition to their stage or studio work.
Many work at some point in interest groups and various juries, often on a voluntary basis. Many organise themselves into collectives and help curate concerts and festivals. All of them are somehow friends or buddies with each other and accordingly with the perpetrators.

The conflicts of interest, sensitivities and cognitive as well as emotional dissonance of knowing and liking abusers are complex and overwhelming, the income situation is precarious. At other universities, lecturers make up 20-50% of the total teaching, at music colleges it is 80%. For this, many drive across the country or further, for highly fluctuating, mostly low hourly wages. Travel and hotel costs usually have to be paid by the teachers themselves, and the contracts are limited to the current semester and thus offer no social security. You get in, audition or not, mainly by recommendation. You usually start your teaching career at the same university where you studied and where the teachers already know you. Everyone is existentially dependent on each other. The resulting silence protects the perpetrators and pushes those affected further into shame and out of the scene and the universities.

After I moved back to Berlin, I started to get involved in cultural politics during the pandemic. Pretty quickly, I understood that the topic of diversity conveniently gets shifted onto individuals in the team, and thus no common knowledge, and no strength is created through community. There is no jazz festival without a panel on the topic. But structural changes can't happen if you always just talk about what someone who isn’t you might theoretically be able to do at some point.

I have already experienced several times that musicians who have turned to musician’s unions for help regarding structural or personal violence, have not been advised at all, or even worse: been advised badly. When criticism comes from within the scene, it isn’t rare that the tone of the criticism is criticised, rather than the behavior of people inflicting violence. We don’t ever come much further than tone-policing, aka shooting the messenger.
"We can all talk to each other," is the motto. 

The obvious power in the jazz scene is held by promoters and club owners. Some of them act accordingly and either threaten you with a house ban if you dare to rebel against them, or simply don't invite you any more. The less obvious power is held by the gatekeepers of the interest groups, unions and juries. They often define themselves by their supposedly mediating position in the scene, and thus often have a small side income. They are quick to emphasise what they are not responsible for. Which is partly understandable, especially in voluntary work. But then they fail to communicate this deficit of responsibility and effective aid to cultural politics. Who’s interests are being represented here...?

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