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Meet The Team: Katherine Keir

As part of our 'Meet The Team' series we spoke to Bristol-based editor Katherine Keir, who recently won the award for 'Best Article' for BabyStep Magazine. What followed was a great chat about Katherines love of Bristol, favourite music and aims for the new year.

Please could you tell us your name, role in the magazine and what you currently do?

I’m Kat, I’m a features writer and I currently work in education and live in Bristol.

What does BabyStep mean/represent to you?

Babystep to me is a celebration of a lot of things: creativity, music, arts, expression. And I think most importantly it is a platform to celebrate these things, but also offers space to critique them as well, which is equally as important.

Asides from BabyStep and your job are there any other projects you are part of/ work on?

Right now (aside from my super-secret, exclusive and highly-curated food Instagram account) I’ve not actually got my fingers in too many pies. Having recently moved to Bristol and gone through such a big transitional period, my main focus has been settling into the city and exploring everything is has to offer, which has been fantastic. It’s an extremely inspiring place though, so I’m hoping to build up a creative network and get the ball rolling soon- stay tuned!

You recently moved to Bristol, what is the music and arts scene like there?

It’s incredible. There’s such a strong sense of community here, and continuity as well. The thing about Bristol is that everything feels interlinked, in a sense. You can see an amazing piece of street art in one part of the city, and then you’ll go into a bar in another part and there’ll be a mural by the same artist on the wall, or something like that. You just get this sense of artistic community, which is great. There’s some amazing venues here, too, and you’re spoiled for choice with both bigger names and small, intimate gigs.

Is there anything Bristol does that you think Leeds could perhaps embrace?

One of my favourite things about Bristol has been the street markets and street parties- there’s regular weekend markets at places such as the Tobacco Factory in Southville, and the Saturday market on Whiteladies Road. It’s pretty much always the same vendors, and so it’s a great way to get a feel for the best local businesses and faces. There was also an amazing christmas market on Picton Street in Montpelier, which is right next to where I live- it was such a great opportunity to meet local artists and makers, and interact with the people in our community. There’s always live music, independent makers and a great buzz. Everyone is so friendly. I’m not sure if that’s something I just missed out on in Leeds as a student- it probably exists in parts of the city I hadn’t explored yet! And of course there’s the street art- that’s obviously one of Bristol’s defining features as a city, and a great way to explore the city is to try and do a tour of the most popular street art murals. The new one of Greta Thunberg has got to be one of my favourites.

You wrote a truly insightful article critiquing DJ Mag for the lack of female artists in their top 100. What do you think needs to be done to tackle such an ongoing issue in the industry?

I think there’s a real issue in that a lot of people seem to have this attitude of anti-tokenism, and use the argument that you can’t just hire female artists for the sake of hiring female artists- they have to be ‘good enough’ to warrant being on a line up. But the simple fact is, these are spaces that, for whatever reason, have historically been dominated by men. By refusing to make space for women and refusing to allow women the opportunity to headline events and make their way into the scene, it’s sending the message that women aren’t welcome, that they shouldn’t bother. The importance of having female artists on line ups cannot be underestimated- they’ll act as role models and encouragement for the next generation of talent. And frankly, the idea that female artists aren’t good enough is just ridiculous- they patently are, it is simply that the scene is utterly saturated by male artists, and so the competition is overwhelmingly fierce and male-centric. There’s a massive culture of sexism in the creative industry in general, but especially in the DJ sphere- its so important that this is eradicated, so that wxmen can feel safe in these spaces, because that’s a huge part of the issue too.

What artists have you been listening to recently?

I’ve been obsessed with the new Tame Impala single ‘lost in yesterday’. Really hoping 2020 might bring a new album... also Bon Iver’s new stuff. It has a really wintery feel to it.

Are there any female artists you've been listening to recently?

I’ve been loving Celeste! She released a new single recently called ‘stop this flame’ which is brilliant and has quite a soul-y feel, and she actually just got awarded the BBC sound of 2020 spot which is huge. Beabadoobee is another artist I’m hoping for an album from in 2020... Also Georgia’s new album which came out yesterday is great!

Do you have any goals for 2020?

One of my biggest goals for this year, really, is to try and keep finding the time to be creative and work on passion projects- 2019 was such a huge year on both a general and personal level, with lots of transition and change, and the end of my literature degree means I’m spending a lot less time writing than I would like. So I’m definitely going to make it an aim of mine to keep perspective and make time for the things I love to do. Also travelling- I’m hoping to see a bit more of the world in 2020, and I’ve been thinking of the best ways I can do this whilst being mindful of my carbon footprint- luckily there’s some brilliant carbon offsetting schemes available now, so fingers crossed it’ll be an achievable goal for 2020.

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