UK-based Saffron had already created an extensive set of offerings for women and non-binary people in learning and developing in music tech. But now their online membership structure is open to you, wherever you are.

(Saffron uses womxn to include all female-identifying and non-binary people, so using that term for this article.)

Saffron, founded five years ago by Laura Lewis-Paul, has grown into a full-ranging initiative around music technology. So there’s training – from production to DJing to sound engineering. But they’ve also set up community spaces, networking, and even artist development and a record label.

The Tech Dissect program. Homay Schmitz in London, 2019. Photo: Lee Kirby.

Up until recently, this also meant creating a safe in-person environment in Bristol, UK. But like the rest of us, organizers at Saffron have had to look to what they can do online. The upside is, this makes their membership tiers now available to all. And since it seems one of the major draws had been guest workshops from the likes of Emmavie, object blue, and Yazzus, that could have a lot of appeal.

The pricing is extremely competitive with a lot of online schools on the training side, but there are also subscription donations from Ableton and Abbey Road Studios. That means if you can’t pay for a membership, there’s a chance of getting one. Also, you can apply to be a Saffron Ally as an individual or organization and support that initiative. Since non-womxn can’t apply as members, they can apply this way to support greater gender representation and equality in music technology.

This seems especially important to me now, as it means there’s also a sustainable model for supporting artists’ expertise – especially vital now, while gigs and other revenue are on hold.

What the online membership includes – available only for self-identified womxn:

  • Tech Dissect workshops on production, creation, and engineering
  • Mix Nights masterclasses and Q&A on DJing
  • Creative Communications with Jenna Knight on music PR and marketing. (I don’t know why that’s called “open surgery” which sounds scary, but I guess it’s intense? Ha!)
  • Discounts and freebies
  • Mentoring sessions
  • Member newsletter
  • Free merch and discounted merch

…each dependent on membership level. Those are explained on Patreon. There are monthly online workshops on different topics, and the production workshop is in the £5/mo tier.

In Moscow, 2019, with support from the British COuncil.

Saffron I know is not alone, so of course I’m happy to share what initiatives are in your neck of the woods, looking at gender but also at race, economic access, and any other barriers to more involvement in music making and music technology. Stay in touch.

Above; featured at top: Ngaio, Mercy’s Cartel, Laura Lewis-Paul (Saffron founder), Beula. Photo by Tom Ham.