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The Mistress Class: Call for Applications

The Mistress Class: Call for Applications

January 11, 2019

The Mistress Class: Call for Applications

Making Money(?), Making Music: Working as an artist under capitalism

Application period closed. Contact Dinah Thorpe for further information
Event Date: Sunday, February 17, 2019 (2-5pm EST)

Master (Canadian Oxford Dictionary) - noun 1a a person having control of persons or things . . . 5a a person skilled in a particular trade and able to teach others (often attributative: master carpenter) . . . 8a an artist of great skill, esp. one regarded as a model of excellence.

Mistress (Canadian Oxford Dictionary) - noun 1 a woman (other than his wife) with whom a man has a (usu. prolonged) sexual relationship . . . 6a a woman loved and courted by a man.

The Songwriters Association of Canada, the Canadian Music Centre, and Dinah Thorpe present the first event in a developing series called The Mistress Class. The Mistress Class centres the knowledge and experience of women-, trans-, and non-binary identified artists working in music in and around Toronto. The series re-appropriates “mistress” while remaining conscious of its colonial histories and notions of binary gender that “master” and “mistress” reproduce. It seeks to endow the word “mistress” with some of the equivalencies of the word “master” (an artist of great skill) but definitely not all of them (the owner of a slave).

About The Mistress Class:

The Mistress Class works to create a respectful space for sharing knowledge and building community, and seeks to disrupt both the narrative and the form of the traditional master class. It begins with the assumption that everyone in the room has a lot to share and a lot to learn. It also begins with the assumption that gender identity and expression are not the only identity markers, and that participants carry into the room varying degrees of power and privilege, including those determined by race, Indigeneity, sexuality, dis/ability, and economic status.

The first half of the workshop will feature guest artists with particular experience in the chosen topic area. The second half will be a conversation among all participants on (or somewhere nearby) the chosen topic.

About the topic and guests:

Featured guests for Session 1: April Aliermo, alaska B, and Juliet Palmer.

Some of the questions we will explore in the discussion: What are some of our practical and emotional strategies for keeping at it and keeping our self-esteem? How does our relationship with the music industry change over the years? Are there artists and models we look to in terms of how they made a commercial career or how they chose not to? And so on.

Timeline and expectations:

  • Deadline for applications, January 30: All applications will be made through an ONLINE FORM.
  • Selection process, January 31-February 3: Due to the format of the workshop, we have a limited capacity for in-person participation (roughly 15 people). We will work to ensure a representative group of participants based on applications, and the CMC and SAC will take steps to enable remote participation for a wider group of artists based on demand.
  • Selection notification, February 4
  • Registration, February 4-10: those artists who have been selected will pay a modest fee ($10) that will go towards a catered lunch for participants. Organizers will make accommodations if the fee is prohibitive. We ask that registrations are complete by February 10 in order to finalize childcare and food planning.
  • The Mistress Class Event, February 17: The workshop takes place at the Canadian Music Centre, 20 St. Joseph Street, Toronto, from 2:00-4:30 pm. Participants will contribute to a short evaluation discussion to inform future plans for The Mistress Class


The Mistress Class is open to all women-, trans-, and non-binary-identified artists working in music. Participants must have worked as artists for at least ten years (not necessarily continuously, full-time, or for money). The workshop takes place in Toronto, and in-person participants must cover the cost of their own travel and accommodations.


Venue: The Canadian Music Centre (CMC) is located at 20 St. Joseph Street and is a short walking distance from three TTC subway stations (Wellesley, Bloor-Yonge, and Bay). Bloor-Yonge is the nearest accessible subway station—here is a google map of the route from Bloor-Yonge to the CMC.

The main entrance to the CMC is up two sets of stairs on the front lawn. There is an accessible entrance through a gate to the right of the main entrance. There is elevator access to each floor of the building. An accessible washroom is adjacent to the workshop space on the main floor. Washrooms at the CMC are gender neutral.

Childcare: Onsite childcare will be provided. The workshop will take place on the main floor, and a childcare space will be in place in the second floor boardroom. Childcare needs can be communicated during event registration.


If you have questions regarding The Mistress Class, contact Dinah Thorpe, dinah@dinahthorpe.com.

The S.A.C. thanks the SOCAN Foundation for their support.