2 Mar 2017

empowering young girls through music | interview with ruby watson (gr!m)

When I was presented with the chance to interview Ruby from Girls Rock! Melbourne (GR!M), I jumped at the chance. GR! was founded in The U.S. in 2001 and has finally reached Australian shores, which is super exciting.
GR!M is essentially a camp for girls with the aim to empower them and let them express themselves through music, which is everything I want for the younger girls in society. The ability to be themselves in a place which is so encouraging and extremely positive. Ruby and I spoke about the inclusive nature of GR!M, empowering women and the future of GR!M. 

As the premise of girls rock is to mentor young girls, who do you wish mentored you when you were growing up?
Ruby Watson ( R ): You bet! The team at GR!M (Shannon, Sally, Kirsty and myself) all chose musicians who possess powerful, distinctive voices, their own unique sound and incredible musical ability. These women were Shirley Manson, Joan Jett, Pat Benatar and Carrie Brownstein.
I’m really pleased to see that this camp is inclusive of all girls and gender non conforming youth regardless of how they identify, how does girls rock help young people really come into themselves and who they are?
R: At GR!M we are inviting trans, gender non-conforming and self identifying female youth into an inclusive space where the focus is on self acceptance, expression and empowerment, with music as the medium. Our aim is to encourage creativity and confidence within the campers. We all want our campers to find their own unique voice and use it! It doesn’t matter what you sound like, how loud or how quiet you are.
To encourage confidence within our campers, we’ll be offering workshops such as self-defence, body image and much more. Additionally, campers will be tasked with writing an original song, which will be performed in the showcase at Bella Union on Saturday the 14th January 2017.
What do you believe is the best way to ensure that girls, especially young girls empower each other instead of tearing each other down?
R: We think that transparency and honesty are so important and that is something we will be encouraging throughout the camp. Additionally, we want our campers to feel safe and comfortable and we plan on providing an environment that reflects that.
At GR!M, we strongly believe that everyone’s feelings and experiences are valid and we will show this by offering our campers the space to express themselves and talk about those feelings and experiences. We hope that after the camp, that our campers will have made many new, supportive friends, who can continue to empower another generation of socially conscious people.
What activity are you most looking forward to at next year’s camp?
R: That’s a tough one because I am so excited about all of it! The lunchtime concerts which will be held daily by established Melbourne musicians, to inspire our campers is definitely up there. That being said, I am most looking forward to seeing the progression of the campers over the five days and seeing them rock out at our Saturday showcase.
Do you see a change in the campers attitudes and self esteem from when they first arrived to when they leave?
R: This will be the first Melbourne camp, so we haven’t had the opportunity here to experience the shift. However, some of our organising team have been lucky enough to attend camps in the U.S. and there has been a noticeable change in the camper’s attitudes and self esteem throughout the course of the camp.
We can’t wait to see our campers come into themselves and rock the stage!
Favourite quote to empower yourself and others?
R: That’s a tough one!
It would probably be a quote from Malala Yousafzai: “I raise up my voice - not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard… we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.”
What’s the dream for Girls Rock! in the upcoming years?
R: We have lots of big ideas for GR!M. We have created an Australian wide, Girls Rock! Camp alliance (GRCA). We also plan to create a Ladies Rock! Program, as well as after school programs, which will run throughout the year and so much more.
There are endless possibilities with what this incredible group of people can do and we are excited to see how far we can all take this!

Words by: Melina Jones
GR!M // Facebook Website / Instagram 

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