By Cristina Vázquez
Before entering the pandemic, women were going through a very strong social annoyance and it has not stopped. During the pandemic, inequity has become more visible than ever. Thanks to feminist movements and in favor of women’s rights in the world, today in Mexico we can see the opposition generated by the candidacy of Félix Salgado Macedonio as Governor of Guerrero, who is facing a complaint for rape. Another similar case is that of Andrés Roemer, writer, communicator and co-founder of the Ciudad de las Ideas festival, reported by a dozen women for sexual abuse and assault.
Now, the world of the performing arts has been a territory in which women have been gradually recognized, but in the case of classical music it has taken longer to stand out. This is why, concerned about the invisibility of women in numerous professional areas, including hers, conducting the orchestra, the Brazilian Ligia Amadio founded the International Symposium Women Directors in 2016, which has been held every two years since then.
The first edition took place on October 15 and 16 in São Paulo. In 2018 it was held in Montevideo, Uruguay, from October 19 to 21, but the third edition, which was moved to the virtual sphere due to COVID-19 , from September 17 to 20, 2020, is of special importance to me because it involved Mexico’s participation for the first time.
Some 23 Mexican women were present thanks to the coordination of Hilda Saquicoray, founder and head of the Youth Symphony Orchestra of the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico with 20 years of experience within the children’s and youth orchestras.
One of the great achievements of this third symposium is that it allowed the Mexican directors to get to know each other and form an alliance, because when they understood how their colleagues both from their country and abroad came to excel in the professional field, they realized that they were not as lonely as they thought. They made connections so that they were invited to direct, to give master classes or to program women composers in Latin America and the United States.
This third edition was closely linked to the raising of the voice of women that was happening in March 2020 in the world. In Latin America, especially, the #NiUnaMenos movement against gender violence and femicide gained strength with massive demonstrations of women occupying the streets and shouting slogans.
Ligia Amadio, the first woman to direct the Montevideo Philharmonic Orchestra, tells me that, during its existence, one of the main impacts of the Symposium has been the awareness of the directors themselves about the discrimination suffered, a problem to which the musical community can no longer be indifferent.
I agree with Lidia that if the symposium has contributed to strengthening the presence and union of women in the musical environment, it is due to the topics addressed, the space it provides for discussion and reflection, the feeling of sisterhood experienced, the level of exposure of the experiences of discrimination faced and the diagnoses made.
One of the most important debates during the third symposium was on cultural policies for the inclusion of women in music. Brazil and Argentina have traveled a good stretch and Chile is following suit. Last year, in Argentina, the first female quota law was achieved worldwide for musical events, whether public or private, in which at least 30 percent must have the participation of women and includes sanctions and fines for those who do not. They adhere to these regulations, as stated in various newspaper articles.
The Mexican composer and conductor Gina Enríquez was impressed with the experience of the Chilean women, who created the Orquesta de Mujeres de Chile (OMCH), under the baton of Ninoska Medel, based on the 2018 university feminist mobilization, and has a foundation through which it raises funds for the assembly’s activities.
Although Mexico is behind in promoting equal opportunities for women in music, it has a clear example in the progress made by its South American colleagues. The union that emerged between the Mexican conductors should lead to a joint manifesto, so that the budget and the actions of the cultural authorities benefit women and stop being focused on groups headed by men. It is necessary to promote a cultural policy on gender equality in cultural entities in the country, to work closely with legislators to develop parity initiatives not only in political parties.
The International Symposium Women Directors is a project sponsored entirely by the directors, managers and agents participating in the movement, and therefore organized civil society. They cover the functions that an organization should have on its staff. However, they have obtained support from public and private institutions in countries such as Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, the United States and Spain. It is clear that it is a long-term task for this symposium to generate deep-rooted social processes, that its social impact can be measured and can, in addition, count on more resources so that its effect is even greater.
It should not be forgotten that gender equality is among the Sustainable Development Goals that must be achieved by 2030, according to what was established in 2015 by the heads of state, government leaders, various non-governmental agents and representatives of the UN meeting in New York for the 70th edition of the United Nations General Assembly.
Cristina Vázquez, director of Contenidos Artísticos Production and Diffusion, is a cultural manager, programmer and producer. One of her main purposes is to promote the circulation of the Performing Arts.
Mexican, from the city of León, she graduated from the Communication Sciences career and continued her training as a cultural manager with studies from the National Council for Culture and the Arts and in 17, the Institute of Critical Studies, where she obtained the Cultural Management Certificate from the Critical Entrepreneurship.
Cristina Vázquez has the strong conviction that going to meet new viewers, both in Mexico and in the United States and other countries, contributes to fighting stereotypes, opening new communication channels and forming communities.
Her quest is to create lasting relationships between audiences, artists and institutions. The expansion of audiences, she thinks, generates knowledge and understanding among the inhabitants of this global village.
In 2012 she founded Contenidos Artísticos, a firm dedicated to the programming, production and dissemination of artistic and cultural projects, based in Mexico, which is complemented, since 2015, with Contenidos Artísticos INC, based in Chicago, Illinois.
With the multidisciplinary collaboration of important allies, Cristina Vázquez advised the Municipality of Zacatecas in the elaboration of its Cultural Development Plan and coordinated the National Book Fair (Fenal) from 2006 to 2009. Since 2016, she has been collaborating permanently with the Cultural Institute of León in various programming and production projects.
She was a programmer at the Teatro del Bicentenario in León, has worked with the Teatro Juárez in Guanajuato and developed and operated the urban meeting “Todo sobre Ruelas” in Zacatecas.
In addition, in 2012 and 2013 she produced and programmed the José Alfredo Jiménez International Festival, which pays tribute to the great Mexican icon and singer-songwriter, in Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato.
Since 2013 she works for the National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature (INBAL). She has produced and coordinated important projects with the Mexican National Ballet Company having as headquarters the Palacio de Bellas Artes and the Juárez Theater, during the Cervantino Festival, as well as with the National Opera Company and the National Theater Coordination. In 2019, she began a collaboration with the National Center for the Arts (CENART) by producing the International Black and White Piano Festival.
In 2018, she made alliances with agencies in the United States for the circulation of the performing arts in Mexico. This is how she presented Fuse, a group based in Italy, with its multimedia performance Dökk and the Colombian company Sankofa Danzafro with its acclaimed show La ciudad de los otros.
Through Contenidos Artísticos INC, the production agency, for the past five years she has focused on bicultural work between Mexico and the United States. Her work has been to find spaces for Mexican artists to present themselves on the other side of the border, while contributing to the construction of an image of Mexican culture and art that transcends the folkloric.
In 2017 she introduced the Mexican poet Rojo Córdoba, who worked with Spoken Word groups, in Chicago. And the following year she promoted three Mexican bands: Troker, electronic jazz; Doble Redoble, contemporary cumbia, and Sonido Gallo Negro, a psychedelic cumbia group for which she organized a tour in the United States. This in conjunction with various Latino festivals and organizations in Chicago, such as the Mole de Mayo Festival. Thanks to these alliances, she has produced tours for artists from Chicago and other cities in the United States in Mexico.
During November 2018, she invited Mexican programmers to see, both in Chicago and New York, the work of Manual Cinema, a multidisciplinary company that combines cinematographic techniques with shadow theater, sound and music to create immersive experiences.
She co-produces the Tania Pérez-Salas Company since 2018. During 2019 she worked on the organization of their tour through Mexico, the United States and Canada, which would take place in the following year.
As of January 20, 2020, Vázquez is the first Mexican woman to be part of the Board of Directors of the Association of Professionals for the Performing Arts (APAP), which emerged in 1957 in the United States and is a world leader in this cultural field. One of their main tasks is to participate and promote REDI (Racial Equity Diversity and Inclusion) policies.
The great pragmatism and permanent professionalism of Cristina Vázquez has allowed her to contribute to the artistic and cultural development of Mexico and its international projection.
Versión en español
Cristina Vázquez, directora de Contenidos Artísticos Producción y Difusión, es gestora cultural, programadora y productora. Uno de sus propósitos principales es fomentar la interculturalidad a través de la circulación de las artes.
Concibe la interculturalidad como el encuentro, la interacción y reconstrucción de las distintas culturas locales. En palabras del experto argentino Carlos Moneta, permite comparar formas de vida y establecer comunicaciones portadoras de imágenes, valores y contenidos que afectan las identidades más allá de la nacionalidad.
En 2012 fundó Contenidos Artísticos, firma dedicada a la programación, producción y difusión de proyectos artísticos y culturales, con sede en México, que se complementa, desde 2015, con Contenidos Artísticos INC, con sede en Chicago, Illinois.
A través de Contenidos Artísticos INC, la agencia productora, se ha enfocado desde hace un lustro en el trabajo bicultural entre México y Estados Unidos. Su labor ha sido la de buscar espacios para que los artistas mexicanos se presenten del otro lado de la frontera, aportando a la vez la construcción de una imagen de la cultura y el arte mexicano que trasciende lo folclórico.
Esa apertura de espacios permite visualizar, en ambos países, que las artes escénicas son una herramienta indispensable para construir un intercambio artístico de calidad permanente y atender a la diversidad de públicos.
Originaria de León, Guanajuato, Vázquez es egresada de la carrera de Ciencias de la Comunicación y
continuó su formación como gestora cultural con 17, Instituto de Estudios Críticos.
El gran pragmatismo y la permanente profesionalización de Cristina Vázquez le han permitido coadyuvar
al desarrollo artístico y cultural de México y su proyección a nivel internacional.
A partir del 20 de enero de 2020, Vázquez es la primera mujer mexicana en formar parte del Consejo Directivo de la Asociación de Profesionales de las Artes Escénicas (APAP por sus siglas en inglés), surgida en 1957 en Estados Unidos y líder a nivel mundial en este ámbito cultural.
Recientemente organizó la gira de la Compañía Tania Pérez-Salas por México, Estados Unidos y Canadá, pero debido a la pandemia derivada del coronavirus el grupo de danza contemporánea únicamente alcanzó a dar un par de funciones, el 13 y 14 de marzo, en el Teatro Juárez de Guanajuato con el apoyo de EFIDANZA.