Member Spotlight #20: Zelia Rodrigues Peixoto, Senior Cultural Producer, Oi Futuro

Zelia wears many hats and is not afraid of a new challenge. She shares insight on being a leader and the importance of continuing to learn. [Interview by Alix Vadot]

Zelia Rodrigues Peixoto is one of the women at the forefront of Arte Sônica Amplificada (ASA), a Brazil-based project executed in partnership with, Lighthouse, and Oi Futuro, and funded by the British Council. The program is a six-month long intensive program for women in the music industry to develop individual creative projects. Zelia leads the project as Head of Cultural Management of Oi Futuro.

After graduating with a degree in cultural management, Zelia first worked in film production. Through this career, she learned a lot about what the film industry looks like in Brazil, and how this differed from other professions as well as how it compared to the same industry in other countries. She also developed strong organization skills during this time. “In film, there is a general vision of a project, and how to execute this project, and how to do so in the solicited time. These are all skills that have stayed with me ever since I worked in cinema.”

Zelia’s first contact with the music industry came in her early days with Oi Futuro, when she was at Oi Futuro Ipanema. As part of her job, she would be in regular contact with artists for shows, presentations, gigs. She also remembers two specifically music-related projects, where she first learned about how to book and schedule artists according to what the public likes. “So I began to learn about how the public acts when it comes to music within a cultural center. And I began to look for new types of artists all throughout Brazil.” She quickly came to love this part of her job.

Of course, there is a good administrative and bureaucratic chunk of the job that is not always as exciting, but a career as a cultural manager can be quite satisfying, from Zelia’s perspective.

In terms of getting to this point in her career, one thing anyone can learn from Zelia’s experience is not giving up. She almost did when she saw that the market for cultural production in Brazil was so dry.

Zelia is also a big believer in the movement to include more women in the industry.

As a leader herself, Zelia managed a successful first year of ASA and just hosted the launch of the second annual program. In the beginning of the project, she was key in presenting the reality of Rio de Janeiro’s music industry to Lighthouse and, and introducing them to Oi Futuro’s partners in this industry. The inaugural program welcomed 50 participants who were divided among four focus areas, participated in workshops, and developed independent projects over the months-long program. As cultural manager, Zelia’s role encompasses various things.

sss: What was one of the most important things that you learned through organizing ASA?

Of course, Zelia also learned a ton in terms of professional skills and has recently earned herself a promotion.

A next step for Zelia and the ASA team is to develop a stronger component of the program aimed at supporting women in entering the job market. “Many women were impacted positively by the program and are now working together. This program is truly creating a network and we played a big role in this. But I would like to develop this aspect of the program a bit further in the next years. How these — now 100 — participants can enter the job market in a healthier and more profitable way.”

Zelia hopes to continue working with ASA for a while, and to continue supporting this great circle of women.

“In the years before ASA, I felt stuck, I didn’t know where to go, what to do. I was doing a lot of research about women and found this to be a really great world. Through ASA, I managed to help women directly, support them in their growth through their art. They managed to change themselves as much as they changed the world around them.”

Personally, Zelia is eager to work with more women in the creative industries. She also wants to develop her spiritual side more and delve into the topic of alternative therapies — something she has tried incorporating into her work before, through yoga sessions at ASA, for example. Zelia is also now studying in yet another university program (she’s unstoppable!), this one in Anthropology. She loves studying humans and society — “It has been incredible to open my perspective, to be able to understand how society works beyond culture. How other societies function, other ways of understanding the world.” She brings these studies with her in her mind, and the new perspectives she is gaining through this course are also helping her in her work with ASA.

To finish up, we leave you with a piece of advice from Zelia about what it takes to be a leader in the creative world:



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🌎 A global independent community of women, gender minorities & allies in music. 🙏 Join us as a member or ally today: