AS a member of a band, Amy Brown is no stranger to packing out venues.

The bass/synthesiser player with Southampton band Scarlet Soho enjoyed European tours, album releases and sharing the bill with the likes of Razorlight.

But after almost ten years in the band, Amy is taking a break from music.

And now, rather than listening to electro-pop, her audiences come to hear about and discuss feminism, female genital mutilation, body image and more.

Last summer, Amy, from Southampton, set up Wire Wool Events, dedicated to bringing interesting speakers to the area, to fill what she saw as a gap in the market and to put on the kind of events that she enjoys going to.

"Going to music events can be a bit of a busman's holiday when you're in a band," she says.

"I had been putting on music events for years and I started to think about what kind of things I really liked going to. I was going to various lectures in London and realised there wasn't much of that sort of thing going on in this area.

"I was interested in bringing speakers into the area specifically with a feminist bent. I knew it was something I would go to if it was on in the area, and wondered if others would too.

Amy was galvanized into action when she read a book by professor Emma Rees, went to see her speak and thought she would love to bring her to the area.

So far, all of her events have been at The Railway Inn in Winchester, although she is hoping to bring them to Southampton too in the future.

"I set up the company, crossed my fingers and hoped people would turn up," she says.

"The reception was far better than I'd anticipated. The first two events sold out.

"One of the reasons why I set up Wire Wool was to give female voices some prominence. Initially, I was only going to have women speakers, but then I thought that excluding a huge section of the population isn't helpful to me or my audience, so I scraped that, and I do have a man, Dave Pickering, booked in to talk.

"I like listening to feminists speak about specific issues. I read a lot about feminism but I don't have all my ideas in place, which is one of the reasons why I like going to speaker events.

"But I'm not specifically setting out to only bring feminist speakers to the area."

Amy feels very passionate about the importance of exposing people to new ideas and provoking thought and discussion, particularly by real life contact, rather than over the internet.

"I hope I'm making a difference," she says.

"One of the things I really like is when people get in touch a day or two after an event and say 'you should have heard the conversation we had in the car afterwards'.

"We have a question and answer session after each speaker and they can go into real depth. It's about expanding people's knowledge on a specific subject.

"With social media, you read an article, maybe tap out a response and then turn the screen off. People always say not to read the comments section, because most people aren't interested in having a real discussion online. People just want to state their opinion, not have a debate. It's so one-sided.

"There's something great about bringing people in a room together like this. You can have a debate with people you don't know but who are probably interested in similar things as they're at the same talk.

"The conversation is so important."

With gender inequality hitting the headlines, Amy says that many people are particularly interested in discussing issues of gender and feminism at the moment.

"In a sense, the timing has been good, but people have always had an appetite to talk about inequality and having a time and place to do that is important.

"Also, we use the events to do collections for the Homeless Period, so that's great too!"

Amy says that the buzz she gets from putting on events is similar to what she felt when performing with her band, but in many ways, this is more satisfying.

"It feels quite different doing something which is entertainment to doing something that has the power to do some good in society. It makes you feel good when it works."

Among the events Amy currently has booked are a talk from international development and women's rights writer and activist Helen Pankhurst, granddaughter of suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst.

And she has a wish-list of speakers she'd love to feature, including scholar and classicist Mary Beard and writer Roxane Gay.

"The arts are really important but if you've been involved in music for a long time, it's really about entertainment, and not something you can take a lot from.

"I really enjoy this. It's nice to do something that feels it has some weight attached to it."

* Forthcoming Wire Wool events are Love Your Body: a talk by Deborah Coughlin, What About The Men?: a talk by Dave Pickering and Deeds Not Words: a talk by Helen Pankhurst.