Sunday, 1 May 2011

The Women's Liberation Music Archive launches

An exciting new online resource launches today: the Women’s Liberation Movement Music Archive.

This project documents the bands, musicians and musical projects that were part of, or influenced by, the great burgeoning of cultural creativity generated by the Women’s Liberation Movement (WLM) of the 1970s and 80s.

During this era, women’s music, film and theatre groups, visual art, literature, performance art, street theatre and other activities proliferated, fusing artistic activities with politics to develop and express feminist ideas. Feminist bands and musicians were not solely about providing great entertainment but embodied a world-changing commitment to putting politics into practice and advancing women’s rights. Challenging sexism and stereotyped gender roles, their lyrics and style reflected the values of the WLM. They were a vital and integral part of the movement, yet are often omitted from or marginalised by the media and historical accounts. Many operated outside the commercial mainstream or alternative circuits – or indeed were oppositional to them – and are not widely known about. Most were self-funded, grassroots groups who worked on a shoestring and many were unable to create lasting material.

Concerned that this part of women’s history is at risk of being lost, Archive Co-ordinators Dr Deborah Withers and Frankie Green believe the achievements of these music-makers should be mapped and celebrated. This work-in-progress collection comprises testimonies and interviews, discographies, gigographies and memorabilia including photographs, videos, recordings, flyers, press clippings and posters, plus links to ongoing women’s music-making and feminist activism. The project is an independent, voluntary and (as yet) unfunded venture. Funding possibilities and a safe eventual home for the physical archive are being investigated.

All women who were involved in women’s music – as solo artists, in bands, as DJs, MCs, in distribution networks, recording studios, photographers, journalists, events organisers, etc – are invited to contact and contribute to the project.


This text is taken from the wlma press release.