This project documents and celebrates the wealth and diversity of the feminist music-making of the 1970s and 80s and demonstrates its importance in the political and social context of that era. As in other social movements and political struggles, cultural activism was a major part of the Women’s Liberation Movement that began in the late 1960s. In a great burgeoning of creativity, feminists fused artistic activities with politics to develop and express feminist ideas. Women’s music, film and theatre groups, art and theatre proliferated throughout the 1970s and 80s.
Feminist bands, musicians and related projects are archived here in a collection of written and oral histories and memorabilia. This includes photographs, videos, recordings, gig lists, lyrics and musical scores, press clippings, flyers, posters, weblinks and manifestos that testify to the creativity of the Women’s Liberation Movement.
If this is your first visit to the site we hope you will find it an interesting and useful resource – or, if you have visited before, that you will enjoy the way it has been developing since its launch on May the 1st, 2011.
Information about bands, musicians and musical projects is gathered under names listed alphabetically on the A – Z pages above. The ‘search’ field will direct you to all pages featuring the object of your search. On the right-hand side of the blog posts page you will find a list of links to relevant websites about women’s ongoing music-making, feminist activism past and present, plus other archiving projects, enabling you to follow up information found in other pages.
A huge ‘thank you!’ to everyone who has made the archive possible through generously contributing material to the archive. As can be seen, there is quite a lot of information on some musicians, bands and projects and little or none for others. If you can help the archive to grow and to fill the gaps please contact us. All support in helping the archive to be as comprehensive and inclusive as possible is much appreciated.
Our collection of artefacts is housed by the University of Bristol Special Collections library, in conjunction with the Feminist Archive South. To view the online catalogue of this material, please visit http://oac.lib.bris.ac.uk/dserve/ and use the reference number DM2598. Visits to the collection can be arranged through the library. Students, researchers, activists and anyone interested in the feminist music-making and politics of the 1970s and 80s are welcome to make enquiries.
Your feedback is always welcome!
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Special offer! ‘Music and Liberation: A Compilation of Music from the Women’s Liberation Movement’, the CD created for the ‘Music and Liberation’ exhibition is now available from the Women’s Liberation Music Archive Comprising twenty tracks by some of the feminist musicians from the 1970s and 80s – Abandon Your Tutu, Bad Habits, Bright Girls, Fabulous Dirt Sisters, Feminist Improvising Group, Frankie Armstrong, Friggin Little Bits, Ginger and Spice, Hi-Jinx, Jam Today, Mistakes, No Rules OK, Ova, Proper Little Madams, Sadista Sisters, Siren, Spoilsports, Stepney Sisters, York Street Band, plus an informative booklet – this is a unique opportunity to revisit or discover some of these sounds – or introduce friends and family to the music and activism of the era! All proceeds from the CD will be used for the upkeep of the Women’s Liberation Music Archive. Please contact us if you would like a copy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘This archive is … an invaluable record of how in the early days of the Women’s Liberation Movement the message was in the music as much as in the spoken and written word.’ – Sheila Rowbotham