Welcome to the Women’s Liberation Music Archive!

A huge ‘Thank You!’ to everyone who has kindly contributed material and given us permission to reproduce their work ~ thank you all for your generosity.

We hope this site will be a useful and interesting resource. We have promises of more material to come and are looking forward to that. This is an open-ended project and we will continue to add material as and when we receive it – so if you haven’t yet sent us info but would like to, no problem! The archive has always been seen as a work-in-progress and once the process of networking, gathering material and mapping women’s music during the 1970s and 80s began, we realized how much there is to document, and that this is – hopefully – just the beginning!

How to navigate your way around the site: information about bands, musicians and musical projects is gathered under names listed alphabetically on the A – Z pages above. You will also see, on the right of the screen, under the heading ‘blogroll’, a list of relevant websites about women’s ongoing music-making, feminist activism and other archiving projects, enabling you to follow up information found in the main pages. The ‘search’ field will direct you to all pages featuring the object of your search. You can read more about the project’s aims and scope on the ‘About the archive’ page.

As you will see, there is quite a lot of info on some musicians, bands and projects and little or none for others. Please help the archive to grow and to fill the gaps! Feel free to leave a comment on the blog. All support in achieving the aim of creating an archive which will be as comprehensive and inclusive as possible is much appreciated. We welcome personal stories, photos, anecdotes, memorabilia – and, especially, of course, audio/visual material.

We will post regular updates here on the home page to let you know about new material as it’s added. Please contact us for any further info, to provide feedback and to send us material you feel should be included.

Many thanks again to everyone who has encouraged and enabled this project to get underway.

‘Women have always been told to look nice, work behind the scenes and shut up. Quite rightly, women have disobeyed. We’ve grouped together, created music, written lyrics, sung, recorded, performed, organised and showcased our talent in our own way for as long as we have existed – which is forever. Our music is political because our visibility is political, our strength is political and our unity is political. Official records have written it out of history. Music mags, radio shows, Best Of lists, festivals, popular history, newspapers and many awards shows have ignored or marginalised the enormous contribution women and feminism have made to music at all levels and in all genres in one massive act of erasure. The truth is that feminism has changed the world and is changing the world. The Women’s Liberation Music Archive celebrates and restores its rightful place in culture. And it’s freaking cool.’ ~ Bidisha

‘This 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

Press Release May Day 2011

 THE WOMEN’S LIBERATION MUSIC ARCHIVE

Feminist music-making from the 1970s and 80s

Press release for 1st May, 2011

 An exciting new online resource is launched today: the Women’s Liberation Movement Music Archive, at http://womensliberationmusicarchive.wordpress.com

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.

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT wlmmusicarchive@gmail.com