May Day greetings on the first anniversary of the archive!

Welcome to the Women’s Liberation Music Archive! One year on from the launch of the site on May 1st, 2011, we thought visitors might like an update on how the project is doing. If you haven’t visited the site previously, we hope you find it interesting.

Firstly, we’d like to say a big ‘thank you!’ to everyone who has made the development of the archive possible by sending material to the collection in the past year, or sent us much-appreciated comments. We’re happy to say the archive is gradually expanding with new and developing entries – please check out the ‘What’s new in the archive?’ page for details. We are grateful for all the feedback we’ve had and pleased that the archive has had thirty thousand visits from all around the world. The WLMA is now archived for preservation in the British Library’s special collection on women’s issues.

Publicity We’ve had some publicity for the archive this year – e.g., from the Guardian music critic, Alexis Petridis – and are happy to get more: if you would like to help with spreading the word, let us know – we can supply our flyers for your gigs, etc.

The WLMA has recently joined Twitter. We will use it to direct people to content in the blog, network and publicise events, so please consider following us @WLMA_1

Don’t forget you can advertise your gigs, music releases, etc, on our ‘Events’ page, which gets lots of visits.

Donating material and helping the site grow Our intention now is to carry on growing the project, to fill in existing gaps and create more entries. We also hope to widen our contacts to enable the archive to be more representative.

If you have digitised material you’d like to donate to the archive, do let us know. If you have something you would like to exhibit in the forthcoming Music & Liberation exhibition, please send this to Debi by July 2012. You can contact her at exhibition@hammeronpress.net

In March 2013 some of the material collected for the exhibition and the archive will be deposited in the Glasgow Women’s Library, so please do consider sending us physical artefacts for inclusion by January 2013.

Access for visually impaired people We regret that progress on improving access for visually impaired visitors to the site has progressed more slowly than we hoped. Due to lack of funds and technological expertise we began by using a free site, which, we discovered, was not amenable to widgets necessary for good access. We have made changes to the site such as changing the fonts to sans serif and adding descriptions of images in Alt Text for Screen Readers. We are working on better ways of providing access to the music tracks and plan to improve this further. We welcome people who have relevant expertise to get in touch if they can help with this and, as with other aspects of the site, any feedback and advice on this issue is always welcome.

Exhibition: Music & Liberation An exciting piece of news is that in January Debi heard that her application for Heritage Lottery Funding has been successful. The funds will be spent on making a touring exhibition, Music and Liberation, which draws on the histories in the WLMA. The exhibition will tour the UK later this year at these venues: Butetown History & Arts Centre, Cardiff 9 – 25 September 2012; Bureau Gallery, Manchester, 27 September – 25 October 2012; Glasgow Women’s Library, 29 October – 26 November 2012; Space Station Sixty-Five, London 30 Nov – 13 Jan 2013.

The HLF grant will pay for the high quality digitisation of audio and audio-visual material, including live performances, studio recordings, practices and TV appearances of Women’s Liberation music makers. A CD album of music included in Music & Liberation will be produced, and ten new oral histories collected. The music, films and oral histories will be available to watch and listen to at the exhibition. Ephemera and artefacts such as posters, songbooks, t-shirts, instruments and fliers will also be displayed. There will be a number of events that will take place as part of the exhibition, so we will keep you posted! If you live near Cardiff, Manchester, Glasgow or London and want to take part, please get in touch. So far Debi has recorded oral histories with Jam Today 3, the York Street Band, Maggie Nicols, Deirdre Cartwright, Barbara Stretch, Caroline Gilfillan, Angie Libman, Jana Runnals, Alison Rayner and Ruth Novaczek. Excerpts from the interviews will be placed in the archive site so please keep checking back to hear people’s stories and see what new material has been added.

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Thanks for visiting – do get in touch with us with your ideas, information and feedback! Email us at wlmmusicarchive@gmail.com

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