Music & Liberation: Women’s Liberation Music Making in the UK, 1970-1989 shows how feminists used music as an activist tool to entertain and empower women during the 1970s and 1980s. Featuring the work of Jam Today, the Northern Women’s Liberation Rock Band, Feminist Improvising Group, Ova, the Fabulous Dirt Sisters, Abandon Your Tutu, the Mistakes and many more, the exhibition brings together a diverse collection of women’s cultural heritage. Music & Liberation will inspire and inform contemporary audiences about the politics of music making.
The exhibition showcases rare ephemera and artefacts such as posters, songbooks, t-shirts, instruments and fliers. Visitors will be able to watch films, interact with installations, look at photos and, of course, listen to music. This is a unique opportunity to listen to unreleased recordings of practices, live performances and studio tracks from women musicians yet to be discovered by contemporary audiences.
Ten oral histories, which have been collected especially for the project, will also be available to listen to and watch. Music & Liberation: A Compilation of Music from the Women’s Liberation Movement will be sold at the exhibition.
The exhibition is touring throughout the UK and its second stop is Manchester from 1-14 October. Hosted by the well established Bureau Gallery at a special off-site venue, Three Piccadilly Place, just minutes from Piccadilly Train Station, it will be open from 12pm-6pm daily. The venue is wheelchair accessible and an RNIB Penfriend will be available to facilitate access for visually impaired visitors.
The exhibition site also features IMPRINT, a women’s arts festival that focuses on the work of experimental, feminist, cross platform artists. Co-hosted between Manchester and Newcastle, artists featured in the festival include Maggie Nicols, Tereza Buskova, Bunty, Caro Snatch, Bridget Haydn, Aby Vuillamy, Hannabiell, Joanne Tatham, Bela Emerson and Music for One, and many other established musicians, film makers, photographers and visual artists. IMPRINT events take place from 4-7 October, please check the website for full scheduling.
The closing of the exhibition on Sunday 14 October will be marked by a day of discussions about women and alternative music. Featuring women who played in bands featured in the exhibition, such as the Northern Women’s Liberation Rock Band, authors from the recently published book Women Make Noise and cult zinester Karren Ablaze. The event is free to attend and takes place from 11.30-5pm. Full details of the programme are on the website.
Music & Liberation is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
It is based on the Women’s Liberation Music Archive an online archive launched in May 2011 by Frankie Green and Dr Deborah Withers.