Music & Liberation

                          Sunday 14 October - 11.30-5pm

               A Day of Discussions About Women and Music

11.30am-1pm Angela Cooper from the Manchester based Northern Women’s Liberation Rock Band and prolific gig goer Cath Booth reflect on the women’s music communities from the 1970s and 1980s

1.30pm-3pm A series of discussions from contributors to the upcoming book Women Make Noise, which is being published by Aurora Metro in October. Editor Julia Downes is joined by Bryony Beynon and Jackie Parsons to read from their chapters and discuss women in music history. 


Julia Downes: Julia Downes has been active in DIY queer feminist cultural activism for over ten years within Manifesta, Ladyfest Leeds, Ladies Rock UK, Star and Shadow Cinema and even clean hands cause damage  and as a drummer in the bands The Holy Terror, Fake Tan, Vile Vile Creatures and The Physicists. In 2010 Julia completed her PhD on contemporary queer feminist activist music cultures in the UK including riot grrrl, Ladyfest and grassroots collectives. She has lectured on popular music and society, feminist cultural activism and queer girl cultures at the University of Leeds, University of Derby, University of Birmingham and Durham University. She currently works as a Research Associate at Durham University on a national project about domestic violence services.

Jackie ParsonsJackie Parsonsplayed, sang and composed with several bands during the 70s and 80s, including Mother Superior and Snips and the Video Kings, touring the UK, Europe and USA and supporting The Ramones on their 1978 UK tour.  Also did live sound in clubs and ran Bonny Street Studios in Camden. Together with her husband Stephen Parsons she went into the production of music for TV, film and commercials, which ultimately lead to them making their own movies - Wishbaby and Rough Magik. She currently has a music publishing company, is writing songs and singing with the North London Community Choir.  For further reading visit her blog.

Bryony Beynon: Bryony Beynon is a writer, musician and community organiser originally from South Wales, and has been involved in DIY punk for ten years. She is a columnist for Maximum Rocknroll, publishes Modern Hate Vibe zine and crops up trumpeting for radical feminism in The Guardian and on the BBC as co-director of Hollaback London, also working with survivors of sexual violence at East London Rape Crisis. Bryony is a graduate of Sussex University and the Culture Industry MA programme at Goldsmiths,  writing and researching on knowledge hierarchies in volunteer-led radical cultural practice and international secret girl punk histories. With her Big Takeover project, she has  taken gigs out  of the pubs and into abandoned buildings, railway arches and the roof of the Hayward  gallery, while currently working on setting up a permanent autonomous DIY space for London. She is also a programme officer for Arts Council England, running a new pilot to widen access to business support and finance for artists and creative practitioners.   

3.30-5pm Karren Ablaze reads from her new book The City is Ablaze!, a compilation of her legendary fanzine Ablaze! from the late 80s and 90s.

The City is Ablaze! tells the story of Ablaze! fanzine, from 1984 to 1994. The book shows how this successful Manchester- and Leeds-based publication began as a tiny photocopied zine, and includes many new writings by its author Karren Ablaze!, pieces by various collaborators, and an afterword by The Cribs’ Gary Jarman. Other zine writers, such as John Robb and Dave Haslam, are interviewed, and hundreds of pages of beautifully-reproduced zine pages reveal interviews with bands like Nirvana, The Stone Roses, Throwing Muses, Huggy Bear, The Pixies, Pavement, Nation of Ulysses and many more. In the course of the fanznine’s history Karren was to attract the disapprobation of a number of musicians, including Morrissey, Ian Brown and Thurston Moore. A female fanzine writer in a male dominated scene, she was also to meet female musicians who deepened her understanding of feminist thought, and eventually encountered the excitement and mutual support of the Riot Grrrl movement in the early 1990s.