The Young Women’s Music Project (YWMP) is an educational charity based in Oxford, which provides a space for young women aged 14-21 to make music together, learn new skills, express themselves, and grow in confidence. In the free music sessions and workshops, the young women make and record music, plan and hold gigs and events, and discuss issues affecting young people.
YWMP have been artists in residence at Fusion Arts on Princes Street since 2015. They bring cutting-edge projects, gigs, exhibitions and talks to Oxford in high profile institutions such as Modern Art Oxford, the Ashmolean Museum and the Pitt Rivers Museum. Often these are in partnerships with hospitals, schools, and organisations for vulnerable young people such as VIP+ and Readipop. The projects help young people to challenge issues affecting them such as class, race, sexuality, gender and mental health in a creative and productive way.
In 2016, YWMP launched Team Drum; a drum troupe for young women along with one-to-one music tuition sessions run by Zahra Haji Fath Ali Tehrani, the Director of YWMP. Team Drum has received support from Oxfordshire County Music Service, Readipop, Fusion Arts, Ark T and My Normal. Everything about Team Drum has required creativity and determination; from the first big performance at Cowley Road Carnival on a pink milk float, to the straps they made themselves for marching parades from recycled materials donated by Orinoco, through to the unique beats they create and play.
Following the revelation of wide-scale sexual abuse of children and young people in Oxfordshire by Operation Bullfinch, the young people involved in YWMP made it clear that they needed a safe and empowering environment to challenge cultures of sexism and abuse. In response to this, the first WO-MAN-ITY festival was held in 2013. The festival included performances, panel discussions and workshops on everything from looping to self-defence. The festival was such a success that it has since become an annual event coinciding with International Women’s Day. Working with venues across Oxford, including Modern Art Oxford, Fusion Arts and most recently the Pitt Rivers Museum, they provide unparalleled opportunities for young people to organise events, curate artwork, perform and share their own work alongside established artists. The event is attended by people of all ages from across Oxfordshire, including schools and other youth groups.
If you would like to do something to help sustain YWMP please go to YWMP.org.uk and click the DONATE button.