The Young Women's Music Project (YWMP) is an educational charity based in Oxford, which provides an inclusive and supportive 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 since 2015, and 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, 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 in a creative and productive way, such as class, race, sexuality, gender, mental health, and consent.
In 2016, YWMP launched Team Drum; a bimonthly drum troupe for young women and 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, the straps they made themselves for marching parades from recycled materials donated by Orinoco 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, workshops on everything from looping to self-defence, and more. 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, we 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 school and other youth groups. As well as providing empowerment and encouragement for the many young people you come, the fantastic work of the young people involved in itself is inspirational, and gives the opportunity for a new generation of talent to be supported and showcased.
Life on a Dead Tree is a pocket-sized zine that responds to music visually, politically and analytically. It is curated and designed by the young creatives from YWMP. All proceeds from the zine go towards the project.
YWMP is trans inclusive, and fully intersectional.
YWMP was awarded Oxfordshire’s BBC Introducing Act Of The Year 2016.