Suffragette City: Women in Music in Manchester

Reflecting one hundred years on from when women finally earned the right to vote, The Refuge has put on a special photography exhibition which comments on the under-representation of women in the music industry.

By Manchester's Finest | 1 March 2018

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The main point of this collection of portraits is to readdress the concept of inequality in the music industry and to show that it is not that these women aren’t unicorns- they sure exist- it is just their presence that is almost absent in this male-dominated world.

The portraits show women in all their forms who are out there pushing boundaries and breaking the rules- influencing, informing and contributing on every level as artists, businesswomen and role models.

The exhibition includes some of the following women:

Paulette Constable (DJ)
‘I’m committed to this vinyl to USB love affair and all its boogie blessings. I play home and away, straight and gay, back room/ Bastille /Stade Olympique, disco, dark tech, soulful, rave, and love my radio too. I’ve still ‘Got the Love’ because music has my proper ‘Respect’.

Ang Matthews (Hacienda Manager and Licensee 1989-1997)
‘I am holding the award from the British Dance Music Charity Awards for ‘top’ club in 1989. It was the height of ‘dance culture’, and Madchester and The Hacienda was at the core of it all. I was the first woman in the UK to be granted a license for a venue of this size.’

Kyla Brox (Singer/ Vocalist)
‘My main life inspiration has been the strong creative and independent women in my family. My mother, my Grandmothers, my sisters and my aunties who taught me that I can do and be anything I choose. The legacy continues with my daughter, who is creatively uninhibited and true to herself.’

Brix Smith-Start (Musician/Artist)
‘Whitey, my guitar, is a trigger for my creativity. It is the channel with which I express myself. It is an extension of both my body and my mind which allows me to turn my thoughts into things- music. When I pick up Whitey, everything changes. I am dimensionally transported. I can create magic.’

It is fair enough to state that Hacienda bangers and getting down to some disco tunes in a toilet at La Pisscotheque wouldn’t exactly be Emmeline Pankhurst’s jam- but I would like to think that she would be proud of these women from continuing her legacy of suffrage in their own unique way.

Suffragette City: Women in Music in Manchester is on at The Refuge until 9th March with a closing party on the same evening, featuring many of the artists used in the exhibition itself.

The Refuge, Oxford St, Manchester M60 7HA
0161 233 5151