Belfast women in punk under spotlight at music exhibition

Slits guitarist Viv Albertine'a autobiography was part of the inspiration behind the new focus.

The only permanent exhibition of popular music in Northern Ireland is set to focus on women and Belfast punk in the late 1970s.

The idea was inspired by the autobiography of Slits guitarist Viv Albertine, and the upcoming film documentary on Poly Styrene (Marianne Joan Elliott-Said) from the punk rock band X-Ray Spex.

Oh Yeah centre chief executive officer Charlotte Dryden said some incredibly inspiring women with fantastic memories of their younger days as punks had come forward to tell their stories.

“I think we have definitely dug a little deeper than before into the story of Northern Ireland punk, which is wonderful as we are very excited about building as comprehensive archive on NI music as possible.

“This gives us a new perspective, alternative and of course shared memories of a moment in time that the 70s punk generation are so incredibly proud of.”

Punk music culture arrived in Northern Ireland during the height of the Troubles, its credo summed up by the Stiff Little Fingers single Alternative Ulster.

In April Oh Yeah appealed for female participants of the punk scene to get in touch with memorabilia and stories which they could share and include in the exhibition.

The centre felt the role of female fans and musicians needed to be researched in more depth.

Ms Dryden said: “We wanted an alternative, alternative story.”

The exhibition runs from June 5 – 10 as part of the Women’s Work Festival.

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