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Women’s Musical Leadership Online Network (WMLON)

The Women’s Musical Leadership Online Network (WMLON) is an AHRC-funded research network which explores women’s musical leadership in the contemporary music industries and within music education and aims to interrogate the role which mentorship plays in developing women’s leadership potential. WMLON is led by Dr Laura Hamer (The Open University, PI) and Dr Helen Julia Minors (Kingston University, Co-I) with Research Collaborators Dr Laura Watson (Maynooth University, Sounding The Feminists) and Gabriella Di Laccio (Donne Women in Music). WMLON runs between January 2022 and November 2023. It will organise a series of online workshops, aimed at exploring women’s musical leadership within the music industries and music education, and culminate in the Second International Conference on Women’s Musical Leadership, which will be held online in November 2023. WMLON develops the work began by the Women’s Musical Leadership Online Project (WMLOP), which was funded by The Open University, and ran between January and July 2021.

Musical leadership remains one of the most male-dominated musical areas. As late as 2013, for instance, female conductors achieved a significant first when Marin Alsop became the first woman to direct the BBC’s Last Night of the Proms. Although female composers, songwriters, and performers have attracted significant scholarly attention, women’s musical leadership remains intriguingly under researched. WMLON aims to address this.

Although musical leadership is often seen as residing in authority figures – quintessentially exemplified through the maestro conductor – this project moves beyond considering those who hold senior positions to embrace artists, educators, and activists who have influenced and driven change within the contemporary music industries.

For details of all upcoming and past WMLON events (including those organised by WMLOP), please click the Events Tab.


AHRC logoWMLON is funded by The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)