The Simpson Center’s offices are currently all online. Our staff is available by phone and email. We do our best to respond as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.

Women Who Rock

Year of Funding: 

Since 2011, Women Who Rock (WWR) has brought together scholars/archivists, musicians, media-makers, performers, artists, and activists to explore the role of women and popular music in the creation of cultural scenes and social justice movements in the Americas and beyond. The project encompasses several interwoven components: project-based coursework at the graduate and undergraduate levels; an annual participant-driven conference and film festival; and an oral history archive hosted by the University of Washington Libraries Digital Initiatives Program that ties the various components together. The archive features oral histories with Medusa, Alice Bag, Nobuko Miyamoto, and many others.

In our courses, programming and archive, we examine the politics of performance, social identity and material access in music scenes, cultures, and industries. Over the span of this year, we will continue to expand the oral history archive, making more interviews and short-form digital projects available to the public. In spring 2014, Michelle Habell-Pallán and Sonnet Retman will offer an undergraduate course, AFRAM 337/ GWSS 241 “Rock the Archive: Hip Hop, Indie Rock and the Digital,” that introduces students to popular music studies, the practice of archive building, oral history analysis, and digital scholarship. We will also run a collaborative graduate mentorship workshop in April. We are joining efforts with UW’s Native Voices: Indigenous Documentary Film Project and historic Washington Hall to host community events timed in conjunction with the EMP Pop Conference in April 2014. 

WWR has been sponsored by the Simpson Center for the Humanities, Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies, American Ethnic Studies, The Graduate School, Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity, Diversity Research Institute, Communication Department, MCDM, Convivencia: Convening Community, the UW Libraries Digital Initiatives, ASUW, Comparative History of Ideas, Beyond HB 1079, College Assistance Migrant Program, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and the Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest. 

In the past years, WWR has worked closely with Home Alive, Ladies First’s CARA and Seattle Fandango Project and we have received in-kind support from many other local community arts and social justice organizations: Washington Hall, Hidmo, De Cajón Project, Sistah Sinema, Open Hand Reel, 4Culture, Asian Pacific Islander Women & Family Safety Center, B-Girl Media, Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas, Green Bodies, Seattle Girls’ School Latina Affinity Group, Social HeARTistry Educators (S.H.E.), Uzuri Productions, Zenyu, and StoryGarden Seattle.  

Learn more at And keep up with Women Who Rock on Facebook. Women Who Rock may also be contacted at

Primary Contact

Sonnet Retman (American Ethnic Studies)

Michelle Habell-Pallán (Gender, Women, & Sexuality Studies)

Angelica Macklin (Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies)