British Council Turkey and Beats by Girlz Turkey launched an open call for ‘My City, My Voice’ for women artists in Turkey, as part of the ‘Women Power in Culture’ programme.

Deadline: Wednesday, 22 December 2021

The British Council have initiated a three-year programme in 2017 ‘Women and Leadership in Arts and Culture’ with the purpose to support and work with the women professionals in creative sectors, women artists and actors working on the field of gender equality. The British Council also believes that gender equality and women’s empowerment are crucial to creating inclusive, open and prosperous societies and have a multiplier effect in all areas that accelerate sustainable development. 

In this context, Women of the World Festival (WOW) was held digitally for the first time in Turkey on 5-6-7 March 2020. WOW Istanbul Festival is unique in bringing together the arts and culture sector with civil society to celebrate women and create new collaborations to address women’s issues, based on the power of the arts to create new ways of seeing the world and new and inclusive forums for reflection and dialogue. It is a platform to share the stories and voices of women through music, performance, video, discussion and debate. Reaching an audience of more than three million, WOW Festival Istanbul will take place for the second time in March 2022.

This year, WOW Istanbul Festival launches the ‘My City, My Sound’ project open call in cooperation with Beats By Girlz Turkey, led by Beril Sarıaltun for women artists in Turkey as part of the WOW Sounds, the music programming of the festival. 

The project will recruit a cohort of 20 women musicians from Turkey - 10 from Istanbul, 10 from elsewhere in Turkey, all selected via an open call. Through online workshops and mentoring sessions, participants will learn the basic principles of sound design. Then, they will go on a sound walk in the selected regions and make audio recordings of the area via their mobile phones. After that, they will manipulate and design the sounds in a musical framework. Participants will work with each other throughout the project and evaluate the sound mood and the structure of the selected venues together. As executives and curators of the project, Beril Sarıaltun with UK based independent musician and sound designer Mandy Wigby will be selecting from the digital compositions of the workshop participants to be showcased online and offline at the WOW Istanbul Festival and to be streamed in digital platforms as a project compilation album.

The aims of ‘My City, My Sound’ project are: 

  • to create opportunities for women musicians working as instrumentalist, vocalists, producer or sound designer to voice their ideas on gender equality as well as showcase their arts and talents through diverse, inclusive, and innovative programming on the digital.
  • share, celebrate and broaden appreciation of the artistic excellence of women artists from Turkey.

Project Details and Conditions

  1. The project is eligible for women working as instrumentalists, vocalists, producers or sound designers.
  2. Artists applying for this project should be older than 18 years of age, be citizens of Turkey and residents of Turkey.
  3. The entire workshop will be conducted remotely. In order to attend the workshop properly, participants are expected to have a computer that is open for personal use, capable of running music production programs, and sufficient internet infrastructure.
  4. Studio recording days will be organized for participants in Istanbul. Participants in other cities will also be provided with the necessary consultancy in this regard.
  5. Venue suggestions will be brought by participants in the project application in which region they would like to work in their city. The regions where the selected participants will make sound designs will be clarified together with the “My City, My Sound” project team in order to analyze the city from a sociological, ecological and gender perspective.
  6. Beril Sarıaltun as sound designer, musician and founding director of Beats By Girlz Turkey will organize an online workshop for principles of sound design. After that UK based musician and sound designer Mandy Wigby will make a presentation to the participants in a session themed designing from city sounds and creating a sound-based landscape. There will be simultaneous translation at the seminar. After this seminar, the participants will go on a sound walk in the selected regions and make field recordings there.
  7. Participants will create a musical composition based on the sound recordings they have recorded and work one-on-one with the project coordinators about their compositions to finalize their works.
  8. The songs produced by the participants within the scope of the project will be streamed on digital platforms in LP format. Mixing and mastering processes of the works to be prepared for streaming on digital platforms will be covered by the project. The works to be included in the album will be selected by ‘My City, My Sound’ curators Beril Sarıaltun and Mandy Wigby after the sound design workshops and music production work are completed.
  9. The selected artists will be required to participate in a video interview that will be conducted for ‘My City, My Sound’ project documentary.
  10. The selected performances to be screened online and live at the WOW Istanbul Festival to be held in March 2022 will be determined after the workshop period. Exact dates and venue to be announced.

Artist Criteria

  1. Experience in music theory and music production.
  2. Enthusiasm in collaboration and working on new artistic and creative projects on a digital international festival platform.
  3. A desire to collaborate with other artists, to be enthusiastic about the subject and good time management skills.
  4. An interest in experimenting with forms of art expression available in online environment.

Selection Committee

Selection committee is composed of Beril Sarıaltun, (Founding Director, Beats By Girlz Turkey), Mandy Wigby (Musician), Esra A. Aysun (Head of Arts Turkey, British Council) and Tom Sweet (Music Programme Manager, British Council)

Project Timeline

22 November – 22 December 2021: Open call and application period

10 January 2022: Announcement of the selected artists 

17- 21 January 2022: Sound design workshops 

22 January - 25 February 2022: Music production and project mentorship days   

March 2022: Digital streaming of the project compilation album and live performance at WOW Istanbul Festival