British Council Turkey and Beats by Girlz Turkey have launched the second edition of ‘My City, My Voice’ project for women artists in Turkey extending it to İzmir, Gaziantep and Diyarbakır, as part of the ‘Women Power in Culture’ programme.

The British Council has 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. 

‘My City, My Sound’ project; which had its first edition launched in WOW Sounds, a (the music programming of the Women of the World Festival (WOW) Istanbul Festival) is coming back to the city with its second edition. The project’s first edition which allowed women to interpret the city with their music had resulted in LP records and a documentary, both of which had great influence in the UK and Turkey. The new edition of the project aims to emphasize the cultural diversity among female artists in Turkey. 

The 15 women musicians all selected via an open call, first attended online workshops and mentoring sessions to learn the basic principles of sound design. Then, they went on a sound walk in their own neighborhoods in İzmir, Gaziantep and Diyarbakır and made audio recordings of the area via their mobile phones. After that, they will manipulated and designed the sounds in a musical framework. Participants worked with each other throughout the project and evaluated the sound mood and the structure of the selected venues together. As executives and curators of the project, Beril Sarıaltun with UK based Lizzy Ellis of Saffron Music have selected from the digital compositions of the workshop participants to be showcased online and offline at the WOW Sounds and to be streamed in digital platforms as a project compilation album.

With the support of the British Council, Saffron, and Zuhal Music, the participants of the project performed their songs accompanied by an all-female musician's band at the 'My City My Voice' solidarity concerts held on 3 April at İzmir Originn and 5 April at Istanbul Babylon. Natalia Mamcarczyk (aka Walya) from the UK opened both concerts with a DJ performance. After the February 6 earthquakes, the box office income of these solidarity concerts,  were donated to the Hatay Defne Women's Cooperative operating in the earthquake impacted region.

The aims of ‘My City, My Voice’ 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

Watch My City My Voice first documentary

Watch My City My Voice second edition documentary

Listen to My City My Voice album on Spotify

Listen to My City My Voice second edition album on Spotify 

Project Participants

  • Alev Çevik, Diyarbakır
  • Ayça Akkın, İzmir
  • Derya Cengiz Kaçar, Diyarbakır
  • Dilek Bayrak, İzmir
  • Duru Ors, İzmir
  • Ece Çankaya, Diyarbakır
  • Ecem Şimşek, Diyarbakır
  • Evin Dülek, Diyarbakır
  • Ezgi Tekin, İzmir
  • Helin kılıçarslan, Diyarbakır
  • Neval Turhallı, Diyarbakır
  • Nergis Fırtına,  İzmir
  • Reem Al Mouie, Gaziantep
  • Rojda Sönmez, Diyarbakır
  • Yasemin Belli, İzmir

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 be 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. 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 analyse the city from a sociological, ecological and gender perspective. 
  5. The kick-off of the project will be held at the festival by Beats By Girlz Turkey on 4-5-6 November in Istanbul. The transportation and accommodation expenses of the participants who will join from Diyarbakır, Gaziantep and İzmir will be covered by the project. 
  6. Beril Sarıaltun as sound designer, musician and founding director of Beats By Girlz Turkey will organize an online workshop on principles of sound design. After that, Lizzy Ellis from Saffron Music will give a seminar to the participants in a session entitled ‘Approaching the City with Sound’. There will be a 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. Beats By Girlz Turkey team and mentors of the project will attend in person the sound walks organized in Diyarbakır, Gaziantep and İzmir. Sound walks to be held in these cities are designed in cooperation with Spaces of Culture. 
  8. 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. 
  9. 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 Beril Sarıaltun as ‘My City, My Sound’ curator after the sound design workshops and music production work are completed. 
  10. The selected artists will be required to participate in a video interview that will be conducted for the ‘My City, My Sound’ project documentary. 
  11. The selected performances to be screened online and live at the WOW Sounds to be held in March 2023 will be determined after the workshop period. Exact dates and venue are 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 an online environment. 

Selection Committee

The selection committee is composed of Beril Sarıaltun, Founding Director, Beats By Girlz Turkey, Lizzy Ellis from Saffron Music, Esra A. Aysun, Head of Arts Turkey, British Council and Tom Sweet, Music Programme Manager, British Council.  

Project Timeline

26 September – 21 October 2022: Open Call and Application Period 

27 October 2022: Announcement of the Selected Artists 

6 November 2022: Kick-off of the Project 

1-4 December: Online Workshops 

7 - 11 December 2022: Sound Walks at Diyarbakır and Gaziantep 

16 - 18 December 2022: Sound Walks at İzmir 

22 December - 10 February 2022: Music Production and Project Mentorship Days   

March 2023: Digital Streaming of the project compilation album and live performance at WOW Sounds.