Riot Grrrl Chapters Map
An online, collaborative project tracking chapters of the grassroots punk feminist movement Riot Grrrl around the world. Created for the Alien She exhibition, it assembles research from various people and the public.
As of August 2016, we’ve found nearly 200 Riot Grrrl Chapters in 26 countries and 32 U.S. states. Many chapters have formed in the last few years in places like Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Germany, and Brazil, as well as multiple generations of chapters have opened in cities like Los Angeles, New York, and Detroit since the movement’s formation in 1991. “Through their Facebook pages and Tumblrs it’s evident that each of the chapters’ missions are a response to their locations, moments, members, and needs; many forefront politics and language that are explicitly intersectional, POC, queer, and trans*” – from an interview with Astria Suparak and Ceci Moss in ArtInfo.
If you have information about missing chapters or can clarify a listed chapter’s years and exact location, email details to: riotgrrrlcensus (at) gmail.com
Two Web-based elements further strengthen the overall curatorial approach [of the Alien She exhibition]: The Riot Grrrl Census and Riot Grrrl Chapters Map are open-source archives that chart the movement’s temporal and geographic evolution and expansion. It’s a new DIY feminism for the digital age.
– Chelsea Haines, “Critics’ Pick: Alien She,” Jan. 14, 2014
Culled from a global network of institutional and personal archives, some of the zines and posters for concerts and rallies are under glass, while more notable contributions to the riot grrrl zine culture have been reproduced and are available for reading. Alongside the reading material is a table lined with iPods. Under glass at each docking station are more of the flyers, CD covers, setlists, and scribbled rants that serve as evidence of riot grrrl activity in various regions.
Each iPod’s playlist is authoritatively curated: Mr. Lady Records’ Tammy Rae Carland handles the American South; Team Dresch’s Donna Dresch has the Pacific Northwest covered; Allison Wolfe of Bratmobile/Ladyfest speaks to Washington, DC, and Olympia; andAlien She curators Ceci Moss and Astria Suparak represent their native California. England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Brazil, and Canada are also on hand, and a nearby interactive map shows currently active riot grrrl chapters across the globe.
The connection to the present day is fundamental to the concept of Alien She, which documents a history as it’s being lived.
– Marjorie Skinner, “Grrrl in Motion: Alien She,” Sept. 9, 2015
Alien She curators Astria Suparak, former director of the Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University, and Ceci Moss, assistant curator of visual arts at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, also launched two research projects that accompany the exhibition. Each leverages technology that didn’t exist at the movement’s birth to provide a more comprehensive look at how Riot Grrrl continues to empower women today.
One of those projects is a crowdsourced Google map that geolocates worldwide Riot Grrrl chapters. Suparak said she and Moss have discovered that since 1991, women’s groups founded on the principles of Riot Grrrl have been formed in 24 countries. Generations of chapters have operated in cities that include Los Angeles, New York, and Detroit. The map also points to newer chapters, from Turkey to Brazil.
“Each of the chapters’ missions are a response to their locations, moments, members, and needs; many forefront politics and language that are explicitly intersectional, POC [people of color], queer, and trans,” Suparak wrote via email. The Riot Grrrl chapter in Kuching, Malaysia, for example, bills itself as a political and radical feminist space “where we can open our eyes and reach out to each other without being threatened by this sexist society.”
– Jennifer Swann, “Too Cool to Be Forgotten: Riot Grrrl Lives On, Two Decades Later,” Feb. 16, 2015
ASAP/JOURNAL (Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present), “’I Am Proud to Be How I Am’: Gender and Sexuality Statements in the Brazilian Feminist Punk Scene,” Karina Moritzen, December 3, 2020