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Watering Our Gardens: Black Women + Femme Musical Placemaking Practices

The Black Music Therapy Network's Black Women + Femme Collective is currently cultivating musical care through a creative book project and exhibit and calling for writers and authors to contribute.

Project Summary

Black women and femme musical placemaking practices have played an integral role in healing and reclamation within Black communities and beyond. However, the documentation of these practices has been left outside of broader health discourse. Inherent to our existence is a connection to land and place predating notions of spatial possession. Black woman and femme’s strategies of seeding, planting, watering, tending, growing, and storying have consistently recognized this. In Watering Our Gardens: Black Women and Femme Musical Placemaking Practices, we seek to affirm this knowledge situated in our consciousness and embodied in our being, feeling, intuition, speaking, conversation, daily activities and musical experiences relating to space.

As an intellectual, political, creative, and expressive project, Watering Our Gardens acknowledges the unique standpoint of Black women and femmes and the interlocking structures that influence our human, material, and immaterial existence. It also recognizes the liberatory function of Black musical traditions–how they have helped us get free, deepened our capacity to heal and be healed, and devised new worlds. Herein, this project does not solely seek to put things in their "right place" but recognizes how we consistently challenge perceptions of healing space and what it could be.

This project aims to center:

  • the collective voices of Black women + femmes

  • protest, refusal, fugitivity, and rest as necessary acts of care

  • creative exploration of place (i.e., land, location, curated space), ritual, and music-based healing practices

Project Conveners

Co-Editors: Marisol Norris, CharCarol Fisher, Kendra Ray, & Britton Williams

Communal Conveners: Kamica King, Natasha Thomas, & Melita Belgrave

Creative Consultants: Leah Gipson & Stefanie Belnavis

We seek to:

  • compile chapters and creative writing into a book that explores the above aims

  • gather artistic pieces in the BMTN web-based archive and exhibition

  • participate in community art-based exploration of placemaking (communal space)

Instructions for Submissions

We invite Black women and femmes (people outside the gender binary identifying within the "feminine" realm or "feminine of center") at the intersection of music, health, healing, and transformation to submit written or artistic contributions as a collective tending to this work.


  • Contributions are not limited to music focus, although music should be central to knowledge production and written submission.

  • First-time authors are welcomed to contribute. Communal spaces will be provided to support written contributions.

  • All authors are encouraged to participate in communal gatherings and meet-ups, although participation is not required for chapter inclusion.


  • We welcome all creative submissions (e.g., music, dance, poetry, art, drama/theatre-based performance) highlighting Black women + femme's music and healing.

  • We will feature accepted pieces on the BMTN web-based archive and exhibition centering on Black women + femme's musical place-making practices.

  • Creative contributors retain full ownership of their work and distribution rights.

  • Email for more details.

Interested authors can submit a chapter proposal to

Chapter & Artistic Proposal Submissions: May 15, 2023

For chapter proposals, submit a detailed description of your chapter idea (approx. 300-500 words). For artistic proposals, submit an initial sample of the creative piece or describe the creative direction (approx. 250 words).

Full Chapter & Artistic Submissions: October 15, 2023

Full chapter submissions should be approximately 2500-6000 words and address the general theme of musical placemaking by Black women and femmes. Proposed papers may address, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • Black women + femmes music and healing journeys

  • Historical documentation of music and health practices within Black communities

  • Analysis of Black aesthetics in music and health practices, particularly therapeutic methods informed by music history, cultural theories and criticism

  • Black women + femme methodologies (e.g., Indigenous, feminist, womanist, queer, disabled) within arts-based inquiry that supports individual and collective healing, health, or well-being

BMTN Black Women + Femme Musical Placemaking Collective Communal Spaces

Our web-based communal spaces will start in June to support individual journeys and the collective project. Contributors are invited to join:

  • Monthly gatherings for arts-based communal support (1-1 ½ hours)

  • Monthly generative meet-ups to support written and artistic project submissions (1-1 ½ hours)

Email with questions.



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