‘Does creativity have to be incompatible with domestic life? Once all the consumerist, competitive rubbish is cast off, what might be left behind is a more positive way of parenting that demands focus, mindfulness, & awareness of others. It’s a way of life that can be inspiring & empowering, but it entails rejecting stereotypes of creativity that are so often defined in terms of men’s lives & experiences’

– Zoe Brigley Thompson

On Saturday 17th November 2018, we held an event as part of the Being Human Festival at the V&A Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green, London

We asked: what does it mean to be a mother working in the creative arts today? This event brought together artists and organisations who explore the role of motherhood in contemporary society. This could be everything from the germination of ideas to how motherhood informs artists’ and writers’ work without shrinking away from the bigger issues associated with women and work. With children’s workshops lead by Little Artists London, child-friendly talks with poet and editor of the Writing Motherhood anthology Dr Carolyn Jess-Cooke and Motherhouse Studios artist-in-residence Mary Martins.

Dr Carolyn Jess-Cook

Carolyn is a poet, novelist, editor, and a Lecturer in Creative Writing based at the University of Glasgow. Her 2014 poetry collection BOOM!explores her experience of motherhood and was awarded a K Blundell award from the Society of Authors and a Northern Writers award. Carolyn’s work has appeared in numerous publications, including the New Statesman, the Poetry Review, and Mslexia, and she has performed at literary festivals all over the world. She currently runs the Arts Council-funded Writing Motherhood project and has edited Writing Motherhood: a Creative Anthology, an exploration of the challenges of motherhood featuring contributions from Carol Ann Duffy, Alice Oswald, Hollie McNish, and Sharon Olds.

Mary Martins

Mary is a London-based documentary animator, experimental filmmaker, and abstract expressionist. Mary’s animated documentary ‘The Divide’ was awarded the 2017 Mother Art Prize and she recently completed a residency at the Mother House studio in Dagenham, where she worked on her current project Childhood Memories, a short animated film exploring heritage, culture, and memory.

Little Artists London

Little Artists London was founded by Francesca Centioni-Dene. With over ten years’ experience as an artist educator, Francesca has delivered workshops at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, the V&A Museum of Childhood, October gallery, as well as schools and colleges across London. For ‘Motherhood and Making’, Little Artists London will host a zine making workshop for under-10s, based on the work of visionary female artists.

Supported by QMUL Centre for Public Engagement & V&A Museum of Childhood. More information here.