Motherhood and Live Art 2

On Saturday 29 April 2017, the Institute hosted ‘Motherhood and Live Art 2: Are we screwing the kids up?’, a discussion about processes and ethics in performance work with children. This was Study Room in Exile event in collaboration with Live Art Development Agency.

The event was organized by Miffy Ryan. The focus of the gathering was on maternal ethics, the notion of being overspent, tired of some real or imagined ethical standards, the guilt, all in relation to performance making processes with children.

The participants were (in feminist alphabetical order): Claire Hickey, Dawn Yow, Jennifer Verson, Helen Sargeant, Lena Simic, Miffy Ryan and Sarah Black.

We addressed some of these questions:

* How are we constrained by the cultural emphasis that is placed on what the mother is/represents and what the child is/represents, and how does this drive and inform the art practice we make?
* The so called cult of motherhood is one over-invested in the notion of the child as saviour and the mother as martyr, or alternatively the mother is excessive or transgressive in her art. How much can we control and critique our representation as mothers?
* How do process, practice and the broader aspects of care and parenting intersect with our live art practices?
* What is our duty of care to our children who are represented in our artworks?

The event opened with each artist doing a 5 min presentation on their maternal live art practice which addressed some of the issues outlined above.
A discussion followed, with an aim of creating our own collective ‘maternal ethics’.

Miffy Ryan has written up the event document:

The first meeting Motherhood & Live Art was organized by Emily Underwood-Lee and Lena Simic in the Study Room in Exile in January 2016.

Live Art and Motherhood: Study Room Guide on Live Art and the Maternal co-authored and co-edited by Emily and Lena is available for free to download.