For more than fifty years now, artists have made powerful work and writers/academics have published persuasive research that reveals the dichotomy between the lived experience of pregnancy, birth and new parenthood and its lack of representation in popular culture.
Still, in the 21st century, much of this work and knowledge remains invisible or inaccessible to the vast majority of expecting and new parents, and those who are responsible for their well-being such as midwives, GPs, obstetricians, gynaecologists and psychologists.
Work made or written by mothers and fathers during pregnancy, or in the early years of their children’s existence about their personal experiences of new parenthood, uniquely captures a period in life that is at once the most intensely felt, and yet the least likely to be accurately captured by long-term memory. Art and literature therefore could and should provide crucial evidence in any research on parenthood.
An important part of the problem is that writers and researchers often work and publish in relative isolation, engaging small academic circles only, sometimes merely within the boundaries of their own countries. Similarly, due to the taboo status of parenthood in the modern art world and its perceived inferiority as a subject, the many outstanding autobiographical works of art about early parenthood experiences in existence stand very little chance of ever leaving artists’ own studios.
If you feel you have written important work or are in the process of conducting academic or independent research which relates strongly to any aspect of the above or adds to the debate on Art and The Maternal/Paternal in any other way, you may want to apply to become a DIEP Research Fellow. Please click on the image below to download the application form for more information.