Topic: Care and Creativity zoom link
Time: This is a recurring meeting same link for Thursday 8th and Friday 9th

Please note we will be operating a waiting room

Time: 9.45- 12. 45

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 916 5673 0790


Symposium in Hugh Lane Gallery

“Care and Creativity: Parenthood and Arts Practice in the EU” is being co-organised by The Mothership Project and the National College of Art and Design, Dublin with the support of the Communicating Europe Initiative. The Hugh Lane Gallery will host the event to coincide with their exhibitionsEva Gonzalès Is What Dublin Needs” and “Bones in the Attic”.

The aim of this symposium is to create a platform for discussion around ways of working as a parenting artist. The two mornings are an opportunity to examine the climate for parenting artists both in Ireland and within Europe and to share knowledge on how to manage the juggle of Care and Creativity

Speakers include:- sociologist and author of “Care and Capitalism” Kathleen Lynch, Frank Abruzzese from Cow House Studios, Orla Whelan from AtHomeStudios, Catherine Marshall of Na Caillleacha, BBK Berufsverband Bildender Künstler*innen form Berlin, Michelle Brown and Leah Hillard from The Mothership Project as well as artists Annette Hollywood, Aideen Barry, Fiona Reilly and Ruby Wallis.

Limited childcare for children aged between 1 and 4 years will be available each day. Please email <> to book a place. Please note for those with infants, they are welcome to join and our speakers are aware that babies will be in the room. 

It takes place on Thursday 8th and Friday 9th September from 9.45am – 12.45pm.

Thursday (9.45-12.30) This session looks at what is happening across Europe and in Ireland in relation to supporting parenting artists. BOOK HERE ***This is the booking for in-person event, the zoom link will be shared closer to the time for online access***

10.00 – 10.45  Berlin based artist Annette Hollywood and artist Sabine Reinfeld, former board member of bbk : Berufsverband Bildender Künstler*innen berlin (Professional Association of Visual Artists Berlin) and Aoife Tunney Creative Europe Culture office.

11.15 – 12.15 Presentation by Kathleen Lynch author of Care and Capitalism followed by discussion with Michelle Browne and Leah Hilliard of The Mothership 

Friday (9.45-12.30) This session focuses on best practice bringing artists experience and realities, both here and abroad to the table . BOOK HERE ***This is the booking for in-person event, the zoom link will be shared closer to the time for online access***

10-10.45 Discussion on residencies with children both here and abroad Fiona O’Reilly, Aideen Barry, Frank Abruzzese from Cow House Studios

11.15-12.15 Panel discussion with Orla Whelan from AtHomeStudios alongside artists Ruby Wallis and Catherine Marshall of Na Caillleacha discussing ways of working

Coming soon . . . . . SYMPOSIUM at The Hugh Lane Gallery

This September we will host a symposium entitled “Care and Creativity: Parenthood and Arts Practice in the EU”. The symposium is being co-organised by The Mothership Project and the National College of Art and Design, Dublin with the support of the Communicating Europe Initiative. The Hugh Lane Gallery will host the event to coincide with two exhibitions of work by women artists.

The symposium will bring together experts and collectives from Ireland and Europe to discuss challenges parenting artists face in the field of culture, examining issues from a historical point of view to consider how Ireland joining the EEC fast-tracked gender-based equality legislation, while also discussing our contemporary landscape and sharing strategies for promoting gender equality in the cultural sectors across European contexts.

The symposium will take place in person over two mornings at the Hugh Lane and will also have elements that allow for virtual attendance.

Our Publication: The Mothership Project Satellite Findings

Since 2018 The Mothership Project have undertaken research into the lives of parenting artists. A survey was carried out with over 140 respondents from across the country and highlighted the difficulty of maintaining an art career as a parent in Ireland.

*****Find downloadable soft copy here*****

Mothership Project: SATELLITE FINDINGS 

A new publication with the findings of the survey and residency, with recommendations for arts organisation to better support and be inclusive of artist with children, was launched on the 16th of May.  The publication features a essay by eminent researcher Dr. Eileen Drew looking at the context of parenting in Ireland in which this survey fits. The Publication will be launched by feminist activist and academic Ailbhe Smyth, with a keynote lecture from Prof. Kathleen Lynch on Love Labour and its impact on carers, particularly women. The survey and its key findings were developed and analysed by Professor Helen Kara.

MShip - Cover

The Mothership Project is a network of parenting artists in Ireland. The Mothership Project aims to support parenting artists in the development of their practice and to encourage arts organisations to make the art world a more inclusive place for artists with children. The Mothership Project wants to see societal and institutional change for parents in the art world. Being a parent can be challenging at the best of times, but with precarious circumstances and incomes, and uncertain futures parenting artists can be doubly challenged within a society that is lacking many supports for those with children.

The Satellite Residency is funded by the Arts Council of Ireland and Wexford County Council Arts Office, and is supported by Visual, Carlow and Wexford Arts Centre. The Mothership Project is currently managed collectively by 4 artists Leah Hillard, Michelle Browne, Seoidín O’Sullivan, Tara Kennedy

Contact: themothershipproject@gmail.comor

FB:@themothershipproject TW:@ArtMothership

Thanks and Kathleen Lynch’s slides

Thanks to everyone who joined us in person and online for “Care and Creativity: Parenthood and Arts Practice in the EU”

Please find Kathleen Lynch‘s slides on Care and Capitalism below

A big thanks you to Fiona Carey  for Graphic Design work for the Symposium

Also a big thanks to all our contributors please find more on their projects, practice and work below

Thursday 8th September 

Annette Hollywood                       

Sabine Reinfeld                              

bbk –  

Berufsverband Bildender Künstler*innen form Berlin, – 

Professional Association of Fine Artists Berlin

Kathleen Lynch

The slides from Kathleen’s talk are available on the The Mothership project website 

Friday 9th September 

Aideen Barry

Sari Residency – Finland :

Fiona O’Reilly

Frank Abruzzese from Cow House Studios

Orla Whelan from AtHomeStudios 

Ruby Wallis

Catherine Marshall of Na Caillleacha

Childcare provided by 

Timea Tenczler from Imaginature Club

Our Mothership Project COVID Questionnaire

The Irish Arts council ran a survey on April 3-13 2020 to check in on artists and the impact the pandemic was having on their practice, earnings and career opportunities. We were alarmed that there was no question wondering about the impact increased care responsibilities (home schooling and no child care services) was having on artists time, mental health and practice. The Mothership decided to run this survey to make visible what the effect of increased care labour was having on parenting artists. We are delighted to share it here with you and feel that it is now as relevant as ever as we are in our third lockdown.

As we went into lockdown on March 7th 2020 during the Covid 19 pandemic, all parents felt the burden of home schooling and pressure on their time in different ways. The Mothership Project, a network of parenting artists in Ireland, ran a survey to check in on artist parents to find out what the specific pressures were during lockdown. 

The Mothership Project’ s survey makes visible the particular needs and experiences of parenting artists during this time. We wanted to understand the knock on effect in the arts for those with children when it is more challenging to make work and to apply for funding. Equally, if artists are earning less and cannot afford childcare, this has implications on their ability to make art and again to apply for funding to give them time for their practice.

Question 10 was an open question: “Is there anything else you would like to tell us about being a parenting artist at this time e.g. have there been any benefits, how is your mental health, what might help in this time, etc?” Thanks to Dr Helen Kara for helping us collate the findings on this question.

One Year on – Take The Mothership Covid Questionnaire


Dear Parenting Artists and friends

It is one year since The Mothership Project launched its publication Satellite Findings that presented the results from our parenting artist survey and parenting artist residency in collaboration with Cow House Studios. As parenting artists we have keenly felt the challenges that the current coronavirus crisis has presented, particularly in relation to practice and childcare. 

Following on from our past parenting artist survey, we ask that you take part in The Mothership Covid Questionnaire to help us to take the temperature of what it is currently like for practicing artists with children. The Arts Council’s recent survey into the current conditions for artists asked no questions around the particular challenges faced by artists with children. We hope that this questionnaire will in some way fill that gap. 

You can find it here –

It is a short questionnaire of 10 questions and should take between 4 -10 minutes to complete depending on how much you would like to share with us. All information will be gathered anonymously and we hope to share our findings with the wider community to make visible the particular challenges faced by parenting artists today. 

The survey closes on May 18th (when other things start to open up a bit more!)

Thanks and solidarity,

The Mothership Project

Making Support Structures: Who Gets to Speak? Sarah Lincoln’s article discussing The Mothership Project Satellite findings for The Visual Artists News Sheet July -August 2019


WRITER DONNA HARAWAY is exasperated with the limits of criticism. She is frustrated that our most sophisticated thinkers and critics expend their energy developing more and more nuanced ways of describing the seemingly hopeless societal and ecological binds in which we find ourselves. The challenge, according to Haraway, is to apply the force of our thought to proposing creative and inclusive solutions to these problems.1

We are indebted to The Mothership Project – a collective of parenting artists based in Ire- land, founded in 2013 – for stretching to meet a provocation like this with energy and action. In May, The Mothership Project launched their report, Satellite Findings, in which 145 parenting artists responded to a range of questions about their professional lives while parenting. Of the respondents, 92% were mothers, with 80% feeling that parental responsibilities were having a negative impact on their arts practice.

Professor Eileen Drew (Director of Trinity Centre for Gender Equality and Leadership at Trinity College Dublin) contributes an import- ant essay to this report, in which she highlights broader societal realities around parenting in Ireland. In Dublin, the average cost of full-time childcare is currently €1,047 per month for each child, while the average salary is approximately €3,800 per month. The survey outlines how parenting artists have responded to these financial pressures by undertaking this caregiving themselves. The snapshot captured by this survey describes how this task is largely being undertaken by mothers, with 42% of those surveyed spending 10 hours or less a week working on their artistic practice. What emerges through the survey is the harsh impact upon artists who parent, as well as the frustration being felt at this broad correlation of parenting with a ‘silencing’ of one’s professional life. As one respondent states: “the unwritten rule for being a successful artist is ‘don’t have kids’”.

The Mothership Project is explicit in its aims: it seeks “societal and institutional change” to make space for the voices of parenting artists. Drew’s essay sketches out practical solutions to some of these pressures, while being mindful that these changes can only find traction through political support. She identifies a few areas of progressive and achievable change, noting that while parental leave in Ireland is generous in terms of duration, it is underpaid; she cites Nordic models, which means-test childcare costs.

Some of the recommendations emerging from Satellite Findings include the suggestion that arts organisations do more to check who might be excluded from engaging with their programmes, due to a range of factors, including practical ones, such as the time of day at which activities occur – art openings typically happen at children’s tea time or bed time. There is also a call to child-proof professional offers such as residencies. Has enough lead-in time been given to parenting artists to either organise childcare, or perhaps provide family-friendly supports within these offers? Are funding bodies genuinely supporting parenting artists by accepting budgets which include childcare costs within them?


There are multiple quotes in the report from parenting artists who describe, in negative terms, their understanding of their sector’s perception of them as a parenting artist: “you weren’t taken seriously as an artist if you were a mother too”. In a sense this issue of perception is the most insidious current running through the report. It indicates a type of embarrassment at not being able to unhook oneself from lived experience; it implies that ‘real life’ experiences – like caring – are too inappropriately personal to call into visibility within a professionalised art world. Surely one of the beautiful potentials of the art space is that it can hold within it the true messiness of life – that we can bring our biographies with us? That the unruly and awkward can be held, in the belief that these qualities contain within them the potential to generate new forms and, in so doing, enrich our creative spaces.

I remember an evening last November at the Cow House Studios, where I was lucky enough to be taking part in ‘Satellite Residency’, organised by The Mothership Project.2 There was wildness in the air. We were giddy, knowing that we were part of a new shape taking form and we were drinking in the excitement that this created. I was arranging images at the kitchen table, while having a conversation with Alla about women-friendly workwear. Ruth was operating a power tool in a shed across the courtyard, while Ruby and Linda were sketching out their studio rhythms to each other. Food was being prepared in an adjoining space and between all of these activities, our children were being minded. Our children, part of this project, were feeding it and being fed by it. I remember pausing for a moment and enjoying the unashamed eccentricity of the scene: thinking (hoping) that the support structures which had formed around us, through this residency, could somehow become part of the future for parenting artists in Ireland.

Sarah Lincoln is an artist living in West Waterford.


1 Donna Haraway in the documentary lm, Donna Haraway: Storytelling for earthly survival (2016), directed by Fabrizio Terranova.
2 ‘Satellite Residency’ was a pilot residency for 15 parenting artists at Cow House Studios, Wexford, which was rolled-out over Autumn / Winter 2018. The residency included the payment of a small stipend. Accommodation, childcare and meals were provided onsite. The artists taking part in the residency were: Dorota Borowa, Stephen Dunne, Niamh Davis, Sarah Lincoln, Ruth Lyons, Ciara McMahon, Susan Montgomery, Celina Muldoon, Niamh O’Doherty, Sally O’Dowd, James O’hAodha, Una Quigley, Linda Quinlan, Ruby Wallis and Kate Warner.

This article was first Published in the July-August 2019 edition of Visual Artists News Sheet.
Link to the original printed version.

The Launch of The Mothership Project Satellite Findings (May 16, 2019, The Lab, Dublin)

Over the last ten years, academics and artists have focused increasing attention on the intersections of ‘artmaking’ and ‘mothering’ as is evident by a growing number of international conferences, publications, artist collectives and residencies that, amongst other things, attempt to render visible the precarious balance between the two different forms of labour. Furthermore, it confirms, as Rachel Epp Buller notes in Reconciling Art and Mothering (2012): “Many contemporary artist-mothers are no longer willing to hide their maternal status.”(5). It was with this in mind that I attended the launch of The Mothership Project Satellite Findings (May 16, 2019, The Lab, Dublin), a publication that marks the culmination of six years of efforts by a collective of artists, the majority of whom are mothers, to make the art world a more inclusive place for parents. 


Mothership Project

The Mothership Crew Michelle Browne, Tara Kennedy, baby Kim, Seoidín O’Sullivan and Leah Hillard at the Launch of The Satellite Findings.

Speaking at the launch, artists Michelle Browne and Leah Hilliard, on behalf of The Mothership Project, discussed the genesis of the network which began as a series of meet-ups organised by and for parents who came together in solidarity to discuss the challenges they faced: finding time for artistic practice, the relative isolation of artists who are primary carers, the high cost of childcare and the relative economic instability of parenting artists. For the organisers of the project, it was important to conduct a survey that moved beyond personal observations and anecdotes into concrete empirical findings that translate into structural changes to enable parenting artists to fully participate in their creative communities.  

In August 2018, The Mothership Project conducted a survey via Survey Monkey, designed in conjunction with researcher Dr Helen Kara. It aimed to provide insight into four main issues: Time, Space, Money and Care. Of the 145 respondents, 92% were mothers, 68% had two or more children and 58% were between ages 36-45. A significant number of parents reported working between the hours of 9am– 12 pm and 12pm -3pm, coinciding with children’s school attendance. 70% reported working between the hours of 9pm – 12am, after children’s bedtime. This gives insight into the necessity of adapting to children’s schedules and suggests that between the two forms of labour, artists are most likely working long hours. It also demonstrates that time spent on art work is extremely precious. The majority of respondents (70%) create their work from inside the home. The statistics that 89% reported making art cost them money and 76% turned down opportunities due to lack of childcare makes for stark reading. However, the survey recommends six positive changes that will better benefit parenting artists. [] The publication includes an essay by Prof Eileen Drew (TCD) that further digests these findings, examining them againstthe shifting work culture in Ireland. Drew argues that policy-makers and funding bodies need to focus attention on changes that will facilitate a better work-life balance for these artists. 

The initial survey findings were fed into the development of Satellite Residency at Cow House Studios (Wexford). The residency was funded by the Arts Council of Ireland and Wexford County Council Arts Office, and received support from Visual, Carlow and Wexford Arts Centre. RosieO’Gorman of Cow House Studios spoke briefly about the residencies and how they supported the participating artists. In October-November 2018, fifteen selected artists, some families in tow, though others attended solo, were given valuable uninterrupted time and space for their creative practices. They availed of studio space, onsite childcare, flexible scheduling and the luxury of a shared meal without having to cook or clean up afterwards. The analysis of the exit survey included in the publication confirms the benefits to participants. 

Prof Kathleen Lynch (UCD) discussed ‘love labour’ and economies of care underscoring the need to re-evaluate how love and care work is viewed within the context of a neo-liberalism. She argued that love, care and solidarity are key equality issues for women. As a concept ‘love labour’ resonates with both artmaking and raising children, both provide an immeasurable benefit to our society that we cannot do without. Afterwards, Dr Declan Long (NCAD) chaired an open discussion on the survey findings and Prof Lynch’s talk. From the audience, an artist highlighted the importance of acknowledging practices that expand and contract (in terms of the range, production, scale and output) depending on the demands of one’s parental duties. They called for the art community toreassess the value placed on these practices. There was discussion about the naming of the ‘Mothership’ and this elaborated on how artists grappled with the shifting identities of ‘artist’ and ‘mother’ and ‘parent’. At this point a father who participated in the Satellite Residency reiterated the necessity of continuing to politicise the term ‘mother’ in the context of artmaking.

Ultimately, The Mothership Project Satellite Findings makes a welcome and timelyintervention into the status of parenting artists in Ireland. It provides valuable insight into the different, often times, invisible barriers that parenting artists face. This publication holds the potential to improve the lives of parenting artists and, in doing so, further enrich our creative communities. What remains to be seen is how soon before these recommendations are widely implemented. 

Dr Kate Antosik-Parsons 

Researcher, L’Internationale

National College of Art and Design

Get Together 2019: Visual Artists Cafe


The Mothership Project will be at Visual Artist Get Together on Friday 14th June. the venue is TU, Grangegorman (formally DIT) from 10am.  Come along and meet us and get a copy of our recent publication.

Since 2018 The Mothership Project have undertaken research into the lives of parenting artists. A survey was carried out with over 140 respondents from across the country and highlighted the difficulty of maintaining an art career as a parent in Ireland. A new publication with the findings of the survey and residency, with recommendations for arts organisation to better support and be inclusive of artist with children, was  launched on the 16th of May.

“This year’s Get Together takes its theme from the belief that we, as artists, must always have the right to experiment. As a verb, a noun and an imperative, ‘Experiment’ poses a challenge for us to re-examine ourselves and our work through different eyes. We all experiment, try things out, fail, succeed or change through experimentation; perhaps we may even realise that the place we find ourselves in fits just fine. Looking at our own artistic career, we can observe many occasions when we have experimented, either with new concepts, materials or modes of working. Whether we find historical context, new artistic intention, or simple convergence with likeminded artists, one thing is very clear: experimentation is at the core of what we do. Through listening and discovering how fellow artists find ways to include experimentation in their working methods, we can gain the confidence to make time, to try things out, and to look at our ongoing work through a different lens.

As well as Panel Discussions, Artists Speak and Speed Curating return to this year’s Get Together, as will the ever-popular Specialist Clinics, where recognised experts will be available to discuss a wide range of issues on a one-to-one basis. All of this will surround the Visual Artists Café, where Arts Organisations and Artist’s Support Agencies will gather to provide information about their services, while catching up with friends old and new. Follow the link of the right for full details of the programme.”