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. 

 

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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. [https://themothershipproject.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/mship-final-to-print-1.pdf] 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

http://www.kateap.com

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Get Together 2019: Visual Artists Cafe

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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.”

 

SATELLITE FINDINGS : Publication Launch, 16th May 2019.

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, will be 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.

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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.com or  www.themothershipproject.wordpress.com

FB:@themothershipproject TW:@ArtMothership

The Mothership Project Satellite Residency – Artist Talk

 

The Mothership & Cow House Studios will host a talk on Saturday 24th November from 2pm – 4.30 pm at Wexford Arts centre as part of the Satellite Residency.

This autumn The Mothership Project in collaboration with Cow House Studios are running a pilot artist residency programme giving 15 parenting artists supported time and space to develop their practice, including childcare and accommodation on-site for children and partners.

Michelle Browne and Leah Hillard of The Mothership, Celina Muldoon, participating Artist and Rosie O’Gorman of Cow House studios will discuss the Satellite residency in the context of being a parenting artist in Ireland. This residency aims to generate institutional change in how artists are supported throughout their careers and changing family circumstances, as well as contributing to the debate on affordable childcare, precarious work and attitudes to care work.

This residency programme for parenting artists highlights the difficulty of maintaining an art career as a parent in Ireland. 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.

ABOUT THE MOTHERSHIP PROJECT

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. Since 2013, The Mothership Project has hosted workshops and discussions on issues facing parenting artists in Ireland. As part of the residencies, The Mothership Project will conduct research into the experience of parenting artists in Ireland that will be used to produce a publication that highlights the needs of parenting artists in Ireland in early 2019.

About Cow House Studios:

Cow House Studios have run residency programmes since 2008 in rural Co. Wexford. The studios are designed for flexibility of use, with 4 individual spaces, and a shared open studio floor for larger group projects and alternative working methods. The studio also offers a darkroom, computer lab and lounge, with access to tools and digital equipment. For more details on Cow House Studios see https://cowhousestudios.com/

For more information see the https://themothershipproject.wordpress.com/

Contact: themothershipproject@gmail.com

The Mothership Project Satellite Residency – Selected Artists Announced

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The Mothership announces the 15 parenting artists who are recipients of residences:

This autumn, The Mothership Project in collaboration with Cow House Studios will run a pilot artist residency programme giving 15 parenting artists supported time and space to develop their practice, including childcare and accommodation on-site for children and partners.

This pilot programme aims to generate institutional change in how artists are supported throughout their careers and changing family circumstances, as well as contributing to the debate on affordable childcare, precarious work and attitudes to care work. This residency programme for parenting artists highlights the difficulty of maintaining an art career as a parent in Ireland. 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 15 artists travelling to Cow House Studios are 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.

About The Mothership Project

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. Since 2013, The Mothership Project has hosted workshops and discussions on issues facing parenting artists in Ireland. As part of the residencies, The Mothership Project will conduct research into the experience of parenting artists in Ireland that will be used to produce a publication that highlights the needs of parenting artists in Ireland in early 2019.

About Cow House Studios

Cow House Studios have run a residency programme since 2008 in rural Co. Wexford. The studios are designed for flexibility of use, with 4 individual spaces, and a shared open studio floor for larger group projects and alternative working methods. The studio also offers a darkroom, computer lab and lounge, with access to some tools and digital equipment. For more details on Cow House Studios see https://cowhousestudios.com/

For more information see the https://themothershipproject.wordpress.com/

Contact: themothershipproject@gmail.com

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The Mothership Project Satellite Residency Opportunity 2018

unnamedIn Autumn of 2018 The Mothership Project in collaboration with Cow House Studios will present ‘Satellite’, a residency programme designed specifically for parenting artists in Ireland. As part of this work The Mothership Project will conduct research into the experience of parenting artists in Ireland that will be used to produce a publication that highlights the needs of parenting artists in Ireland. To help us advocate for parenting artist in Ireland please fill out our survey here

Satellite is funded by The Arts Council and Wexford County Council Arts Office, and is supported by Visual, Carlow and Wexford Arts Centre.

Residency details:

Dates 15th October 2018 – 24th November 2018

  • A minimum of 10 artists will be selected.

  • Maximum 2 weeks to a minimum of 2 days stay.

  • Deadline for applications: 29th of April at 12 midnight.
    Applications submitted after this time will not be accepted.

  • Applications are only accepted via email to themothershipproject@gmail.com.

  • ‘Satellite’ applications will be reviewed and selected by an independent panel.

  • Notifications to all applicants will be made via email. (See details below)

  • Successful applicants will be contacted within 2 months of the deadline.

 

About The Mothership:

The Mothership Project is a network of parenting artists in Ireland. The Mothership Project aim 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. Since 2013 The Mothership has hosted workshops and discussions on issues facing parenting artists in Ireland. We have also hosted show & tell events and reading groups around the theoretical underpinnings of this equality- and solidarity-based project.

 

About the residency:

The Satellite residency programme is designed specifically for parenting artists in Ireland. Through an open call, parenting artists will be offered time and space at Cow House Studios in Wexford. Artists will be awarded the opportunity to develop new work, progress existing work, or get back to practice after taking time out to have children. ‘Satellite’ will offer childcare, accommodation, a stipend and a variety of time slots to artists who wish to take time out to focus on their practice. We will tailor the residency to the needs of the artist and their family, however each residency will be offered as one block of time and can not be divided into multiple shorter stays.

 

 

 

About Cow House Studios:

Cow House Studios have run a residency programme since 2008 in rural Co. Wexford. The studios are designed for flexibility of use, with 4 individual spaces, and a shared open studio floor for larger group projects and alternative working methods. The studio also offers a darkroom, computer lab and lounge, with access to some tools and digital equipment. For more details on Cowhouse studios see https://cowhousestudios.com/

Eligibility:

The Satellite Residency is open to Irish parenting contemporary visual artists or artists living and working in Ireland (you must have been living in Ireland for at least 1 year prior to your application). A variety of visual art disciplines are eligible to apply including, but not limited to, traditional media, media/new genre, performance, film/video, socially engaged practices. Artists enrolled in an academic program during the time of the residency are ineligible to apply. Please note applicants should demonstrate a working history in the visual arts.  

Additional Requirements:

Artists selected for the residency will be invited to present on their art practice in a public forum and conduct an interview that will be podcast on The Mothership Project and other platforms as part of the ancillary events of Satellite. The residency is also an opportunity for The Mothership Project to gather information from the participating artists on their experience of being a parenting artist in Ireland. The information gathered will be used as part of the final publication of research as part of the Satellite project.

 

How to Apply:

Please send us –

  1. Answers to the 7 questions below

  2. A CV (4 pages maximum)

  3. Up to 8 Images that support your application. Please label your images and give the selection panel additional information/context (maximum 100 words per image).

  4. For videos/films/audio, please provide links to your own website, Vimeo page, YouTube page, etc. Do not attach actual video files.

 

Please send your information as one PDF* with your name as the file title, e.g. JohnMurphy.pdf

Email applications to: themothershipproject@gmail.com

Please title your email – Satellite application and [your name]

(*You can use Adobe Acrobat to create one pdf file or here is a link to a free pdf merge website https://www.pdfmerge.com/)

Application questions:

  1. Tell us about your work and some specific examples (max 300 words).
  2. What is it that motivates you and your work? (max 150 words).
  3. Why do you want to do the Satellite residency? What would you plan to do on the residency? (max 200 words).
  4. What difference will this make to your practice (max 100 words).
  5. How did you hear about the Mothership Project and this call for proposals (max 20 words).
  6. Are you coming
  • Solo
  • Solo with kids (How many and ages)
  • With children and partner

7. Where do you see your practice currently

  • Active practice with need for time
  • Lapsed practice – seeking to find ways back in
  • Newly parenting – practice in transition

 

Please email themothershipproject@gmail.com if you have any questions about your application.

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Arts Council Project Award 2018

We are delighted to announce that we received an Arts Council Project award to conduct a survey and research into parent artists in Ireland and to curate and host a residency at Cow House Studio’s.

Satellite in partnership with COW HOUSE STUDIOS

The Mothership propose to host Satellite a series of family friendly residencies to support the parent artist to develop new work. The residency will be open to all parent artists through an Open Call and juried selection process offering up to 10 residencies.

The Aim of this residency is to challenge perfected “norms” of residencies which are otherwise not suited for mother/father artists and their families and by their nature exclusionary to those artists who are already dealing with an unequal infrastructure.

Through the generosity of Rosie O Gorman & Frank Abruzzie of Cow House Studio, SATELLITE will form a structured and direct challenge to the residency format in that it will welcome artists with their families in a series of dedicated periods of self directed residency programmes with childcare support.

Since 2013 The Mothership Project has grown from strength to strength and has drawn many artists together to network, debate and support each other through practice. We have made links with other organisations internationally such as Cultural Reproducers in USA and Enemies of Good Art in UK. We have also linked in with MAM (Mothers Artist Makers) a network of artists who work in theatre in Ireland that grew out of the Waking the Feminists movement.

There has been a growing re-awakening to the inequalities that face women in society and particularly the impact of having children on women’s ability to continue to work and develop a successful career. The Mothership has developed alongside this and continues to challenge the prevailing systems through which artists make and present art in Ireland today.

Since 2013 we have been invited to take part in The Workers Café exhibition at Temple Bar Gallery 2013, Visual Artists Ireland Get together in 2015, to host a meeting to coincide with The History of Play by Eamon O Kane at Roscommon Arts Centre and to take part in a 3 month residency at IMMA in 2017 among other activities. SATELLITE will give The Mothership the opportunity to continue its work by delivering tangible opportunities that will assist parenting artists to make work without the pressure of having to mount an exhibition. For some it will be a chance just to get back into the studio.

My dream residency at the moment is for 3 days with childcare provided. That would be so valuable to have that bridge to get back into something that I have been out of for a few years – quote from Mothership meeting participant.

The Mothership are also aware of how important it is to listen to the needs of parenting artists and as a result will carry out extensive research through a survey to understand what the ideal circumstances are for parenting artists to take part in residency programmes to continue to dedicate time to developing their practice. While some research has been carried out through the Visual Arts Ireland into gender disparity in visual arts and how costs of expenses such as childcare impact on artists ability to make work, no comprehensive survey has been done to understand how it is for parenting artists work in Ireland today.

I came to a few meetings and I thought I am not going to practice art so I shouldn’t come to the meetings. And it is only now that my first child is 4 that I am thinking that I can actually start to think about this again. I feel like I have no practice. So what is the name for what I am? I feel like an emerging artist again so I personally need an incubation space to figure out myself. I don’t even know what my practice is about anymore because I took a break.  – quote from Mothership meeting participant.

The project’s success lies not just in the production of new works but the ability to make work through the provision of time and space to these practitioners. The project’s aim is a gathering of knowledge, a collaborative effort to see if things can be altered to accommodate this cohort of artists’ needs. The outcomes once gleaned will be captured in terms of working methods and considerations, success and failures, and will be of value both to artist within that catchment and to art institutions wanting to be more accommodating to parenting artists.

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