Special Panel: Saturday, June 3rd 10:30AM Royal College of Art
Making Mother Studies Matter: Academics Advocate Fiercely for Art, Maternal Health, and a Lasting Legacy
The self-identified Mother Movement started roughly 20 years ago. In its early years, American bands began singing about motherhood while Canadian scholars began writing about it. The year was 1997. Roughly eight years before that, a few scholars published books examining the subject of motherhood. Sarah Ruddick wrote Maternal Thinking. Barbara Katz Rothman wrote Recreating Motherhood, and these Western works were preceded by Adrienne Rich, Of Woman Born. The texts examined a society based on patriarchal constructions that constrained and oppressed women who were mothers, as well as their offspring.
It has been said that in order to change the future we must understand the past. Likewise, by studying the rising wave of mother-identity-art-making and scholarly texts, this panel aims to explore the legitimacy of mother studies, advocate for it to be levied within academic institutions, and share some of the ways current academics and artists are championing this legacy for future generations.
Martha Joy Rose: Martha Joy Rose is a musician, concert promoter, museum founder, and fine artist. Her work has been published across blogs and academic journals and she has performed with her band Housewives On Prozac on Good Morning America, CNN, and the Oakland Art & Soul Festival to name a few. She is the NOW-NYC recipient of the Susan B. Anthony Award, her Mamapalooza Festival Series has been recognized as “Best in Girl-Power Events” in New York, and her music has appeared on the Billboard Top 100 Dance Charts. She founded the Museum of Motherhood in 2003, created the Motherhood Foundation 501c3 non-profit in 2005, saw it flourish in NYC from 2011-2014, and then pop up at several academic institutions. In 2015, she received a Masters in Mother Studies from CUNY, The Graduate Center of New York. This is believed to be the first individualized MALS Degree in this specialty. She then taught Sociology of Family at Manhattan College before moving to her current live/work space in Kenwood St. Petersburg, Florida, which is devoted to the exploration of mother-labor as performance art. She is a contributing author the The Encyclopedia of Motherhood (Sage Press, 2011), The Twentieth Century Motherhood Movement (Demeter Press, 2011), New Maternalisms (Demeter Press, 2015), and the forthcoming book, Music of Motherhood (Demeter Press, 2017).
Sarah Black -In 2016 a presentation by Sarah Black called “Mother As Curator” at the Annual Academic M.O.M. Conference described her home environment as a video, art, installation, and inter-generational family experience. Her treatise declared that as an artist, she “blurs the boundaries of art, and the personal, family and audience, narrative and auto-biographic practices.” She states that as a “performance maker, she explores the home as both a physical and a metaphysical structure to house the work.” In this way, spaces are informed and co-created by those who participate in its interiors, but similarly, its interiors also hold a template for studying the things it contains from a distance.
Paula Chambers – Paula Chambers has exhibited widely, with a back catalogue of solo shows including most recently “Transcendental Housework” at Stockport Art Gallery, and “Domestic Pirate” at Show Space, London. Paula studied under Griselda Pollock at the University of Leeds for the MA Feminist History, Theory, Criticism and Practice in the Visual Arts. Paula is Principal Lecturer (Sculpture) on BA Fine Art, at Leeds College of Art. She is undertaking a practice‐led PhD at Middlesex University.
Rosiland Howell – Rosalind Howell is a Registered Dance Movement Psychotherapist with the Association of Dance Movement Psychotherapy UK (ADMPUK) with a particular interest in Maternal Subjectivity and Perinatal Mental Health. Her recent publications include: Writing Maternal Ambivalence (and how we love to hate it). MaMSIE.org/blog 2016 A Chorus, a Gaggle, or a Consternation of Mothers. Mommuseum.org 2015 The Loneliness of Parenting Decisions. Juno Parenting Magazine 2014, Love and Hate in Childbirth. MaMSIE.org/blog 2015.
Roberta Garrett – Roberta Garrett is a senior lecturer in the School of Arts and Digital Industries at the University of East London. She has published widely on gender representation in film and literature. She is the author of Postmodern Chick-Flicks: The Return of the Woman’s Film (Palgrave, 2007). Other publications include ‘Female Fantasy and Post-Feminist Politics in Nora Ephron’s Screenplays’ Journal of Screenwriting, 2011, and the forthcoming ‘Gendering the Post 9/11 Movie: Love, Loss and Regeneration in Julie and Julia’, in Mary Harrod (ed.) Women and Genre (University of Illinois Press, 2016). She is currently working on popular representations of the neo-liberal family in literature and film, and has published: ‘Novels and Children: “Mum’s Lit” and the Public Mother/Author’, Journal of Maternal Studies, 2013; and ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin: The Monstrous Child as Feminist and Anti-American Allegory’, in Peter Childs, Sebastian Groes and Claire Colbrook (eds.) Women’s Writing Post 9/11 (Lexington Press, 2014). Her essay, ‘ Cavorting in the Ruins? Truth, Myth and Resistance in Contemporary Mumoirs’, appears in Roberta Garrett, Tracey Jensen and Angela Voela (eds.) We Need to Talk about Family: Essays on Neoliberalism, The Family and Popular Culture (Cambridge Scholars, forthcoming 2016). She is also writing a monograph entitled Writing the Modern Family: Neoliberalism and Representation of Parenting in Contemporary Novels and Memoirs.