(m)otherhood in the arts
How can the arts sector provide care and make it possible to combine parenting with being an artist?
How can the arts sector facilitate care and make it possible to combine being a parent with artistic practice? This is what we will be discussing during this symposium, through conversations with researchers, institutions, interest groups, artists and makers.
"Within the arts, we can enter into endless panel discussions, create productions and exhibitions, publish books and articles on the many and various forms of care and their relative importance. But, as long as we exclude the ultimate form of long-term care — parenting — from these considerations, no real development and progress are possible." The words of writer, artist and co-curator of this symposium Mirthe Berentsen early this year, writing in Metropolis M. Raising the urgency of care as a theme for discussion within the arts sector can never and may never be a symbolic gesture that takes place only in the confines of an echo chamber; this must emerge from active commitment within the social infrastructure of the arts as a field of endeavour.
You can sign up now using the registration form. Admission to the symposium is free of charge, but we ask for a €15 contribution for the lunch and drinks afterwards. We are also offering free childcare upon request during the symposium. Kindly indicate if you require this when registering. Please note: places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.
The symposium was developed by Mirthe Berentsen and de Brakke Grond.
The programme before lunch is (mostly) in Dutch. After lunch, the programme is in English.
Sign up using the registration form
10h00 doors open
10h30 Opening by Mirthe Berentsen & Lisa Wiegel
The symposium will be opened by writer, artist and co-curator of this symposium Mirthe Berentsen and Lisa Wiegel, artistic director of de Brakke Grond.
10h50 Presentation by Maxime van Haeren & Hannah Sweering
Maxime van Haeren and Hannah Sweering will give a presentation on behalf of the Boekmanstichting foundation on the outcomes of a survey of the position of female visual artists in the Netherlands. This survey was commissioned by the Niemeijer Fonds.
11h10 Speech by theatre-maker Line Mertens
11h20 Panel discussion: Knowledge-sharing as a driving force
This panel discussion will discuss the inequalities and exclusion mechanisms surrounding care and gender in the arts sector. We wish to investigate how, within our work in the field of the arts, we will think in a structured way about parents / educators and others with care-giving roles. How can we programme care not only as a theme, but above all also unify this with the infrastructure existing within the field of the arts? How can interest groups, funds and academies engage with this set of problems as institutions, and together ensure that solutions are found and knowledge is shared?
We will discuss this with Ciska Hoet (culture journalist and co-director of RoSa), Nixie Van Laere (Kunstenpunt, the Flemish expertise centre for visual arts, performance arts & classical music[MB1] ), Lucette ter Borg (art critic, investigative journalist for the NRC newspaper, member of the board of writers’ and translators’ organisation Auteursbond), Anne Breure (co-chair Kunsten ’92 & director of Theater Utrecht) and Maxime van Haeren (Boekmanstichting foundation).
12h20 Performance by writer Bregje Hofstede, author of Oersoep[MB2]
12h30 Communal lunch
13h30 Keynote lecture Hettie Judah
In this lecture, prominent British writer, curator and critic Hettie Judah will talk about her long-running research into art, care and parenting. In 2022, Judah published the global bestseller ‘How Not to Exclude Artist Mothers (and other parents’, in which she argues that the art world has much to gain by being more receptive to the needs of artists who are parents. In 2021, together with a group of artists, she wrote the manifesto 'How Not to Exclude Artist Parents: Some Guidelines for Institutions and Residencies'. She was also an initiator of The Art Working Parents Alliance, a British network for working parents in the arts sector.
14h00 Panel: Shared responsibilities
How can we restructure the institutions and communities in which we live, so that these join up better with responsibilities for providing care, and what is needed to achieve this? How can the art world facilitate care following a period of absence (owing to care responsibilities, pregnancy or illness)? In this panel discussion, we will discuss the intersectional heart of the matter: how can we make these issues a shared responsibility? With theatre-maker Sachli Gholamalizad, writer and critic Joke de Wolf, curator, writer, researcher and director of De Appel Lara Khaldi, writer and curator Hettie Judah, and artists Jonas Ohlsson and Magnus Monfeldt.
15h10 Workshops & Break-out sessions
We will split into groups and in different areas within de Brakke Grond get to grips with the themes of the day in a range of work sessions. On the basis of our various roles in the field, we will together go in search of new ways of working and concrete handles on a sustainable, equitable arts sector:
- With artist and researcher Weronika Zielińska-Klein, participants will go in search, on the basis of personal experiences as a parent or carer, of long- and short-term solutions that can be implemented within the immediate working environment, organisations, networks and/or institutions.
- Platform Aanvang will identify, in the course of three discussion sessions, the responsibilities and positions from which participants are speaking. What do you need to carry out your work? What does care mean to you? What do you have to offer on the basis of your position? On the basis of the outcomes, a concrete plan of approach will be developed.
- Artists Jonas Ohlsson and Magnus Monfeldt will provide some light relief from all the 'heaviness' and take us on an intuitive journey into the imagination, in which you can draw under the supervision of Monfeldt, while enjoying the sounds of DJ Lonely (Ohlsson).
- In their book 'Why Call It Labor? On Motherhood and Artwork', Lara Khaldi and Basma al-Sharif reflect on the precarity involved in art and parenting. In this work session, they will do this with the participants, by collecting anecdotes – about exclusion and inhospitability – and how, and in what ways, we can think together about making progress in this area.
- Artist Richtje Reinsma has created especially for the symposium a modified version of her audio artwork Huidwandeling'. Set off on an odyssey through the skin, back to the womb, where you can get close to the very first essence of yourself.
16h20 Wrap-up with Teddy Tops
The presentation and moderation of the event are in the hands of Teddy Tops.