Viewing single post of blog Artists Residency in Motherhood

Whilst I try to write up a chapter of my phd, I have been reading about mobility.In the introduction to Life Between Borders: The Nomadic Life of Curators and Artists. one of the editors asserts that “you have to be mobile to ‘make it’ in the art world.”

I can see this is going to cause me problems. Mobility with a 1 year old is not impossible, but it can be tricky. We have recently been travelling to visit relatives and friends and I decided to use this as a start to think about mobility in parenthood. Wherever we go we have to find some swings, as that is my son’s favourite activity, so I’ve started to photograph swings in different locations we visit. We’ve also been testing the childrens activities on offer at various galleries, in Yorkshire,  Nottingham, and Eastbourne so far.

Being a parent you can be mobile but it isn’t as easy to jump on a plane and go on a residency for a few weeks. It’s a different kind of mobility, where you can spend a day wandering about with no fixed destination and visit charity shops, parks, etc.

I was thinking about other differences between this residency (so far) and other residencies I’ve been on:

  1. Not a good idea to get drunk and stay up late.
  2. Not around a group of other artists.
  3. Not a lot of dancing involved.
  4. Foreign travel not involved.
  5. Having to cater for self and others food needs.
  6. Having to do cleaning, housework and laundry.
  7. More difficult to be spontaneous.

Laura Kenins writes about how a residency is often seen as a place to escape the constraints of everyday life. My residency is all about everyday life. I can’t escape it, but perhaps I can make it part of the residency. Or maybe I need to find ways to add some of these ‘residency’ aspects I’m missing to my residency/life. Hmmmm.

Last week I watched with Baby Boom with Diane Keaton trying to juggle a career as an executive and a baby. In the end she jacks in her job, telling her sexist boss (‘You can’t have it all’) to shove it and moves to Vermont where she is so bored she spends an entire winter making applesauce. However, the constraints of this lead to success manifesting itself in a new way. A lesson learnt, although the end message (move to country, set up successful gourmet organic baby food business, swap modernist furniture for floral chintz) does seem to involve a bit of a compromise (not to mention an all-American rabid capitalism).

On a positive note I just read about a new project in London that offers ‘flexible childcare’ for artist- mothers. although it is temporary.


Maybe we’ll go on a residency excursion and pay them a visit.





Life Between Borders: The Nomadic Life of Curators and Artists. Edited by Steven Rand and Heather Felty
published by apexart. 2014

Laura Kenins: Esapists and Jetsetters: Residencies and Sustainability. C Magazine, August 2013