Hermione Wiltshire –
Therese in ecstatic birth 2008 from Ina May Gaskin archive


Birth, art and culture is a section of All4Maternity curated by artist and midwife Laura Godfrey-Isaacs that brings together exciting perspectives into maternity from arts, culture and media sources. As healthcare has become increasingly complex, there is a growing interest in how interdisciplinary and arts-based approaches can promote creative solutions in research, education and practice.

These approaches can build midwives’ cultural competence and understanding of constructs around femininity, birth, motherhood and medical framings of the female body. It can develop awareness, sensitivity, creative solutions and critical thinking, as well as increase resilience, reflective practice and wellbeing. It can similarly enhance communication skills, social connection and confidence.

These approaches can likewise be applied to enhance holistic and effective support for women by developing innovative creative and psychosocial interventions that can have positive clinical outcomes.

However, whereas there is a strong history of arts and humanities-based learning in medicine, it is an underdeveloped area within midwifery. There are also disproportionately few interdisciplinary and creative research and clinical interventions in maternity contexts. This is surprising, given the wealth of feminist, media, film and visual arts theory, and work by artists, writers and performers about childbirth, the female body and gender; which could be referenced into midwifery. In addition, the growing body of representations of midwifery care, pregnancy and birth, created by midwives, birth activists and mothers through websites, blogs, social media, articles and films could be more powerfully profiled in the profession. Furthermore, there are exciting potential partnerships to be sought between institutions that explore the relationship between science and the arts.

Our Birth, art and culture section of All4Maternity, therefore, will provide you with all the up-to-date examples of interdisciplinary practice, research, education, relevant art exhibitions, performances and conferences, which will inform, enlighten and enthuse you and your practice.


Powerful images that can inform our understanding of women’s bodily experiences of childbirth





Resources / Opportunities

Second annual museum of motherhood conference in Florida: Teaching mother studies in the academy; and beyond

In partnership with the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at University of South Florida, and made possible in part, by a grant from Research One.

Deadline for submissions: October 30 2017

16-17 February 2018 at St Petersburg, Florida
Calling all scholars, sociologists, women’s and sexuality scholars, gender studies, masculinity and family studies scholars, motherhood and fatherhood scholars, artists, performers and those interested in interpreting mother studies and mother art in the university and the world https://mommuseum.org/cfp/

Twitter: @godfrey_isaacs


Laura Godfrey-Isaacs
Artist, midwife at King’s College Hospital, London and birth activist 

Laura aspires to bring her knowledge and experience in the arts, together with midwifery, to create fresh interdisciplinary perspectives to inform education, practice and research.


The sentiments expressed by the contributors and advertisers in The Practising Midwife
do not necessarily reflect the views of either the Publisher, Editor or the Editorial Advisory Board.

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