Arts Organising

Flourishing (or is that Surviving?) as a Parent in the Art World

Jo Har­ri­son and Het­tie Judah intro­duce the Art Work­ing Par­ents Alliance and share a list of resources that offer sup­port to par­ents in the arts.

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In October 2022, we (Jo Harrison and Hettie Judah) set up the Art Working Parents Alliance (AWP) – a national network for parents in the art world. AWP is free to join and offers a number of resources and benefits: a monthly newsletter listing events and matters of interest, WhatsApp groups specific to each sector and region, a peer-to-peer mentoring programme and regular meet-ups held both in person and online.

The Art Working Parents Alliance was inspired by our own experiences. Jo is a curator and art worker who established the research project Repronomics exploring social reproduction and cultural reproduction as invisible and exploitable ‘labours of love’ under capitalism. Hettie is a writer and curator who has been researching and working with artist mothers since 2019. In 2021 Hettie led a group of artists in writing a manifesto asking arts organisations to be more inclusive to caregivers, and has since written the book How Not to Exclude Artist Mothers (and other parents).

Working in the broader industry, we are both aware that the structural problems that make it so difficult for artist parents to flourish has an impact across the sector. Parents – primary caregivers in particular – face specific challenges, whether they are working in academia, the commercial sector or for public institutions. By creating a network, connecting parents across every sector of the artworld, we allow our members to identify whether the challenges they have faced are part of a wider structural pattern. It is our hope that in allowing people to connect in this way, it will empower them to work together for change within their sector, ultimately improving the landscape of the art world as a whole.

Parents working in the visual arts are often invisible to one another, not least because so much networking happens in the early evenings when those with children are less able to attend events. On a very simple level, AWP makes parents visible – to one another, but also as a group within the industry as a whole. It provides peer-to-peer support, and a platform where people can share experiences.

The in-person AWP meet-ups are usually hosted by art organisations with an ongoing exhibition that intersects with our interests. Typically, we begin with a tour of the exhibition – large or small – followed by a presentation on a related subject, culminating with an open and inclusive conversation. All events are relaxed – we tend to sit in a circle from which all are invited to speak, and members are welcome to bring their children, friends and partners with them. An example of a recent meet-up held in person was at Drawing Room, a public gallery in South London, showing an exhibition on drawing as a feminist art practice. Following a tour around the show, Jo and Hettie led a conversation with Alice and Lydia Ross, the daughters of Monica Ross, one of the artists featured in the exhibition. Our online events tend to be more issue-led and have included discussions on subjects of interest to our network such as job shares and employment policy.

AWP currently has 400 members in sectors including academia, commercial galleries, public organisations, museum education, communications and the media, as well as artists. (Of course many of the artists in AWP also work in one of the other sectors.) About half our members are based in London, eight per cent in the southeast of England, 13 per cent in the southwest, 10 per cent in the Midlands and Wales, 11 per cent in the North of England, eight per cent in Scotland. Currently there are only 2 members in Northern Ireland. We also have 45 ‘observers’ subscribed to our mailing list, many of those from organisations outside the UK.

Currently, AWP is unfunded and run by us on a voluntary basis. We have a simple Wordpress website with a short registration form that people can fill in to join AWP. Correspondence comes to us jointly through the email address. Our work for AWP currently involves: registering new members; responding to emails; writing a monthly newsletter; soliciting, organising and attending events. Were funding to become available, we would love to become more proactive in scheduling and presenting research into specific structural problems afflicting members in our network, and to be able to put together guidelines and toolkits for best practice around issues such as maternity/parental provisions. Should such funds become available, we would also like to host events with specialist speakers who could address subjects such as employment law.


Below is a list of organisations that offer support to parents, starting with UK support organisations and charities, followed by a list of organisations and initiatives that offer support or various kinds to parents in the arts.

The list is ordered by location, starting with UK wide and then region specific. It will be updated as we learn about new organisations and groups. We would love to hear from you if you have any suggestions, please email

UK organisations that offer support of various kinds to parents:

Pregnant Then Screwed
A charity dedicated to ending the motherhood penalty

Maternity Action
A maternity rights charity dedicated to promoting, protecting and enhancing the rights of all pregnant women.

Pregnancy and maternity discrimination support
Citizens Advice
Equality and Human Rights Commission
Working Families

Single Parents Rights
A campaign to add single parents as a protected characteristic to the Equality Act and end discrimination

Advice, support and information for single parents

Advice, support and information for families with disabled children

Organisations that offer support of various kinds to parents in the arts, UK wide first then by region:


Artist in Residency in Motherhood (everywhere)
Conceptual residency
An Artist Residency in Motherhood is the reframing of parenthood as a valuable site for creative practice, rather than an obstruction to be overcome. Conceived by Lenka Clayton

Artist/Mum (Online/UK)
A publication in progress recording conversations with artists (who are also mums)

Birth Rites Collection, (Online/UK)
Collection and network
The first and only collection of contemporary artwork dedicated to the subject of childbirth. Also holds a biennale competition and a Birth Rites Summer School

Desperate Artwives (Online/UK)
Established in 2011 by Artist and Mother Amy Dignam whilst pregnant with her third child it quickly grew into a strong collective of female artists most of whom are mothers but also includes women who have other caring responsibilities who wanted to bring together reactive and proactive art to challenge stereotypes, call up social issues and create a visible international platform from which to do this.

Digital Institute for Early Parenthood (Online/UK)
Associate Artists Program
The Digital Institute for Early Parenthood’s (DIEP) groundbreaking educational modules and workshops use outstanding biographical works of art to:
– help medical and midwifery students understand their impact on mothers’ and fathers’ pregnancy, birth and new parenthood experiences.
– teach college students about the reality behind the cultural portrayal of conception, pregnancy, birth and early parenthood.

Eye Mama (everywhere)
Eye Mama project is a global photography platform showcasing the mama gaze.
Based on instagram, its a community, and now a photo book, that invites photographer Mamas worldwide to showcase their experience of mama-hood home and family in current times, the dark and light of care. their personal truths.

Hidden Mothers Art Project (UK)
Hidden Mothers is a public art project by @tereza.buskova, focusing on the empowerment of mothers and women facing isolation in the UK today.

INFEMS are a feminist art collective who curate from an intersectional perspective and have invited artist (m)others to exhibit or hosted them via residencies and as guest curators.

Mothers Who Make (nationwide/global, UK)
Our international grassroots movement is dedicated to supporting the dual role of mothers and maker/artist/creative.

Natal Notes (Online/UK)
Natal Notes is a series of weekly creative workshops, to engage, encourage and give voice to our true selves via creative writing and arts based prompts.
Founded by Fanny Pogson

Outside In (UK)
A platform for artists who encounter significant barriers to the art world due to health, disability, social circumstance, or isolation.

Parents and Carers in the Performing Arts (UK)
PiPA was created by Actor Cassie Raine and Director Anna Ehnold-Danailov in 2015, to address a lack of provision for parents and carers in the performing arts.

PLAYgroup (UK)
Substack by historian Emily Baughan writing about early childhood and its intersections with neoliberalism, the state and the family.

POST Photography Collective (Online/UK)
POST was conceived in January 2021, as a support network of photographers who are also juggling the demands of motherhood particularly during lockdown and homeschooling.

Raising Films (UK)
Raising Films’ mission is to support, promote and campaign for parents and carers in the UK screen sector.

The Mothers UK (Online)
Stories and experiences of Mothers of all ages, with children of all ages.
Everyone is welcome here.

Unperceived Existence (Online and nomadic gallery, UK)
Unperceived existence explores the interplay between existence and perception through a series of solo exhibitions for women artists.
In collaboration with @mothermakers
Founded by Laura Bradshaw-Heap

Woman Up!
Evolving from the Desperate Artwives Collective, WomanUp! podcast speaks to and about artists, academics, writers and activists, midwives, carers and more all (m)others and all womxn. Those challenging ideas and ideals, questioning assumptions and provoking social change. Woman Up! is produced by Artists Amy Dignam and Susan Merrick

Week 45 Collective (UK)
Week 45 supports any and all diverse Women artists, including Mothers. They have open calls on their instagram and produce affordable exhibitions in central London Galleries and welcome submissions.


Aplpip Arts (Somerset, England)
Inclusive residency programme

Bring Your Baby Gallery Tours (Bristol, England)
Gallery tours for people with babies, led by Jane Porter

HER MIT Projects (Bristol area, England)
HER MIT Projects was established in the autumn of 2018. It provides space for artists to try things out and for the audience to be close to the work.
Natasha MacVoy, Curator and Organiser

Let’s Make Art (Bristol area, England)
Artist Project
Let’s Make Art (Alice and Karen) supports parents through family workshops by creating opportunities for them to make their own work alongside their children.

Motherlore (Bristol, UK)
Motherlore is a writing magazine on care, mothering, motherhood, matrescence and mother nature

Parents Who Paint (Stroud, UK)
Parents who Paint meet once a week on a Friday 10-12:30 at Tinkly Gate, Woodchester to paint together with different prompts and materials offered. Parents and babies welcome!


Fieldwork Studio (South Wales, UK)
Arts organisation
Fieldwork Studio is an artist-led organisation in South Wales offering artist professional development support & residencies, and are developing an artist-filmmaker residency for women, LGBTQ+ artists, mothers and those with caring responsibilities.
@fieldwk_studio (Wales, UK)
Residency programme
A small artist and writers residency in the Eryri National Park, Wales who host parent residencies and offer a range of bursaries to help the residencies be more accessible

Mothersuckers (Cardiff, Wales)
Curators, artists, producers
Maternal arts project founded by Zoe Gingell and Eve Dent

Mothers Who Write (Kent, England/ Snowdonia, Wales)
The new community for writers who happen to be mothers run by @rebecca.schiller.
Writers retreats in Kent and Snowdonia

Performance and the Maternal (Cardiff, Wales)
Research project, archive and manifesto
This project seeks to better understand the condition of the maternal through a study of maternal performance.
Lena Šimić & Emily Underwood-Lee


Babes in Arms (Hastings, St Leonards and Bexhill, UK)
Collective / Community
Babes In Arms is a collective of artist mothers living in Hastings, St Leonards and Bexhill, who have come together through a shared experience of the inspiration and the difficulties that are attached to being an artist or creative whilst also trying to raise a child.

Babe Station (London, UK)
Artist project exploring the relationship between making art and motherhood
Running free writing workshops for new mothers

Brocket Gallery (London, UK)
Gallery and residency programme
The residency programme is now open to artist parents who can bring their child(ren) on the residency with them.

The Fores Project (Kentish Town, London)
Parent-friendly artist residency program

Hastings Art School (Hastings, UK)
Arts Programme
An accessible arts programme built around a flexible schedule supportive to those with care responsibilities. HAS sprung up after its founder, Julia, found it almost impossible to complete her MFA whilst being a single parent to two small folk, and decided to provide another way to gain an arts education. HAS is parent/artist run.

Kupfer Project Space (London, UK)
Project Space/ Family-friendly residency
Kupfer is a project space that functions as a platform for experimental exhibitions.
The space is run by the curator Kiki Mazzucchelli and the visual artist Penelope Kupfer, who are both mothers

Liminal Gallery (Margate, UK)
Project space / gallery
Liminal Gallery challenges the status quo, presenting the diverse and resonant voices of today’s artists from across the UK and Ireland. While historically women and minorities have been wildly underrepresented in the art world, Liminal Gallery stands as proof that change is happening. Run by Louise Fitzjohn.

MaMSIE (Mapping Maternal Subjectivities, Identities and Ethics) is a network based at the Department of Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck, that creates spaces for interdisciplinary conversations about motherhood and the maternal more broadly.

Maternal Journal (Groups around the UK and in New Jersey, USA)
Award-winning creative journaling for pregnancy, birth and beyond by @godfrey_isaacs & Samantha McGowan

Metal Culture (Southend, Essex, England and online)
Family friendly artist residencies in Southend in Essex, and flexible online residencies.

Mother Art Prize (London, England)
International art prize and exhibition
Part of Dyana Gravina’s Procreate Project

Mother House Studios (London, England)
Studio complex

Motherworks (Online and Worthing, UK)
Creative Platform
MOTHERWORKS is a platform for a range of perspectives on maternal mental health and our experience of motherhood.

Mothers who Make East Kent (East Kent, UK)

Mothers Who Write (Kent, England/ Snowdonia, Wales)
The new community for writers who happen to be mothers run by @rebecca.schiller.
Writers retreats in Kent and Snowdonia

Jelly (Reading, UK)
Jelly is a female led arts organisation. Our 3 co-directors are mothers at differing stages of parenthood.
Jelly’s flexibility and supportive way of working allows freelance, residency and associate artists to continue to develop their creative work whilst navigating the needs of family life. We invite and encourage artists children and their families to be involved in the fabric of the organisation.

Procreate Project (London, England)
Arts organisation
We support the development of contemporary artists who are also mothers, working across disciplines.
Founded by Dyana Gravina

Turf Projects (Croydon, UK)
Artist run project space
Turf Projects puts on free exhibitions, runs free workshops (including family days), provides affordable artist studios, facilitates local collective and runs a residency programme. It has a comprehensive access and inclusion policy to support all those with access needs, with a mission to be as inclusive as possible.


Fermywoods (Northampton, UK)
An inclusive arts organisation who are committed to working flexibly and are supportive of those with care responsibilities


MotherShip CiC (West Midlands, UK)
Community Organization
Arts organisation in the West Midlands connecting communities through culture and creativity, championing women, particularly mothers and children.

Stryx Gallery (Birmingham, UK)
Gallery and artist studios
Stryx is a female artist led studios, gallery and project space. Run by two mothers. We support artists through residencies and development programmes. We focus on supporting women and non-binary creatives. Stryx are M/others Who Make hub for Birmingham and deliver extensive community outreach programmes, including free children and family workshops, creative baby and toddler groups and peer support groups for mothers creatives.


M(other) Art Collective (NW England)
(M)other is a collective of artist-parents based in the North West of England


Creative Mothers Project (Leeds, England)
Network and studios
The Creative Mothers Project are a grassroots project in Leeds, bringing mothers and children together in creative sessions, sharing parenting, creativity and exploring what it means to be a Mother Artist.

Maternal Art (Todmorden, England)
Publishing and promoting art about the maternal


MOTHEROTHER is an inclusive support network for artist parents and carers, hosting artist meetings, social gatherings, exhibitions and residency opportunities.


Cample Line (Dumfries, Scotland)
Cample Line offers a programme of family friendly exhibitions, screenings, talks, walks, workshops and events, amplifying a diversity of voices, places and experiences and promoting equality, accessibility and inclusion.

Creative Parents (Glasgow, Scotland)
Based out of GOMA in Glasgow and communicate via @glasgowgoma insta account/

Cove Park (Argyll & Bute, Scotland)
Residency programme
Cove Park’s unique programme of residencies, commissions and collaborative projects respond to and support the diversity of contemporary artistic practice in all the art forms. Cove Park’s accommodation is ideal for single residents. However, they create specific residencies for families and individuals with caring responsibilities and have accommodation suitable for individuals coming with those providing support. Partners and families are welcome to visit during the weekends.

Forgan Arts Centre (Fife, Scotland)
Arts organisation
Home for art and craft development, production and experimentation. Forgan Arts Centre are launching a residency programme in 2024 which includes childcare and artist accommodation for people with children/family.

Glasgow Women’s Library (Glasgow, Scotland)
The only Accredited Museum in the UK dedicated to women’s lives, histories and achievements with a lending library, archive collections and innovative programmes of public events and learning opportunities.

Scottish Sculpture Workshop (Lumsden, Aberdeenshire, Scotland)
Caregivers Residency Program (for artists based in Scotland)
The care of others is central to the collective survival of our world yet is deeply undervalued within our society – this is often mirrored in the structures of support created for artists.

Spilt Milk (Edinburgh, Scotland)
Network, exhibitions, events
Spilt Milk is a social enterprise based in Edinburgh whose mission is to promote the work of artists who are mothers, and empower mothers in the community.


Second Collective Belfast (Belfast)
Second Collective is an organisation dedicated to supporting mature female artists by providing paid exhibition opportunities for fine artists, offering practical and mentoring support to these artists and by promoting learning opportunities and skill sharing opportunities for women in the fine art sector and beyond.


A portrait of a white woman with long brown hair, wearing a white top

Jo Harrison is a curator and arts worker based in London whose practice focuses on gender, work and economies of care. She is Director at The Approach, London and runs ‘Repronomics’, a research project exploring the intersection of reproduction and economics through the lens of visual arts; she also hosts an ongoing nomadic reading group with a focus on feminism, social reproduction, labour and economics. Jo was previously Curator at Almanac Projects, London, has been a visiting lecturer at Birth Rites Collection, Central Saint Martins and Slade School of Art (UCL) and runs The Arts Working Parents Alliance with Hettie Judah.

A portrait of a white woman with short dark hair in a dark patterned top

Hettie Judah is a regular contributor to The Guardian, Apollo, Frieze and The Times Literary Supplement. She is the curator of the new Hayward Gallery Touring exhibition Acts of Creation: On Art and Motherhood which is currently on show at the Arnolfini in Bristol, and travelling the UK over the next 18 months. Her recent books include Lapidarium: The Secret Lives of Stones (2022). Thames & Hudson will publish the stand-alone book Acts of Creation: On Art and Motherhood in July 2024.