Mum’s Not The Word -Statement

I conceived Mum’s Not The Word because there appears to be a massive

negative premise that suggests that women who do not reproduce are

selfish, do not like children or are not real women. Females who do not

procreate are too often misrepresented by negative terms: barren,

spinster, wicked stepmother or crazy cat lady. On many occasions, I have

heard people say: “You wouldn’t understand unless you are a parent

yourself.” I label myself as being child-free because I don’t want children.

However, being infertile is not a choice. For many, it’s also a grieving

process, which for some may slowly grow into acceptance, while for

others it may be a cause of constant pain. There are also the childless by

circumstance and childless by disability.

Today, women are expected to provide reasons not to have children. The

choice to reproduce is not regarded as needing any thought or

justification. Mum’s Not The Word debates the social stigmatisation of

women, who, by choice or for medical reasons, go against the instinct of

childbirth and maternal productivity. I photograph the childless, child-free

and childless by circumstance. The images are of women in the foetal

position, as a reversal of the recognised visual of the unborn child.

I create these images to challenge the negative attitudes within society

towards people without children and to share stories of birth control,

choice, freedom, regret and pain. I recruit participants through word of

mouth and social media. I ask them bring along their duvet cover and I

shoot from above and in natural light.

My subjects come from all walks of life – professionals, artists; a few have

mental health issues or disabilities; some have fragile relationships with

their birth mothers. A couple of the participants also identify as other than


The childless/child-free/childless by circumstance/ disability are newly

recognised breeds of women who are contributing positively to

decreasing the human impact on the natural world. There are more than

seven billion people worldwide and 400,000 births per day. As the

population soars, a growing number of communities will continue to be

displaced by climate change, environmental disasters, wars, famines,

technology and industry. The one in five who live a life without

descendants are creating a much less of a global strain. Could civilisation

be guided to identify it is acceptable to opt out of parenthood and by not

procreating, humankind can inherit the key to a sustainable future?

Mum’s Not The Word - Proposal

In April 2018, I signed a contract with Veloce a book publisher and my 112 page

photo- book, is about women who do not have children, the release date is 14 June

2019. Each page has full bleed images on women lying in the foetus position on their

bedding, with on the opposite page as first hand account describing each individuals

experience of being childless/ childfree/childless by circumstance. To complete this

series, which I have been working on since 2015, I would like to organise a

celebration around the theme of childlessness. My aim to set up a large scale

photography exhibition and display at fifty images sized 1 metre x 1.5 metre prints in a

art gallery. The exhibition would run for 6 weeks and I will also provide a library and

information area, symposium and a moving image projected onto the a bed structure

in the centre of the exhibition. The Phoenix Gallery, Brighton have agreed to house

the event, which with rent, staffing costs and exhibition organisation and printing costs

will cost in the region of £15,000, If 3rd Biennial Grant proposal is successful , it would

contribute to the match funding required by the Arts Council. And with this being my

first Arts Council application I have been advised to apply for approx £13,000. The

proposed timeframe allows the Biennial a mention in the MNTW book, PR and