“I am convinced that everyone – and I mean everyone, regardless of gender or status - loses out when care and art are kept separate, in opposition to one anotherThe care becomes drudgery. The art becomes inaccessible.” Matilda Leyser (Mothers Who Make)

Are you a freelance artist or producer? Have you found balancing your career and parenthood challenging? Or maybe you are not yet a parent but are wondering how to make it work?

Are you an audience member who loves going to the theatre/art events, but you find it hard now that you are a parent?

Are you an employer in arts and culture? Are you keen to support members of your team who are parents/carers?

Do you run a building, and want to find ways to make it more accessible for parents/carers to attend your programme?

Are you a teacher, giving careers advice to students about the arts? Are you interested in discussing parenthood and caring roles alongside career planning?

An invitation from Lizzy Humber (Producer, Mothers Who Make):

I am a Devon based artist and producer. When I became a mother I noticed many subtle, ingrained prejudices and assumptions in the workplace. I felt excluded from spaces where before I was welcome. I felt invisible from my professional network. Many events now fell over ‘bedtime’, or did not allow me to attend with my child. I felt excluded from job opportunities as many were full time, but I did not feel courageous enough to discuss job sharing. I rarely managed to attend the theatre, but hungered for arts and culture that fed my brain and imagination without needing to pay for childcare. It led me to explore new ways of existing as my whole self – mother, artist, producer, thinker. I have had some significant, affirming and empowering experiences. I have had my daughter with me at relaxed performances at the cinema, she has accompanied me to meetings, I’ve breastfed in the rehearsal room, held workshops with my daughter strapped to my back, held meetings in the park and attended job interviews while she sat and played next to me. I have learnt to adapt, to get creative, to work in the gaps of the day, late into the evening or alongside her. The cost and inflexibility of childcare is often incompatible to working freelance in the arts. But in many ways the privilege of being a freelance artist affords me the flexibility to mother in the way I want to, and to share more of myself with my daughter, as she sees me in my dual roles of mother and maker.

I have had many conversations with mothers, parents, carers, artists, producers, directors, programmers, designers, technicians, event organisers, art lovers, arts and culture organisations, charities, venues, funders – and I am inspired to bring you together to see if we can put our heads together and consider what the next 10 years should look like in Devon for the arts and caring roles?  

As artists and art lovers – how we can model doing things differently? Can we proudly put MOTHER, FATHER, CARER on our CVs, noting the skills, resilience and creativity these roles have taught us? Can we create more adult centred spaces where children are welcome, integrated and not apologised for? Can we create working environments/schedules/opportunities that do not compromise our caring responsibilities? 

Come bring your questions, passion, vision, wisdom, provocations. You don’t need to bring the answers. The more diverse the room the richer the discussion. We will work together to create a more inclusive and so more vibrant local sector.

Children of any age are encouraged and welcome to attend with you. They will be integrated into the day, and they are welcome to bring their questions and visions too.

The event is free but any donations will contribute to the Mothers Who Make Devon pilot project, which supports women who are mothers and makers across the county.

This event is fully wheelchair-accessible. More access information about the venue is available at https://www.exeterphoenix.org.uk/about-us/access/. If you need any support to attend or if the cost of travel is a barrier please get in touch with Lizzy directly: [email protected]