I have started a group called Mothers who Make. At the moment it is a peer support group for mothers who are artists - professional and/ or passionate - writers, actors, painters, musicians, dancers, film-makers….every kind of maker welcome and every kind of mother. We have met six times at Battersea Arts Centre. I have also received many emails from round the country, from mothers who were unable to make the meetings but who long for a group like this. My sense is that there is a need for this, for a national network of support for mothers who are doing this difficult, vital work, of making children, making work.

I called a session because I want to gather ideas for where this group could go, what people want, need, dream of…..Here are the ideas and requests that came up:

-A regular platform for mothers to share work in an informal, child-friendly space, providing a gentle do-able deadline, a way to have a focus for your work.

-A making space: for mothers but child-friendly. Most spaces are either for the children (one O'clock clubs, playgroups, playgrounds etc), with the adults hanging round the edges, or are for adults and not child-friendly. This would be a space for mothers to get on with their making but with the children welcome. We discussed the idea that mothers might take it in turns to watch out for the children to give others more focussed time.

-An online presence: a website via which mothers could register themselves and their location so that networks of support could begin to grow, local and national.

- Regional Satellites of the Mothers who Make peer support group: guidelines for this could be on the website. We discussed how Fun Palaces was a good model for this - i.e. anyone can set one up. I would be happy to visit different cities/ towns to help set them going.

- Funding as a collective: The idea came up that we could apply for funding as a collective - funding that covers the overheads of making work: childcare, space etc - as opposed to funding that supports a particular piece of work being made - i.e. we would make work as individual artists but share basic costs.

- Making work: also the idea of making work together; gathering mother's stories - putting them out there.

So lots of ideas. Good stuff. Important stuff. I feel excited and also a little daunted/ overwhelmed: how to make these things happen and still look after my son, still make the work I want to make? We talked about making a steering group- a central group of people who are keen to make this happen, happy to contribute their time to get it off the ground. If you want to be part of this, please get in touch: [email protected]

We have a chance as part of the Fun Palace weekend on Oct 5th and 6th to pilot a couple of the ideas above. The regular peer support group will continue in the autumn on a weekly basis.

I think the next step after this is to get an Arts Council funding application together.

Step by step.

Making the revolution a reality…