A Time to Vent and a Time to Revive! A Conversation for Parents and Carers Working in the Arts During the Pandemic

Image credit: Viola Depcik

I don’t know about you but I feel rather sad, a bit lost and very tired. 

There have been so many different stages to the year: the initial threat; the rapid shocking shutting of all face to face events; the blitz spirit of lockdown one; the summer of easing, of putting it all behind us, but then it wasn’t - it was in front again, masks on, a second wave of shows and projects cancelled; the ever-changing tiers - a word I had always associated with wedding cakes, now denoting ever rising levels of risk and restriction; then the second round of schooling-at-home but this time in winter, this time with the blitz spirit over and a ‘business as usual’ atmosphere. Except if your work involves being in a crowded room, pressed close, watching people telling stories - acting them, singing them, dancing them - the business they call the performing arts - then things have not resumed ‘as usual.’ Maybe you, like me, have developed a whole new version of your job online, and are wondering how to sustain this new role once the old one eventually starts up again. 

No wonder I am sad, lost and tired. 

And through it all we have been required to be in bubbles. Along with ‘the tiers,’ this is another image which doesn’t line up for me in its current usage. Bubbles are fragile, rainbow glinting soapy spheres which my children try to burst -isn’t that the point of bubbles? Popping them?! Not crouching inside them, trapped.

It has been all too easy to feel alone this year, to think that every other bubble is better, that the parents down the road are managing the maths homework just fine, that other artists are still being productive despite the pandemic, that it is just you in your bubble that is struggling so badly. And it’s not like any of it was simple before the virus came along: the work of caring, of creating, of how to sustain both of these things at once is hard even without a global pandemic in the picture.

If any of this resonates, if you feel even slightly sad, lost or tired, this is an invitation to you to come along and burst out of your lonely bubble. It’s still online - Covid-safe - but it will be run in Open Space which means you get to think and reach outside the zoom box, making real connections about the things you really care about. You can have a rant, a laugh, a cry, or a cathartic scream, depending on what you need right now. 

Bring your sadness, despair, exhaustion. Bring your children or dependents, as you need or wish. Bring yourself and your experiences of the year, inside your bubble and let us, together, re-find our hope, resilience and passion. Let’s do the thing you are meant to do with bubbles - pop them. Let’s together try and restore the thing at the heart of our roles both as parents or carers, and as people working in the arts - our sense of play and wonder.

- Matilda Leyser, Artistic Director of Mothers Who Make, Associate Director of Improbable

Mothers Who Make is a growing international movement for women/ non-binary people who care about creating, and create whilst caring. Through a range of peer support meetings, artistic events and innovative projects we aim to support women and non-binary people to sustain their creative identities whilst also holding caring roles. 


What is Open Space?

Devoted & Disgruntled is organised using a process called Open Space Technology, or Open Space. We will fully explain everything you need to know at the beginning of Day 1, including a briefing on all of the tech that we'll be using. However, if you've not been to an Open Space event before and want to know what you're signing up for, we've prepared a short video that explains the basics:

Vimeo Video http://www.vimeo.com/370078073

You can also read a bit more about the principles of Open Space here on the D&D website (although bear in mind that some of the details will be different in a virtual space!)


We try our hardest to make sure D&D is accessible for Deaf, disabled, blind, partially-sighted, and neurodivergent participants. We will be providing a range of online access technologies, including BSL interpreters and live captioning.

If you have any further questions, please get in touch with [email protected]

Orientation Session

We will be hosting a 30-minute orientation session on Tuesday 27th April 2021 at 5:30pm – this session is optional, but if you would like a chance to familiarise yourself with the online tools we’ll be using, we will explain how they work and answer any questions. If you have any access needs, we would highly recommend that you to attend one of the orientation session - let us know in advance if you'd like to join one: [email protected].

To find out more about the event and to book your tickets: https://bac.org.uk/whats-on/vent-and-revive/

Booking for this event has now closed.