HAPPY BIRTH DAYS is a participatory project which piloted at my solo show RE:COLLECTION - Regathering Social Practice at St Anne's House, Bristol from 2 - 11th Nov 2023.

HAPPY BIRTH DAYS was conceived as an artwork following a year of developing new work exploring birth experiences and new motherhood. I was struck by a grief-like feeling on the first birthday of my son alongside the joy and celebration of him, and found there was little to no space for reflection on the birth itself on the anniversary for the m/other or parent. HAPPY BIRTH DAYS aims to widen this conversation, visualising this juxtaposition through hosting a birth-themed birthday party for fellow m/others, with the aim to shed light on the diversity of the traumas and triumphs of birth by inviting attendees to write their own birth day cards of support to their birthing self - a copy to take home, and a copy to leave anonymously for others to experience. The remnants of food from the event will be left on the table throughout the remainder of the exhibition - because no Mum is going to come and tidy up!

"This should be a service on the NHS!"
Mother participant

The pilot was co-facilitated by myself Ellie Shipman, and fellow mother Catherine Gilmore, with support from clinical psychologist Nat Shaban. With huge thanks to the 10 m/others who attended.