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Role Mothers: Art, Creativity and Motherhood



Event Status

Explore the delicate juggling act experienced by maternal creatives balancing the dual roles of ‘the mother’ and ‘the artist’. 

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Motherhood is an intense period of introspection and change. For some, these may be ideal conditions for creative inspiration to strike, but it comes with immense demands on time, money and energy.

For the Wheeler Centre’s M/OTHER series, writer and musician Edwina Preston, British novelist Esther Freud and musician and mother Thndo explore the ideas and complications behind balancing art-making and motherhood.

Together with host, Radio National presenter Hilary Harper, they will delve into pertinent and honest questions about the roles of mother and artist, the barriers to creativity placed upon them by caregiving, and what structures can be put in place to better support mothers pursuing creative careers.



Conversations in M/OTHER may include references to topics such as mental health, reproductive rights, and childbirth. If you need assistance with any of these issues, you can learn more and seek advice via the Centre of Perinatal Excellence (COPE)Perintal Anxiety & Depression Australia (PANDA) and Beyond Blue.


Wheelchair accessible

Accessible toilets available

Please notify us of all access requirements when booking online so we can assist you with your visit. If you require further information, please contact reception on 03 9094 7800 or

Official Bookseller

The official bookseller for M/OTHER is Neighbourhood Books.


M/OTHER is a weekend of fearless conversation about the ways ‘motherhood’ is experienced, portrayed and labelled by those who mother, have been mothered, wish they were mothers, do not identify as mothers, cannot or do not want to mother, and by society at-large.




Esther Freud

Esther Freud trained as an actress before writing her first novel, Hideous Kinky, which was made into a film starring Kate Winslet. After publishing her second book she was chosen as one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists. Her other novels include The Sea House, Lucky Break and Mr Mac and Me... Read more

Edwina Preston

Edwina Preston is a Melbourne-based writer and musician. Preston is the author of a biography of Australian artist Howard Arkley, Not Just a Suburban Boy (Duffy & Snellgrove, 2002), the novel The Inheritance of Ivorie Hammer (University of Queensland Press, 2012), and the novel Bad Art Mother (W... Read more


The Australian music scene is no stranger to Thndo (fka Thando). The widely loved Zimbabwean-born ‘First Lady of Soul and R&B’ has commanded massive crowds at festivals such as Bluesfest, WOMAdelaide, Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Groovin the Moo, BigSound, Jungle Love, Woodford Folk Festival a... Read more

Hilary Harper

Hilary Harper has a degree in English Literature and Cultural Studies, a Graduate Diploma in Professional Writing and Editing, and 30 years’ experience in radio. She’s been at the ABC since 2005. She’s covered everything from news and current affairs to traffic reporting, arts, health, gardeni... Read more


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176 Little Lonsdale Street Melbourne Victoria 3000

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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Centre stands. We acknowledge and pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their Elders, past and present, as the custodians of the world’s oldest continuous living culture.