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Role Mothers: Art, Creativity and Motherhood

“What I discovered eventually was to use all your resources to get as much support as you can, it makes a huge difference to everybody. And give up on asking people for help that don’t want to help you” – Esther Freud.

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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 explored the ideas and complications behind balancing art-making and motherhood.

Together with host, Radio National presenter Hilary Harper, they delved 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.

This event was recorded on Saturday, 4 March 2023 at the Wheeler Centre as part of M/OTHER: 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.

The official bookseller for M/OTHER was Neighbourhood Books.

Featured music is ‘Travelling Again’ – Sarah the Illstrumentalist.

Photo by TJ Garvie

Conversations from 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.

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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.