I’m coming towards the end of my posts on being creative whilst having children and in this post I wanted to acknowledge and spread the word about various organisations and creative opportunities that support artists during their parenting years. Too often this is a tricky stage of creativity because you have to juggle the kids as well as your other commitments and try to be creative.
In 2015 an independent survey of over 500 parents in the creative industries, conducted by Laura Wells, found that 74% of respondents had missed out on work due to childcare issues. I’m currently in receipt of a very nice Writer in Residence grant which fortunately pays enough that I can afford the childcare to do the work, covering me two days a week. But I’ve seen plenty of residencies which offer only food and lodging: wonderful if you have few commitments but I have no writer parents I know who could afford the time away without some childcare support as well.
This post is full of bits and pieces I’ve come across and I hope you’ll add your own ideas and finds in the comments below. When you’re trying to juggle it all it’s nice to know other people are doing it too and that a few people are trying to help.
First up a book called The Artistic Mother, by Shona Cole. It includes case studies of creative mothers for inspiration and a 12-week series of workshops where you create art inspired by your children. She has five children under the age of ten (I can’t even imagine… I barely cope with two under five!). It’s a nice way to find little moments to create art even amongst the hurly-burly of parenting.
This website by author Cari Luna is a long-running blog with guest posts from both male and female writers with kids. It’s always interesting to hear how other people manage to be creative with kids around.
Because, as I’ve already covered, many creative mothers often end up turning entrepreneur (whether as a writer or in other ways) after they have kids, I recommend Mumpreneur by Annabel Karmel. It offers pretty standard good quality business advice but what makes it different is that all the case studies are focused on women (mostly mothers), a rare thing in a business book and inspiring.
I’d really recommend signing up for the Arts Council free newsletter covering Arts News and Arts Jobs. Just this week there are three opportunities for parents being advertised:
- Mother House: a project that is being developed where mothers could come together and create art in a house with a crèche on site.
- A free drama workshop for mothers run by Goldsmiths over various weekends.
- Calls to enter the Brood Film Fest, a film festival focused on parenting.
The Prams in the Hall theatre group encourages children to be present while their parents make theatre as well as lobbying for better conditions for theatre-working parents.
Parents in Performing Arts is an organisation that campaigns for the industry to change its working practices to better support parents
A few interesting articles:
- How Artistic Parents Can Stay Creative
- Parents in the arts need to stage a childcare revolution
- Mothers, and the pram-in-the-hall problem
The Sustainable Arts Foundation aims to support artists with children under 18. It gives both individual grants as well as organisation grants to help make existing residency opportunities more accessible to parents.
If you find any more useful ideas and links, please do share them in the comments below. My next post will be my last one: on using the creative push of children when there are no children around.
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