Birth Rites Collection at the University of Kent

Ana Casas Broda, "Milk II," Kinderwunsch, 2006–12. From the book Kinderwunsch, printed by La Fabrica, Spain, 2014. Inkjet print on cotton paper mounted on Aludibond, twenty-eight pieces, 70 x 90 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Birth Rites Collection. 

The Birth Rites Collection is the first and only collection of contemporary artwork dedicated to the subject of childbirth. The collection is hosted by the Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries at the University of Kent, where it is displayed across four buildings. To date, the collection comprises over 90 artworks which range from photography, sculpture, painting, artist prints, drawing, new media, documentary and artist film. We hold an exciting public programme which includes: a Summer School, in-person and online tours, commissions, public events and talks.

The Birth Rites Collection encourages debate and increases awareness around childbirth, reproductive care, aesthetics and feminist art practice. The project highlights issues including the shift towards medical intervention in birth, the impact of new reproductive technologies amid changing perspectives on the non-binary and notions of kinship, and the socio-political landscape of reproduction. It also explores whether society’s focus on propelling women on to an equal footing with men in the workplace erodes their importance as mothers and investigates how free women are to give birth in a way they want.

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