Motherhood Unmasked (MUM) was founded in 2009 as a community arts projects aimed at engaging new mothers within a particular local community in Melbourne. The program is designed for mothers to engage in arts based activities to express and share their experiences of being mothers. More broadly it aims to value the roles and experiences of mothers, both at an individual and broader social level. MUM is based on community development principles and was initially developed in partnership with local mothers and key community stakeholders, including local government, a local community arts centre, local businesses, service clubs and health services. MUM has evolved to be a responsive, community based arts program which is run according to community need and aspiration. MUM is now in its 5th year of operation and also has an emerging online platform for sharing women’s stories of mothering and creatively engaging with experiences as Mums.
The Project involves a series of workshops followed by an exhibition where participants display their work and engage with the broader community about the lived experience of motherhood. Held the week leading up to Mothers’ Day, the exhibition is an opportunity to honour mums, thank those who support and parent with us, and communicate the complex joys and challenges of motherhood. It is also aimed at changing attitudes around the role and value of mothers and mothering.
Since its inception, Motherhood Unmasked has changed and adapted its format to new circumstances (much like being a mum!). Today, Motherhood Unmasked partners with community organisations to run Motherhood Unmasked workshops and exhibition. Motherhood Unmasked is also an online platform for sharing women’s stories of mothering and creatively engaging with our experiences as mums.
You may be wondering why the project focuses on mums. Good question, and thanks for taking the time to consider this, because we certainly know we don’t parent in a vacuum! We understand that dads, partners, extended family and communities are all extremely important for children and parents, but we’re mums. Mothers also remain the primary caregivers of children, especially in the first few years of babies lives. Our personal experiences as women becoming mums is where the project began. Research also tells us that the role and experiences of mums has been hugely undervalued in our society and we’d like to see that changed.
If you would like more information on running a creative arts project for mums in your area, please get in touch. We’d love to share all we have learnt through this process with you!