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Manifesto: An Artist Residency in Motherhood


As an artist mother, it is near impossible to undertake a traditional artist residency, so I am delighted to be taking part in an ongoing project founded by Lenka Clayton; An Artist Residency in Motherhood. Traditional residencies are understood as a period of time away from normal everyday life and responsibilities in order to fully immerse yourself in the research and development of your practice. What happens when this isn't possible? My responsibilities as a mother single handedly raising a child, and working full time makes it impossible to be able to undertake a 3 or 6 month residency away from home. This opportunity will enable me to give myself the structure, focus and commitment to my ongoing development and it couldn't come at a better time.

It's so easy to compare yourself to others, to look at your situation and all the obstacles in your way and feel like you are missing out. Instead of looking at all the 'obstacles' in the way of my practice, I want to embrace them and realise how these challenges could shape and define the work I make. I guess I've always kind of been on an artist residency in motherhood considering I've been a mother since before I started any kind of career in the arts, but at a time when I am beginning to lose hope with my work, with success and with the art world, I'm hoping this period of structure, commitment and dedication will bring me back to the reasons why I make, to the fundamental core of what I'm interested in, and give me a new lease of creativity.

I, Lauren McLaughlin will undergo this self-imposed artist residency in order to fully experience and explore what it is to commit to developing an ongoing practice in response to the daily routines of motherhood. I will accept the high’s and lows of the journey and promise not to be too hard on myself. I will work at home by re-purposing the space i already have available to me and use the surroundings of my domestic space as an advantage to making interesting new works. My role as a parent will not negatively affect my creative practice as an artist but it will inspire and shape it.

For the next nine months, I will dedicate at least 10 hours per week to the research and development of new ideas. I will re-purpose the little time I have available to me in order to prioritise 'studio time'. I will focus this time on the development of new works and ideas, utilising the resources available to me. I will not actively seek out opportunities to exhibit my work during this residency but I will focus my energy on creating new work.

I will start the residency on August 1st 2016 and it will end on April 30th 2017. During this time, I will record my thoughts, experiences, ideas and artworks on my blog which I will aim to update every fortnight. 

Lauren McLaughlin, July 17th 2016

Lauren McLaughlin