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THE 2020 FESTIVAL OF SOCIAL SCIENCE
DIGITAL-FIRST EVENT 7-15 NOV 2020
FoSS and ESRC logos

Marking motherhood: The tattoos of mothers living apart from their children.

07th November 2020 14:00 - 15:00 both days
Talk/Webinar, Exhibition/demonstration, Interactive activity

About this event

The event will disseminate findings from a pilot study funded by the Sociological Review which explored the inscription of tattoos with eight mothers who live apart from their children. The mothers carry images and the names of their children on their body. The tattoo is a way of embodying motherhood; keeping their child(ren) with them - etched in their skin - until imagined future reunification. Tattooing has a long history in branding stigma on the body. Indeed, stigma is defined as a ‘mark of disgrace’ (OED). What is notable here is that the mothers use tattooing as a form of resistance; reclaiming their identity of mother. The event will consist of two webinars. The first webinar will be on the first day of the Festival (Saturday 7 November) and will give an overview of the project and disseminate the findings through narratives and visual images. Those who register for the webinars can opt to receive a small bundle created by the artist which will include material about the project and an invitation to contribute to the event through submitting their own drawing and/ or description of the tattoo they would choose to connect to a loved one. The completed card will be returned via a stamped addressed envelope for a PO Box. The second webinar will take place on the penultimate day of the Festival (Saturday 14 November). We will discuss the audience submissions and reflect on how they connect with the mothers’ tattoos. This format means there will be an interactive element.