Research

Birth shock! What role might arts engagement have to play in antenatal and postnatal care?

SUSAN HOGAN, University of Derby and University of Nottingham, Journal of Applied Arts & Health, Volume 11 Number 3, November 2020. This article shares research findings for an Arts and Humanities Research Council project called The Birth Project.

The Birth Project has been particularly interested to explore women’s personal experience of birth and the transition to motherhood using the arts, within a participatory arts framework. It ran experiential art-based groups for mothers and a further group for birthing professionals, each over a twelve-week period to solicit in-depth qualitative data.

An innovative aspect of this endeavour has been the use of film as research data, as a means of answering the research questions (through selective editing) and as the primary mode of dissemination of the research results. Results elaborated and summarised explore the ways women and birthing professionals found the intervention useful. The project analyses the distinctive contribution of the arts and concludes that arts engagement can play a vital role in both antenatal and postnatal care.

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