International Birth Rites Competition on the Subject of Childbirth 2017

Publish Date: May 29, 2017

Deadline: Jul 15, 2017

Birth Rites Competition 2017

The Birth Rites Collection is the first and only collection of contemporary artwork dedicated to the subject of childbirth. The aim of the collection is to encourage debate and increase awareness around childbirth practice, an issue that affects every individual. It uses art to consider the social, political and cultural implications of birth.

The collection currently comprises of photography, sculpture, painting, wallpaper, drawing, new media, artist and documentary film. It has been shown at the Glasgow Science Centre, The Manchester Museum, the Royal Exchange Theatre, and, in part, at The Whitworth Gallery, Manchester and the Royal College of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians in London. It is currently housed in the School of Midwifery, Nursing, and Social Care at the University of Salford.

The Birth Rites Collection is looking for new or existing artwork, in any medium, which deals with the subject of childbirth. This is an opportunity for your work to become a permanent part of the Birth Rites Collection. Your work will be featured as a constant on the Birth Rites website, will tour with the collection where it will be shown in future exhibitions, be available for loan to external shows and will be part of any publications released in line with the collection.

Selection and Prizes

The works submitted will be considered by our judges, Helen Knowles, Birth Rites Curator and Poppy Bowers, curator at the Whitworth Art Gallery. The chosen works will be featured for one month on our website and showcased digitally at an event in September at the Whitworth Art Gallery for one night as part of the Thursday Lates Programme.

At the showcase, one winner of the competition will be announced and their work will become part of the Birth Rites Collection. The prize winner will also be awarded a two-week residency at Birth Rites Collection. This opportunity will be a chance to embed yourself within the Midwifery School to research a new piece of work.

In addition to securing a residency, Birth Rites Collection will provide accommodation and a stipend of £250 and the winning work will be included in the Birth Rites Collection.


Possible issues the art work could explore include: fears and expectations of childbirth; mysticism in the creation of human life; childbirth as social taboo; eroticism and childbearing; the impact of biomedical advances in technology on birth; What is ‘instinctive’ birth in the face of social conditioning; women’s choice, or lack of, in the way they give birth; male attitudes to childbirth; potential dichotomies between woman as mother and worker, or lover, or other roles; attitudes to and/or memories of one’s own birth; cultural and/or geographical differences in birthing; the role of the others/outsiders in a birth, precarity and reproductive labour. These are some ideas from an almost unlimited list.

We are particularly interested in artist films and the digital epoch in relation to childbirth. However, we accept any medium for submission as long as the work can be reproduced digitally as part of a show reel for the screening event.

The deadline for the receipt of submissions is June 25th, 2017, and all submissions will be acknowledged.

Details of Opportunity

• This is an opportunity for your artwork to become a permanent part of the Birth Rites Collection (BRC).

• The work will be featured permanently on the BRC website, will tour with the collection, be available for loan to external shows, will be part of any publications released in line with the collection.

• Copyright for the artwork remains with the artist.

• Birth Rites will own the winning physical artwork and the rights to reproduce images of the work for educational and promotional material; this will include reproducing the work for sale, ie. postcards.

• To the best of our abilities Birth Rites will seek to maintain the artwork.

• For the unlikely event of future resale of the work a contract will be negotiated and drawn up with the artist for the distribution of the profit between the said artist and Birth Rites.


Please complete the submissions form below and email along with good quality JPEG's of the submission to the email address below.

JPEG attachments must not exceed 1MB.


Deadline for submissions: July 15, 2017

For more information please click "Further Official Information" below.

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