Multiplicities of Motherhood

Incorporating Public Engagement Strategies into an Academic Research Project Through Artistic Methods


Role: Artistic Researcher while pursuing a Master in Fine Arts at HDK-Valand, Gothenburg University

Timeline:  52 weeks

Tools used: Miro/Adobe Photoshop/Discord/Trello

Date: ongoing till 31 May 2024


My journey into the ‘Unveiling Embodied Multiplicities of Mothering’ project started with my passion for feminism before even entering the master’s program. In my first year, I dug into gender discrimination policies, tying them back to my identity as an artist. The second year took a turn toward exploring how artists, particularly those labeled as the ‘other,’ like mothers, could expand their roles.


How can autothery can be used as an artistic method to unveil through different publicness strategies the embodied multiplicities of mothering?


Create an immersive experience for the users/public aiming to spark conversations around societal oversights, hidden vulnerabilities, and the unspoken burdens mothers carry

Understanding the problem

Before initiating the artistic processes, a conceptual framework for the motherhood research was established, drawing inspiration from autotheory and the exploration of diverse maternal experiences, as well as from theoretical and artistic sources. This framework was crafted without direct input from the target audience. To refine and validate the conceptual framework, a series of workshops and interviews were conducted with individuals, encompassing various mothering experiences. The research aimed at:

  1. Understanding the nuanced goals and needs of individuals within the diverse spectrum of motherhood.
  2. Uncovering pain points and challenges embedded in the existing societal perceptions and expectations surrounding motherhood.
  3. Determining the success of the research in capturing the multiplicity of motherhood experiences and its resonance with participants, measured through their insights and reactions, through artistic practices

Gathering insights

To expand on my thought process, I utilized the crazy 8 exercises to extract the nascent ideas that had been forming in my head since the research phase.

I also I relied on a data-driven approach known as the severity framework to inform my process. After collecting the documentation from the interviews, I conducted concept mapping with my teammates to synthesize the pains identified. We grouped these problems under common themes and features, to determine what artistic approach is more suited.

Narrowing down

The gathered data and conducted research highlighted that within the realm of mothering roles, numerous layers remain overlooked due to prevailing societal norms and gender policies. In response, the role of the artist becomes pivotal in initiating conversations and debates on these overlooked issues. By presenting them to the public in diverse ways, the artist aims to encompass the richness and diversity inherent in these maternal experiences. 

To accomplish this, an immersive experience was the solution—one that engages multiple senses:

  1. Visual Observations: Users can immerse themselves in a visual montage portraying diverse narratives of motherhood, allowing them to resonate with one or more stories.
  2. Auditory Layer: The auditory element complements the visual montage, adding a cohesive dimension to the experience. 
  3. Sensory Engagement: Users experience a palpable feeling of inadequacy, a notion that is often articulated in interviews and represented by stepping carefully on eggshells.


I proceeded to create a low fidelity wireframe as the next phase in my process. 

I experimented digitally with different visual montage concepts for the exhibitory part and decided that a ten meter long canvas would create an immersive space with sufficient visual stories that one would resonate with.

I experimented with a few different audio styles  and adjusted the length before deciding on a more polished version that I utilized to create the entire art music album. 

The first version of lo-fi wireframes allowed me to run early tests and discover the priority revisions that needed to be implemented before I started building the high-fidelity prototypes. The version below includes the revisions made, such as using videos to accompany the audio spoken words, having them in a physical form, not just digital, and hosting them on different streaming platforms for a wider reach and a diverse audience.


art music album

Validating the design

To expand on the research, the tests will be carried out with the public at Bergsjön Culturhouse, during a ten-day event where we will invite the users, the audience, to immerse themselves in the experiences and collect data from their interactions. The events will start on April 25th, 2024.

Impact documentation

A vital element of the research is documenting and evaluating the impact it has on the users, if it achieved it goals and if it produces other outcomes that were unforseen at the designing period. 

Have any questions about this project?
I would love to talk more about it with you!