The Baby Makers: Making History 2024

Photograph of people including toddler in a cot at Stroud's Bisley Road workhouse. From Museum in the Park Collection
Photograph of people including toddler in a cot at Stroud’s Bisley Road workhouse. From Museum in the Park Collection

The Women’s Art Activation System (WAAS) is excited to announce their new project The Baby Makers: Making History

Working in partnership with Museum in the Park, Stroud, the project is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.  

The Baby Makers: Making History sets out to establish reproductive and birth histories in the Museum collection as a little-recorded but important part of our collective heritage. 

Working with key partners Stroud Against Racism, and Stroud Local History Societies, we will uncover diverse memories and experiences to do with the maternity services, fostering and adoption, and birth-related stories across the District.

Collaborating with Stroud Against Racism we will explore Black histories of birth and maternity, culminating in displays as part of Black History Month events at the Museum in the autumn.    

Another focus is on stories from before the 1980’s and going back as far as memory will allow. Working with Stroud Local History Societies we will explore what giving birth was like in Stroud over the decades and how practices and meanings have changed over time.

Thanks to National Lottery players we are now able to collect new material for the Museum in the Park archives.

We will be making a film and artwork to showcase the histories, featuring as part of Black History Month at the Museum in October-December, and with a project celebration event in November also at the Museum.

CALL OUT: PARTICIPANTS

As part of the Birth Histories project “The Baby Makers: Making History” we are looking for participants to be part of two workshops:

Wednesday 7 July 11am-1pm – Pre-1980’s stories

Supported by Stroud Local History Society, and open to all who have a story from the 1980s or before

Sunday 10 July 11am-1pm – Black History – Birth and maternity in Stroud

Supported by Stroud Against Racism and open to all who have a recent or older story to share, about Black history and histories of childbirth and reproduction, involving Black folks and people of colour, of any heritage.

Both events will be in the Collector’s room at Stroud’s Museum in the Park.

You can let us know you want to attend, or just turn up on the day.

At the events we will show some pieces from the Museum collections, to start conversation, and we will offer you materials and prompts for writing, doodling, collage and other ways to express yourself. We will with your permission, record audio and video material for the project. This is not compulsory and your written consent will be needed on the day for us to include your voice or image.

Participants may have given birth themselves, have witnessed birthing practices, you could be a midwife or former midwife, mother, parent, healthcare professional, you could be an adoptive mother, you might have connections to one of the orphanages in Stroud, you might have been born in Stroud and moved elsewhere, you may have a story about the maternity unit or home birthing. We are gender-inclusive – trans, queer and non-binary and all non-conforming histories are most welcome. We will endeavour to meet your access needs too. If you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to contact us to ask.

Let’s get some missing histories into the Museum collection and change the future for the public visitors and researchers.

CALL OUT: VIDEOGRAPHER

We are also looking for a videographer to record at the workshops and other events as part of creating our film output for the project. Do you or someone you know have the skills and sensitivity to get involved? Let us know!

Read the full Videographer briefing here