The Milky Way – Event 2 August 2023

A breastfeeding-in-paintings game at the National Gallery London

The WAAS have devised a board game with stickers, to be played in the National Gallery, London. Inspired by Tintoretto’s “The Origin of the Milky Way” and our experiences of being artists and parents, we created the game out of a commission to explore inclusion in policy making.


We are inviting members of the public to play The Milky Way on Wednesday 2 August 2023, as part of World Breastfeeding Week (#WBFW2023). Please follow @the_waas on Instagram for the latest updates for this event.

This is a limited edition event which will be first come first served, game boards available until they’re gone! If you would like us to keep one for you please let us know in advance.

Sarah Dixon and Sharon Bennett stand before 'The Milky Way' by Tintoretto at the National Gallery - Photo © Catherine Harder

The Origin of “The Milky Way”

The game emerged from a commission with an AHRC-funded consortium of Manchester Metropolitan University, Social Art Network and Axis for Social Art for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (SAFEDI) in 2021.

In SAFEDI, we explored the National Gallery in London with participants including women in pregnancy, a grandmother, a doula and women with new babies.

We then devised a game-activity for National Gallery visitors to play – with a board, stickers and a map of the paintings featuring breastfeeding around the Gallery. As participants find the paintings, they place a sticker on the board. It takes about an hour.  

We also had participants who have not or are not experiencing reproductive labour who took part in the game. We invited people from a range of social positions, including the Director and some of the Trustees and staff of the National Gallery. 


Participant Quotes

“The work WAAS made at the National Gallery kept me moving between the sticky body, kitsch sugary chocolate and the heavens. The smallness of the stickers, the tactile memory of  stickering was such a long way from the permanence and grandeur of the artworks on show. It gave me a sense of ownership, like I was on a secret mission that was mine and not to be messed with.” 

  • Anna MacDonald, Researcher, SAFEDI Project

Email  if you would like to work with us to create an engaging experience for museum visitors.


Report 2022

The Milky Way report is available as a PDF to download here.

Please email  if you would like to have a conversation about our work.