The Milky Way

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

In August 2021, The WAAS were commissioned by an AHRC funded consortium of Manchester Metropolitan University, Social Art Network and Axis for Social Art for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (SAFEDI).

For our research 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

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Report 2022

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

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