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Creative arts project tackles health staff's baby blues and bliss

Professor Susan Hogan "Our Birth Project will give them the chance to work with artists to safely explore positive and negative feelings through the arts." Susan Hogan, Project Director and Professor in Cultural Studies and Art Therapy, University of Derby

Date posted: 14 November 2014

Health professionals involved in pregnancy and birth are invited to take part in a research project at the University of Derby, to see if the arts can help them better express feelings about their work - good or bad.

The miracle of childbirth can be intensely stressful for parents and for the midwives, doulas, obstetricians, obstetric nurses and maternity support workers looking after mother and baby.

University researchers running 'The Birth Project' will hold a series of free workshops to help parents and health professionals express their feelings about the experience through artistic mediums such writing, photography, painting and sculpture. The project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Research Council UK.

Following 'taster' creative sessions for both parents and health staff earlier this year, the University is now staging a series of free workshops for health professionals in Derby. These will be held on Friday mornings from 10am to 12noon, from Friday November 21 until January 30 next year. Similar workshops are planned for parents.

Health professionals wishing to attend the creative workshops should send their contact details - name, telephone number and email address - to University project researcher Dr Paula McCloskey at: P.Mccloskey@derby.ac.uk

Project Director Susan Hogan, Professor in Cultural Studies and Art Therapy at the University of Derby, said: "The stresses and negative feelings caused by involvement in childbirth can be hard for people to admit to and express, particularly for health staff expected to shrug off bad experiences because they are professionals.

"Our Birth Project will give them the chance to work with artists to safely explore positive and negative feelings through the arts. They will also get to talk about the meaning behind the artworks they've produced with others facing similar issues."

It is hoped the project, the artworks from which will later be exhibited and filmed, will help inform a wider discussion about how pregnancy services and their health staff are managed.

More information about The Birth Project can be found: http://www.derby.ac.uk/health-and-social-care/research/centres-groups/birth-project/

For more information on the College of Health and Social Care at the University of Derby see website www.derby.ac.uk/health-and-social-care

Media wanting further information on this news release should contact Jenny McNicholas, University of Derby PR Officer, on 01332 592279 or email: J.McNicholas@derby.ac.uk