Film by Derby academic exploring women’s experiences of birth through art is shortlisted for prestigious national award

Birth project 504x257 "I am particularly pleased that this shortlisting will help raise awareness of the issues we are exploring in relation to women’s birth experiences." Professor Susan Hogan

Date posted: 29 September 2017

An emotive film showcasing mothers’ exploration of the birth experience through art has been shortlisted for the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s prestigious 2017 Research in Film Awards.

The film, called ‘Mothers Make Contemporary Art’, was produced by Susan Hogan, Professor in Therapeutic Arts at the University of Derby, alongside Sheffield Vision.

The 30–minute film was created during a 12-week programme, which involved eight women aged 25-40 across the East Midlands taking part in group discussions and making art out of everyday domestic objects such as cling film and paper towels.

The women were invited first to experiment with materials and later worked towards an exhibition piece. All of the women were invited to make art on their birth experience, or any aspect of their transition to motherhood.

The workshops were documented to help create a film that could be used for research purposes – and now it has made the shortlist for the Innovation Award.

Professor Susan Hogan, Executive Producer, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be shortlisted for this award. I am particularly pleased that this shortlisting will help raise awareness of the issues we are exploring in relation to women’s birth experiences.

“The project films will be utilised as a learning resource for the training of healthcare professions, such as midwives and medical students, so that the findings can be disseminated widely, across the UK.

“The film has the potential to influence both attitudes and understanding of trainee, and other health professionals not directly involved in the project, and other mothers, fathers and non-parents in the wider public. The power of engagement in arts practice is also powerfully illustrated in this film.”

Launched in 2015, the Research in Film Awards celebrate short films, up to 30 minutes long, that have been made about the arts and humanities and their influence on our lives.

There are five categories in total with four of them aimed at the research community and one open to the public.

Hundreds of films were submitted for the Awards this year and the overall winner for each category, who will receive £2,000 towards their filmmaking, will be announced at a special ceremony at 195 Piccadilly in London, home of BAFTA, on November 9, 2017.

Sheffield Vision filmmaker Eve Wood added:​ ​“I​ ​am​ ​very​ ​excited​ ​about ​this project being​ ​shortlisted.​ ​Having​ ​given birth​ ​myself​ ​in​ ​‘interesting’​ ​circumstances​ ​it​ ​has​ ​been​ ​an​ ​inspiring​ ​project​ ​to​ ​work​ ​on this​ ​innovative​ ​research​ ​led​ ​by​ ​Professor​ ​Susan​ ​Hogan​ ​and​ ​her​ ​team​ ​from​ ​the University​ ​of​ ​Derby.”

A team of judges watched the longlisted films in each of the categories to select the shortlist and winner. Key criteria included looking at how the filmmakers came up with creative ways of telling stories – either factual or fictional – on camera that capture the importance of arts and humanities research to all of our lives.

Judges for the 2017 Research in Film Awards include Richard Davidson-Houston of Channel 4 Television, Lindsay Mackie, Co-founder of Film Club, and Matthew Reisz from Times Higher Education.

The winning films will be shared on the Arts and Humanities Research Council website and YouTube channel.

Mike Collins, Head of Communications at the Arts and Humanities Research Council, added: "The standard of filmmaking in this year's Research in Film Awards has been exceptionally high and the range of themes covered span the whole breadth of arts and humanities subjects.

"While watching the films I was impressed by the careful attention to detail and rich storytelling that the filmmakers had used to engage their audiences. The quality of the shortlisted films further demonstrates the endless potential of using film as a way to communicate and engage people with academic research. Above all, the shortlist showcases the art of filmmaking as a way of helping us to understand the world that we live in today."

To watch ‘Mothers Make Contemporary Art’, visit:

For further press information please contact Kelly Tyler, University of Derby Public Relations Officer, on 01332 591891 or email: