Today in our Inspiring Stories category, we are delighted to feature the wonderful work of Laura Godfrey-Isaacs from the United Kingdom.
She is an artist, midwife and birth activist.
Laura also kindly supports IFWIP initiative as a member of our Board of Advisers (BOA).
This is a brief summary of her inspirational journey:
Laura spent over twenty years in the arts, training in visual arts, working as a feminist academic and educator in gallery & museum education, and as a creative producer founding the radical live art and performance company, Home Live Art
In 2016 she graduated as a midwife from King’s College London and works as a community midwife at King’s College Hospital, London.
Laura aspires to bring her knowledge and experience in the arts, together with midwifery, to bring fresh interdisciplinary perspectives to inform education, practice, and research.
She regularly presents at conferences and writes for midwifery publications, including the regular blog ‘Birth, Art & Culture’ on all4maternity website.
In 2017 she initiated two projects, Maternal Journal and Creative Birth that specifically explore holistic antenatal programmes using art, midwifery and movement practices to promote positive wellbeing and support for pregnant women and new mothers.
Maternal Journal – is an interdisciplinary collaborative project that explores the therapeutic potential of journaling as a way to promote wellbeing and positive mental health for pregnant women and new mothers, who have a history of mild to moderate depression and/or anxiety.
Maternal Journal, is a collaboration with King’s College London’s (UK) Department of Psychological Medicine (brokered by the Cultural Institute at King’s) led by Carmine Pariante, Professor of Biological Psychiatry and Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist at the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust.
Midwifery advisor to the project is Debra Bick, Professor of Evidence Based Midwifery at the Department of Women’s Health.
The project was also supported by Ovalhouse & The Royal College of Art.
The project involved a series of workshops, facilitated by Laura and Carmine, that included creative activities introduced by visual and craft artists, poets, cartoonists, and writers.
At each workshop, one of the artists devised creative exercises, using different writing and visual arts techniques that supported participants to create the journal as an expansive, therapeutic, creative aspect of their care through pregnancy.
In addition, the sessions involved participants sharing work they had made in between the meetings, and any experiences or concerns they had, therefore building in psychosocial support for participants and cohesion within the group.
This led to a strong practice of sharing and support within the group, with participants feeling safe enough to reveal and explore thoughts, feelings, and experiences openly.
Discussions at the workshops ranged from personal accounts of physical, psychological and emotional struggles with pregnancy and mothering to social, political and cultural issues referenced through media, art, and medical frameworks.
Work from the project will also be presented at the Arts in Mind Festival, run by the King’s Cultural Institute and the Institute of Psychiatry at the Denmark Hill site, June 4th – 10th.
There would be a special panel discussion event on 6th June, 6 pm – 8 pm with artists, academics and participants from the project.
Further information about the event could be found here.
Please find further information about the Maternal Journal below:
1. Films documenting the project which can be accessed online here:
2. The Facebook page has information here.
3. Please find further information about the project on the King’s Cultural Institute page here
Creative Birth – is a holistic and interdisciplinary antenatal programme based on a collaborative framework that includes evidence-based midwifery support, yoga, movement and meditation techniques, and arts-based activities.
Creative Birth is a unique programme that builds on the combined positive aspects of antenatal education, complementary therapies, and the arts, that can affect experiences such as birth outcomes, mental health & wellbeing, and social connectedness.
The Creative Birth programme consists of four workshops, of three hours each. Each workshop has a theme, titled – Body, Birth, Milk & Mother. Sessions cover support for pregnancy-related issues, preparation for birth, breastfeeding, and the transition into motherhood.
More information on the Creative Birth Programme Facebook page
Laura could be contacted by: