Birth Rites Collection,
Birth Rites Competition Brief 2017
The Birth Rites Collection is the first and only collection of contemporary artwork dedicated
to the subject of childbirth. The aim of the collection is to encourage debate and increase
awareness around childbirth practice, an issue that affects every individual. It uses art to
consider the social, political and cultural implications of birth.
The collection currently comprises of photography, sculpture, painting, wallpaper, drawing,
new media, artist and documentary film. It has been shown at the Glasgow Science Centre,
The Manchester Museum, the Royal Exchange Theatre, and, in part, at The Whitworth
Gallery, Manchester and the Royal College of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians in London. It
is currently housed in the School of Midwifery, Nursing, and Social Care at the University of
The Birth Rites Collection is looking for new or existing artwork, in any medium, which deals
with the subject of childbirth.
This is an opportunity for your work to become a permanent part of the Birth Rites
Collection. Your work will be featured as a constant on the Birth Rites website, will tour with
the collection where it will be shown in future exhibitions, be available for loan to external
shows and will be part of any publications released in line with the collection.
Selection and Prizes
The works submitted will be considered by our judges, Helen Knowles, Birth Rites Curator
and Poppy Bowers, curator at the Whitworth Art Gallery. The chosen works will be featured
for one month on our website and showcased digitally at an event in September at the
Whitworth Art Gallery for one night as part of the Thursday Lates Programme.
At the showcase, one winner of the competition will be announced and their work will
become part of the Birth Rites Collection. The prize winner will also be awarded a two-week
residency at Birth Rites Collection. This opportunity will be a chance to embed yourself
within the Midwifery School to research a new piece of work.
In addition to securing a residency, Birth Rites Collection will provide accommodation and a
stipend of £250 and the winning work will be included in the Birth Rites Collection.
Possible issues the art work could explore include: fears and expectations of childbirth;
mysticism in the creation of human life; childbirth as social taboo; eroticism and
childbearing; the impact of biomedical advances in technology on birth; What is ‘instinctive’
birth in the face of social conditioning; women’s choice, or lack of, in the way they give
birth; male attitudes to childbirth; potential dichotomies between woman as mother and
worker, or lover, or other roles; attitudes to and/or memories of one’s own birth; cultural
and/or geographical differences in birthing; the role of the others/outsiders in a birth,
precarity and reproductive labour. These are some ideas from an almost unlimited list.
Birth Rites Collection,
We are particularly interested in artist films and the digital epoch in relation to childbirth.
However, we accept any medium for submission as long as the work can be reproduced
digitally as part of a show reel for the screening event.
The deadline for the receipt of submissions is June 25
, 2017, and all submissions will be
Details of Opportunity
This is an opportunity for your artwork to become a permanent part of the Birth
Rites Collection (BRC).
The work will be featured permanently on the BRC website, will tour with the
collection, be available for loan to external shows, will be part of any publications released
in line with the collection.
Copyright for the artwork remains with the artist.
Birth Rites will own the winning physical artwork and the rights to reproduce
images of the work for educational and promotional material; this will include reproducing
the work for sale, ie. postcards.
To the best of our abilities Birth Rites will seek to maintain the artwork.
For the unlikely event of future resale of the work a contract will be negotiated and
drawn up with the artist for the distribution of the profit between the said artist and Birth
Artists may submit as many artworks as they like.
One form must be completed for each work submitted.
Entry fee of £10 is payable for each entry.
Payments should be made via PayPal to
The best submitted works will be uploaded on our website for one month.
In addition to this form artists must submit at least one image of the piece digitally
(JPEG only please). This includes a film still for filmmakers.
Additional images to support your submission must be in the form of good quality
JPEGs for 2D or 3D works (around 800 pixels), online (QuickTime) file share for film, and any
easily accessible and relevant combination for installation etc. DO NOT SEND ORIGINALS at
All files submitted should be titled with artist name and name of piece for easy
Artists will be notified by email of their success in the selection process.
Birth Rites Collection,
Artists must fully explain how they envisage the installation of their piece, this can
include an illustration.
If successful, all specialist equipment (for multi-media work) should be provided by
the artist. Email us if you are unsure about your work.
We will enter individual negotiation with the successful artist for
collection/delivery/postage of piece.
Artists must own all the rights to the work they submit, and by signing the
declaration confirm this is so.
Receipt of all submissions will be acknowledged
Please complete the submissions form below and email along with good quality JPEG's of
the submission to the email address below.
JPEG attachments must not exceed 1MB.
Deadline for submissions: June 25