“Procreate Project started as an attempt to promote the manifest and many beneficial changes that accompany pregnancy. I wanted to reach and influence the public about an event whose ancillary benefits are largely ignored.

The idea was inspired by my own experience of pregnancy and the shocking reality of lack of support and representation that force women outside of the creative industries.”

When pregnancy happened I was completely taken aback. I was so afraid of losing myself. Professionally, I was exactly where I wanted to be, or I thought I was. Pregnancy is so often looked upon as a career killer. Unsurprisingly, I thought everything I had achieved so far was about to disappear. How could someone who had worked tirelessly 14-hour days, curating and making, suddenly be expected to give all that up in order to become nothing more than “a mom”?!

The Placenta Effect, preparation. Photographic Project 2013

Six weeks pregnant, love brought me to London. Five weeks in I have started feeling an incredible force from within, as he was growing inside of me.

My body underwent enormous changes: my belly grew bigger and as my physical transformation became more apparent, that force inside of me also grew stronger and more physical.

I was being influenced by that wondrous little creature that was generating a creative rush like I had never felt before, inspiring me to become even more driven and persevering.

I struggled to find a community where other female artists could express this creative feeling or, indeed, any medium that talked about the connection between creativity and pregnancy. I wondered whether I was the only one feeling these positive changes? It surprised me that the information readily available on the internet regarding pregnancy mostly deals with all the problems you are likely to face. There was very little that talked of, or celebrated this phenomenon artistically.

So I started advertising online for other female artists who may relate to me and my newfound passion, and it was not long before responses started to pour in.

From pregnancy, the journey expanded and embraced motherhood in its broadests meanings and practicalities.

It became clear that that one of reasons of the disappearance of women from the art scene, and creative industries more in general, was the lack of infrastructures that can encourage the production of new work and consequent professional development in the crucial years surrounding gestation and maternal labour.

In 2013 I had the vision to create a new model of arts organisation that would change the way we make, support and consume art, embracing the reality and needs of many women during one of the most fundamental epochs in people’s private and professional lives. I can say after seven years, with all the gratitude and pride, that Procreate Project has become that place, for many women internationally.

Dyana Gravina, presentation about Mother House Studios and new models of childcare for Impact Hub Birmingham and Creative Scotland delegation team

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