Tomorrow’s Child Art & Science Exhibition in Parliament
I am very excited to finally share with you all about this amazing project I’ve been co-creating these last seven months!
I was invited, in November 2015, to be part of an exclusive committee to organise AND participate in, an Art & Science Exhibition to take place in the Houses of Parliament later on this month (27th June) in order to reflect on themes put forward in the 1001 Critical Days cross party manifesto.
I am looking forward to sharing my journey as it unfolds over the next few weeks as we build up to its grand opening. It is such a privilege and an honour to be shaping an exhibition that is not only going to influence positive change but enable a groundbreaking synergy of the most important ingredients of life; art and science.
This is what the project is all about…
The Tomorrow’s Child exhibition, as part of Infant Mental Health week (6-10 June 2016), is an exciting and innovative collaboration between scientists and artists opening in the UK Houses of Parliament, Westminster, for the first time. The exhibition objective is to raise a greater awareness of the importance of social and emotional wellbeing for babies by bringing together the art and the science of pregnancy and the first two years of life.
*’The exhibition is inspired by the 1001 Critical Days Manifesto and sponsored by previous Children’s Minister Tim Loughton MP. This ground-breaking exhibition showcases collaborations between nationally recognised artists and scientists, as well as experts by lived experience.
The pieces displayed will describe the partnership between a scientist and an artist whose dialogue has informed each other’s pieces. This creative exploration will produce two products; a scientific paper and work of art – which will come together as one collaborative piece. It will then be put on public display in the Palace of Westminster and cover different aspects of this crucial period of child development between pregnancy and age two.
Both artists and scientists have come together to bring to the attention of politicians the vital importance of this crucial period. Pregnancy, birth and the first 24 months can be tough for every mother and father. Some parents will face more challenges than others, whether that be because of mental health difficulties, domestic abuse, substance misuse or past trauma, and this can make it harder to provide the care and attention babies need.
Insecure attachment is a lifelong risk factor for problems with learning, relationships, later parenting and career choices, as well as for issues with emotional and mental well-being. The most serious form of insecure attachment, known as ‘disorganised’, constitutes a threat to all domains of development and social engagement. A lot of the more complex and severe contemporary societal problems associated with homelessness, domestic violence, child abuse and drug and alcohol addiction, are symptoms of a stressful and traumatic early childhood. But this time period can also be a chance to affect great change.
Around the world, advances in neuroscience have generated fresh policy initiatives in this area and the more we understand about the key relationships we form at this decisive period, and the impact it can have on the brains development, the more national governments and civil societies seek new methods of intervention to exploit this window of opportunity and break the cycle of deprivation to create a more just and equal society. The 1001 critical days manifesto calls for a joined-up, well-funded, evidence-based preventative strategy across the NHS, health visitors, children’s centres and other public bodies. The 1001 critical days manifesto, supported by members of Parliament from across eight different political parties, is a key policy commitment to achieving better perinatal mental health and stronger attachment between babies and their parents’ right from the start.
This powerful, provocative and poignant exhibition will be a milestone in the development of policy and understanding. Twenty years ago, there was barely a whisper on the political landscape about this period of child development. Fast-forward to today and you will find vibrant debates, ricocheting around Westminster’s hallowed ‘corridors of power’. This artistic and scientific account is a culmination of what will be an explosive and evocative exhibition’.
I have been paired with scientist Professor Vivette Glover who has been working for the past 30 years (in particular) on the effects of maternal stress during pregnancy on the neurodevelopment of the foetus. I will be exhibiting my glass sculpture called ‘Life before Birth’ which is a reflection of these and similar themes.
Exhibition dates: 27th June until 1st July.
Unfortunately the exhibition is not open to the public but there will be a ‘virtual tour’ of the exhibition on the website
For more informations please visit the website at: Tomorrows Child Exhibition
Alex Florschutz: My Website
Clair Rees PIP UK: PIP UK
Professor Vivette Glover: Begin Before Birth
*Co written with committee member Breon Finch.