EXPECTING SOMETHING

A POLYGLOT THEATRE PROJECT

  • DIRECTOR: Jessica Wilson
  • PROJECT MANAGER: Lis Blake
  • SOUND ARTISTS: Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humpreys
  • VISUAL ARTIST: Jordan Crugnale
  • PROJECT ASSISTANTS: Claire Van der Velden and Shaun Gardner
  • PARTICIPANTS: Pegnant women under 25 and young mothers of young children. 

Expecting Something? was a Polyglot produced creative program for young mothers, and mothers-to-be in the Latrobe Valley region. Across a two year project, we have developed a close relationship with a number of women, as well as important knowledge about how to work with this challenging target group. Using visual art as the foundation of a set of weekly workshops, the women created objects for their babies, discussed pithy matters and recorded aspects of their pregnancy.

The fascinating process has been documented in an enormous log of recorded conversation, full-scale visual outlines of the women’s changing bodies, photography and, most importantly, a very actively used facebook page. Small communities were been developed around the project and we hope the women have strengthened their parenting as an outcome of conversations and reflection that may not have happened otherwise.

One of the projects’ most innovative initiatives is ‘the gift process’. Recognising that women who are most at risk will never attend a workshop process, for a myriad of reasons, the artists have designed a small craft pack that is ‘gifted’ to women registering their pregnancy at the Latrobe Regional Hospital. Once assembled, they are asked to photograph it and message it to the project phone, with the incentive of receiving another gift. The gift process starts in early 2013 so we are excited to see if we can develop some conversations with women using their phones as the portal to communication.

At the conclusion of the project in late 2013, an artwork was created which made a real mark on the landscape of Morwell. Tiny baby footprints gathered from hundreds of babies in workshops were pasted up across the town. Using a map parents and families could find their child's print.  Recordings of women interacting with their babies were played in public spaces through solar powered sound boxes, and an exhibition was mounted at the Latrobe Regional Gallery in conjunction with a special season of Polyglot's How High the Sky.