Visual Work: Maternal Subjectivities, Care and Labour


'Underbelly', by Christine Wilks, is the winner of the 2010/11 MaMSIE Digital Media Competition. It is a moving and complex work of digital fiction, about a woman sculptor who is carving in stone on the site of a former colliery in the north of England. As she carves, she is disturbed by a medley of voices, including her own internal dialogue, an articulation of her innermost fears and desires. As she chips away at the stone, other voices begin to emerge, telling the stories of women who worked underground in the pits, hauling rock in squalid, harsh conditions.


The Digital Media Competition was kindly supported by the Faculty of Humanities, De Montfort University

How to Cite

Pullinger, K., (2011) “Visual Work: Maternal Subjectivities, Care and Labour”, Studies in the Maternal 3(2), 1. doi:


Download HTML







'Underbelly' is a highly original work that makes great use of the multimedia potential provided by computers. It blends text, sound effects, voiceover, archive drawings, and photographs to create a rich meditation on reproductive rights and dilemmas in both twenty-first century, and nineteenth century England.

I first met Christine Wilks when she was a student on a MA in Creative Writing and New Media that I helped run. She began working on 'Underbelly' for her MA thesis, and I've been fascinated to watch the work develop since that time. It was clear then that Christine was creating something extraordinary, an important work in the newly emerging field of digital fiction, one that shines a light on a little known part of the history of the mining industry, while illuminating a contemporary story of a woman artist at the same time.

View the work in your web browser; make sure you have your sound turned on. Use your mouse to navigate the piece, click to reveal more layers of story; clicking on the crawling woman will give you access to the next level of the story. Give the piece fifteen minutes of your time – you'll be hooked!

Kate Pullinger



Kate Pullinger



Publication details



All rights reserved


Peer Review

This article has been peer reviewed.

File Checksums (MD5)

  • HTML: 7d4a276a7ca3255c690df5136f9b23e4