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Reading: A cartography of maternity, subjectivity and art-encounters


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Maternal Encounters, Maternal Affect

A cartography of maternity, subjectivity and art-encounters


Paula McCloskey

About Paula
Paula McCloskey is a mother of two, currently on maternity leave from working on a PhD at the University of Sheffield. As a qualified social worker, she has previously worked in family therapy services before going on to develop her interest in maternity and art, which forms the basis of her current work. Stemming from her personal experience, Paula’s current research is transdisciplinary, using different practices to explore maternity, subjectivity, art and encounters, including filmed interviews, textual analysis, reflexive writing, autoethnography and drawing.
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This text introduces a research project in motion. The area is maternity, subjectivity and art encounters. The text gives a sense of this research, presenting both the process of thinking within and about the work, showing it to be a living inquiry. The research itself is located in my disrupted maternal-self and an encounter with the oeuvre of Louise Bourgeois; an encounter that had a transformative impact on me by creating a space to contemplate my experiences and beyond to explore maternity, subjectivity and art encounters. This text gives a sense of the origins of this work before starting to consider how the research developed to transcend the bounds of my experience. It shows how the concepts of maternity, experience, subjectivity, encounter and art have been put to work in interaction with objects (and makes the links from this activity to the work of Mieke Bal). The objects are separated into both existing and generated objects, including written texts (writing my story or reflective writing, and existent texts/literature), art objects, my note/sketch books, interview transcripts and filmed interviews. The concepts and objects are used to develop a dialogue – with each other, the reader, the viewer and me, in order to create the space or the conditions where thinking and ideas about these objects and concepts can emerge. This text considers how the research uses different practices and tools to facilitate the interaction between concepts and objects, plus continuous analysis and reflexivity, with the aim of producing new ideas and understandings of maternity, subjectivity and art encounters.
How to Cite: McCloskey, P., 2010. A cartography of maternity, subjectivity and art-encounters. Studies in the Maternal, 2(1), pp.1–13. DOI:
Published on 01 Jan 2010.
Peer Reviewed


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