University of Salford to host unique arts award ceremony and exhibition at MediaCityUK

Friday 6 March 2015

The University of Salford is to host an award ceremony and exhibition of the only collection of contemporary artwork dedicated to the subject of childbirth.

On Friday 13 March the Birth Rites Collection Bi-annual Award and Exhibition will take place at the University’s MediaCityUK campus.  

The Birth Rites Collection comprises photography, sculpture, painting, wallpaper, drawing, new media, documentary and experimental film.

It is shared between the University of Salford Midwifery department and the Royal College of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians in London. The aim of the collection is to encourage debate and increase awareness around childbirth practice. It uses art to consider the social, political and cultural implications of birth.

This year the annual Award and Exhibition has had 111 entries from all over the world.  These entries have been whittled down to a shortlist of 23 by judges Helen Knowles, Birth Rites Curator, and Althea Greenan of Goldsmiths University Women's Art Library, who will also choose the award winner.  The shortlisted artworks and award-winning entry will be showcased at the University of Salford’s MediaCityUK Egg Suite from Friday 13 March for 10 days after the ceremony and this will be open to the public. 

At the event, the winner of the Award will be announced and their work will become part of the Birth Rites Collection.  They will also gain a residency at The Women’s Art Library at Goldsmiths University and a stipend, provided by the Birth Rites Collection. This opportunity will be a chance for the winning artist to make new contacts in the London art scene and to create new work.

Speaking ahead of the event Helen Knowles, said: “We have been inundated with entries for this year’s Birth Rites Collection Award.

The calibre of entry is amongst the highest we’ve ever had and putting the shortlist together was no easy task.  Every artist that has submitted work deserves recognition but unfortunately there can only be one winner. It has been truly overwhelming.

Birth Rites Collection is about inter-departmental learning and collaboration. How the artworks are used and engaged with by the students and midwifery staff is part of the excitement. How the public interpret and understand this work and its relationship to their bodies and birth in general and how it might change practice and give the chance for health professionals to reflect, is really important."

Lead Midwife for Education at the University of Salford, Elaine Uppal, added: “The University is delighted to be able to host this unique and exciting awards ceremony and exhibition.  So many of our staff and students enjoy and appreciate the Collection every day, so to be able to host the exhibition and see the Award winner’s entry added to the collection will be very special for everyone involved with the Midwifery department.”