Birth Rites Collection

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Biennial Competition for New Works - Winner Lauren McLaughlin 2018

After winning the Birth Rites Collection Award for new work in 2018 with her neon ‘A Conflict of Interests’, Lauren McLaughlin completed a residency at the Department of Midwifery, Kings College in 2018/19.


Lauren’s residency project titled With Woman / Women’s Work was funded by Creative Scotland, The Hope Scott Trust, King’s College Cultural Institute and supported by The Department of Midwifery and the Birth Rites Collection.


Lauren’s residency took the form of two week-long visits to the department in November and February where she spent time engaging with the collection and the department, sitting in on lectures and shadowing students and staff. Inspired by the strong reactions to some of the works in the Birth Rites Collection, her aim was to explore representations of the birthing body and create new neon works. Having spent time within the department engaging with student midwives and staff, Lauren’s developing research began to focus as much on highlighting the unsung labour of midwifery care as it did in highlighting the birthing body.


“I had initially approached my residency from the point of view of the birthing woman, with my only experience of childbirth and midwifery being the birth of my son 14 years ago. Having spent time within the department engaging with students and staff, I wanted to produce work which represented the birth experience not only from the perspective of the mother but from that of the midwives. The residency enabled me to take my practice in a new direction, explore new mediums and collaborative ways of working which I would not otherwise have had the opportunity to do. The whole experience has been incredibly positive and having the opportunity to engage with the works in the BRC was really inspiring for my developing research and practice. The ongoing support of Helen, Elsa and Penny as well as the students throughout the residency has been invaluable.”



Lauren has produced several new works during her residency which will form an immersive installation comprising sculpture, video projection, performance and neon. Part of the installation will be exhibited on 27th November at Scotland’s Maternity and Midwifery Festival at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh.


During the festival, she will be presenting her completed neon artwork; With Woman, a video work; Gushing as well as a collaborative sculpture; a hand painted medical screen with crowd sourced words from mothers describing their childbirth experience. She will be asking midwives at the event to contribute their words/stories which will be incorporated onto the screen to complete the work.



For more information on Lauren's work, visit :