2017-18: Trauma, Resilience and Motherhood


Trauma, Resilience and Motherhood: a Practice-led Experiment in Theatre and Moving Image

daria martin

'Trauma, Motherhood and Resilience'


Knowledge Exchange Fellow:
Professor Daria Martin   |   Ruskin School of Art   |   University of Oxford

Partner Organisation:
Theatre O

Working with trusted collaborators Joseph Alford and Carolina Valdes at Theatre O ('vivid and enlightening, inventive and compelling theatre' - The New York Times), we will develop material for theatre and moving image around themes of mothers and children's resilience during periods of political and social turbulence and personal distress. Two key pieces of existing research will be brought to bear in one academic workshop, three video-documented theatrical workshops and one synthesising artistic workshop: my body of archival research on the personal impact of escape from the Holocaust by my grandmother and her mother; and Theatre O's ethnographic research on Mexican mothers, who, caught in the country's drug war, take on positions as chiefs of police.

My work in moving image will bring a dream-like visual language to Theatre O's work, and Theatre O's mastery of physical theatre will ground my investigations in embodied performance. The large, longer term outcomes will be two evening-long theatre pieces, both titled 'Sheriff' (one for young audiences and one for adults) and a 20 minute long art-film 'Maternal Legacies'.

Key research questions include: How do fantasies and dreams support resilience among mothers and children during times of trauma? How are these fantasies shared between them? How does a mother's role of heroic protector affect the relationship with her child? How might a small child imagine her mother's powers in such a situation, especially when the mother is unable to wholly protect the child, where violence or separation intrudes? In what ways can the media of physical theatre on one hand, and moving image, on the other, process these questions?

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