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The Maternal Body

The Maternal Body.jpg


One year research project

Promoters: Anne-Lise Brevers and Edith Cassiers

A mother’s body gradually forms over time. One might argue that it starts moulding from the moment we are born. Pregnancy, childbirth and the act of mothering are intertwined with wider societal conditions that are founded upon rooted norms and expectations. Being caught in between the visible and invisible, mothers, and therefore mothering, are frequently overlooked and thus remain in this vast gap. There are many artists, institutions and festivals that celebrate pregnancy and birth, yet it is crucial to note how the maternal body is rarely presented as a reproductive subject within the discourse. Usually, it remains within numerous metaphors of creativity and change, abandoning the source and maternal origin.

In addition, the bodily experiences of the maternal transition disrupt familiar understandings of embodiment. Through tracing the movement of transformation, the concept of the individual becomes suspicious. This research is an ongoing enquiry concerning the maternal body and the political position it raises. Where does the performance of the mother-self lie? How does one relate to the maternal self whilst generating other embodied selves? Out of a necessity to reclaim space within this personal venture, this project proposes a new angle to unfold the sociopolitical impact on the maternal body and reimagine the understanding of (maternal) embodiment.       



Libby Ward.jpg

Libby Ward is a dancer, researcher and teacher based between Belgium and the UK. After completing a BA in Dance at the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp (RCA), she worked as a freelancer in the contemporary dance and theatre field for several years. After the pandemic she returned to RCA to attain a Master in Dance, for which she created and performed her own work ‘Split Mountain – Thoughts on being more than one’. This project was awarded the PlayRight+ Prize and later on the piece’s performative writing was published in the first issue of Mutter Magazine.


Libby has worked with various companies and choreographers including Anastassya Savitsky, Romeo Castellucci, Damien Jalet and Moonstein amongst others. Alongside her performance experience, Libby has regularly taught for a variety of courses and organisations. Since 2021, she teaches the Bachelor Dance and the Educational Master Dance students.

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