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Elisa Heikkila is 1 of 4 artists awarded an Action Reserach Bursary through the Yorkshire Artspace Engaged Practice Starter Studio Programme. She is developing ideas and work in response to the Parson Cross neighbourhood during 2013;
My project is looking into the real experiences of new moms - the good and the bad. In order to discover what these experiences are I've met with a few new moms in Parson Cross who have already generously shared their experiences with me. I've been developing tools for engaging with people around the subject of parenting, as well as developing my own practice, moving into more two-dimensional media, which remains quite new to me.
The process so far has been challenging as I initaily found my project difficult to translate - this has mainly been a descriptiive issue. But the challenges have been good and have pushed me to new directions with the project. The process has also made me think about various elements I would not necessarily have thought about, if I'd just been working alone. I've met lots of wonderful people who have been generous and supportive towards our work in the area, which is great.
I've discovered the generosity Parson Cross offers to strangers, I've learned to meditate (though not well yet) and discovered stream-of-consciousness art-making. I've learned to define my own practice better, and to trust my instincts. The project has pushed me to work in ways that I normally would not, which has also developed a great curiosity within me towards infinite possibilities.
At the moment I'm in the process of setting up a workshop and discussion space for new parents from the area to meet and chat about parenthood while engaging in making a mobile for their children's nurseries. I hope this will be a space for open discussion, sharing experiences and meeting new people. For my part it will be a vast learning experience to get to hear from those who have recently become parents, the learning from which will transfer to my personal practice.