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Manifesto for Maternal Performance (Art) 2016!

pays tribute to Mierle Laderman Ukeles’ Manifesto for Maintenance Art 1969!. It follows Ukeles’ two-part structure: ‘Idea’ and ‘The Maintenance Art Exhibition:

“Care”’ become ‘Ideas’ and ‘Maternal Performance Journal’. The Manifesto embraces the messiness and daily action of the maternal and strives to nurture an understanding of daily maternal practice. 'Maternal time' takes precedence over ‘maternal topics’: things to do with temporality and dead time, and wasted time, and interruptions, and illness, and duration, and endurance and the impossibility of doing it, ever finishing it completely. The desire for development and progress is rejected. The Manifesto was written in 40 days to mirror the 40-week gestation period during which a human mother carries her child. The Manifesto was born of practice, co-writing alongside mothering, the authors in relation to one another,separated over geographic and temporal space, but constantly in response to, and developed and supported by, the absent other.

Manifesto for Maternal Performance (Art) 2016! was first presented in Zagreb, Croatia for ‘Bringing Up the

Future’ exhibition and conference at SC Gallery, University of Zagreb in February 2017. Its publication is forthcoming in the special issue of Performance Research journal ‘On the Maternal’ in August 2017.


Oxytocin festival will see its first performance in the UK.



Lena Šimić is Senior Lecturer in Drama at Edge Hill University. Originally from Dubrovnik, Croatia, Lena identifies herself as a mother of four boys, transnational performance practitioner, pedagogue and scholar. A co-organizer of the Institute for the Art and Practice of Dissent at Home, an art activist initiative in her family home in Liverpool, UK. Lena has presented her arts practice and research in a variety of academic journals (Performance Research, Contemporary Theatre Review, n.paradoxa, RiDE, Feminist Review, Studies in the Maternal) and in various arts venues and festivals in the UK and internationally.


Emily Underwood-Lee is a Research Fellow at the George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling at the University of South Wales. Her work spans performance practice and more traditional academic research. She is interested in the gendered body as it is represented in performance with a particular focus on the performance of autobiographical stories by women practitioners in the contexts of illness, health and motherhood. Emily's interest in the maternal developed from her own experience of mothering daughters. She has shared her work in a variety of contexts including academic journals, hospitals and arts venues.

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