The Still Born project is an art and poetry project initiated by artist Adinda van ’t Klooster in 2017. Her first daughter Elvira was stillborn in 2010 in week 41.5 of what appeared to be an uncomplicated pregnancy. The stillbirth could have been prevented with more routine scans in the later part of pregnancy, an injustice that motivates her to date to help break the taboo on stillbirth, which prevents more funding from being allocated to pregnancy care to avoid similar preventable stillbirths from recurring year after year.
The Still Born body of artworks consist of porcelain sculptures, drawings, rapid prototyped sculptures and mixed media works made between 2010 and 2017, and an online participatory artwork Each Egg a World, commissioned in 2020. This online artwork allows over 40,000 people to share a short statement about their personal experience of stillbirth with the wider world. Hopefully this will help people less familiar with stillbirth to get a sense of the personal impact of stillbirth on someone’s life. Images of the artworks can be found here
The Still Born book, first published in 2018 and re-editioned in 2020 combines a personal selection of the Still Born artworks alongside responses by eight poets, a text by stillbirth specialist and obstetrician Alexander Heazell of Tommy’s Stillbirth Research Centre at the University of Manchester and the artist’s own narrative. The book aims to lift some of the taboos on this delicate subject matter, speaking through art and poetry about the emotions that arise in the days, months and years that follow a stillbirth.
Parts of the Still Born body of work were previously shown at IFPA2017 at Manchester Central in 2017 and at Northern Print in 2018. A tour of all the combined works is starting in the summer of 2020 at the Idea Store Whitechapel in London and ends in Newcastle upon Tyne in Spring 2021. Details of the tour and workshops part of this can be found here.
The Still Born project has been made possible through funding from the Arts Council England (in 2017 and 2020), crowdfunding and from the Wellcome trust through a Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Fund award administered by the University of Manchester and from GX project with a grant funded by the ERDF. Further support has been received by Northern Print, the Alnmouth Arts Festival Committee, New Writing North, Newcastle City Library, the Idea Store Whitechapel, Digitalab and the National Institute for Health Research.