The Artist Parent Index collects and organizes information related to the visual art discourse around reproduction and parenting* in a searchable, online database. The site serves as a research tool for students, artists, educators, curators, and the general public. As a perpetually growing database, the project includes any artist of any gender whose work fits the topical parameters** and gives approval for the creation of an entry about their work.
*See below under “Our Language, Our Scope” to learn more about our use of this term
**See below under “Participation” to learn more about our parameters for inclusion
The Index only includes artists who have given the project permission to create an entry about their work. We accept ongoing submissions, and any visual artist who makes work about the relevant topics is encouraged to submit their information.
We accept all artists making work about reproduction and child-rearing related to an open-ended number of possible topics such as: economic structures, medical care, political systems, environmental conditions, child rearing, sexuality, race, education, housing, and gender. We welcome artwork that tackles reproductive choices to not have children, adoption, infertility, and more.
The Artist Parent Index catalogs artists making work about their experience with reproduction and child-rearing
The Artist Parent Organization Index archives organizations providing resources, platforms and services for artists who are parents
The Exhibition Archive features exhibitions exploring concepts of reproduction and child-rearing
Resource Library is a collection of publications covering topics of reproductive art and theory.
How to Use
- Search by topic or keyword, medium, name, and more
- Browse the randomly generated entries on our home page
- Search by geolocation using our interactive map
- Explore linked entries by clicking on an entry’s medium, location, topics, or tags to populate a list of related entries
- Search by entry type (artist, exhibition, publication, organization)
As a repository for knowledge about the variety of artistic, conceptual, and curatorial practices pursuing these topics, the Index provides a platform for subject matter that has been historically marginalized within the art historical canon. By connecting users directly to artists on the site and providing research support for exhibits and publications, the project hopes to increase the understanding and visibility of the variety of subjective experiences around reproduction and raising children. As a research tool for artists and curators, the project aims to be a catalyst for new work in this field.
The Index hopes to cultivate agency, exist accessibly, and undertake regular self-reflexive critique while researching and pursuing possible routes to featuring more voices. We intend to foster transparency as well as multeity. The Index maintains a permanent practice of moving toward differing, as the discourse and the experiences of those involved are not static -- and never will be.
Our Language, Our Scope
The word “parent” in the project’s title is used not as a neutral term but as an all-encompassing one describing a space open to cisgender, nonbinary, intersex, and transgender artists. The project did not begin solely as an effort to highlight mothers, but rather as an effort to steer away from gendered identity toward actions as the central categorizational tool for structuring knowledge about reproduction. The Index preserves space for expressions of gender, but decentralizes its role in parenting by starting with an organizing filter of the activities of reproduction and child-rearing. This produces a body of information assembled around the acknowledgement that a plurality of individuals are performing the actions that many place firmly and hermetically into the identity of “mother” while those who do call themselves mothers are not a homogenous group.
The details about each artist or project are listed in an entry that functions very similarly to a digital library card catalog, with entries including descriptive search terms created by the artists themselves. This structure tracks which artists adopt the label of mother, father, or any number of open-ended, nonbinary labels. The Index therefore provides a way to observe the unfolding of language as artists develop new terms to describe the nuances and particularities of their individual experiences -- including those that occur beyond or between the lines of strictly binary thinking. Because of this, the Index creates space for articulations of differing (which is to say, a process of difference in action that does not depend on binaries) within the personal experiences of reproductive choices and outcomes.
How to Submit
To submit an artist, organization, or exhibit to be included on the site visit our Submission Page or email the information to email@example.com. We look forward to your suggestions and feedback!
Who We Are
Sarah Irvin - Founder
Sarah Dolan - Contributing Researcher
Emily Zarse - Graduate Research Assistant
Want to learn more about the Index and how it was founded? Read this Q & A with Spilt Milk or for a deep dive into its history and how it functions read this journal article published with the Journal of Mother Studies.