Surge II: art X Assisted Reproduction Technologies (ART)
What does family or family-building mean to you?
UAL’s Post-Grad Community, in collaboration with Wellcome / EPSRC Centre for Interventional and Surgical Sciences (WEISS), have launched SURGE II: a project bringing together scientists, artists, and the public to explore the complexities and application of technology in surgery.
Iris Tsang, MA Fashion Cultures and Histories alumni (London College of Fashion) partnered with researcher and UCL PhD candidate Chloe He in examining the meaning of family, family-building in the context of fertility care with a group of 6 participants with diverse sexual orientation. Chloe researches 3D scans on monitoring early stage embryo development, in order to identify stronger cell bond patterns that indicate higher successful pregnancy rate. Inspired by Chloe’s research, Iris focuses on the early memories and moments that motivate or impact the participants' views on family building.One in five heterosexual couple experience infertility (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022). The proportion affected is much higher in the LGBTQ+ population. Studies have noted that LGBTQ+ individuals are among the fastest growing users of fertility care. However, there are significantly fewer studies in ART focusing on the LGBTQ+ population. Therefore, the systemic barriers faced by sexual and gender minority groups are often overlooked by fertility care providers and research.
The art x ART project aims to explore journeys of family planning of six diverse LGBTQ+ individuals through a textile art-making focus group, and collection of oral histories and lived experiences, in order to unveil personal and collective barriers related to fertility, as well as to de-mythicise and de-stigmatise some aspects of ART. The conversations focused on the meaning of family and family building. All participants were invited to share and reflect on different stages of their path to family building and parenthood while creating a textile art piece that resemble each stage.
The textile art pieces were then combined to create a tapestry with selected keywords and quotes by participants. The language used in this project centres around notions of ‘family’ and ‘family-building’ as opposed to ‘fertility’, given the cis- and heteronormative connotations surrounding the latter term. The textile art pieces reflect the first moments the participants seriously thought about ‘family’ and ‘family building’; their current stage and their projected future.
SURGE II Popup Exhibition
26 Brick Lane, E1 6RF London
5th - 11th December 2022
SURGE Group Exhibition
London College of Communication, Elephant and Castle, London SE1 6SB
9th - 16th January 2023
Learn more about the project here.
More about Wellcome / EPSRC Centre for Interventional and Surgical Sciences (WEISS).