Primary Artistic Medium: Literary Arts
I would like to interview parents and professional caregivers in Philadelphia about their experiences raising children during and preceding the pandemic. The interviews will then be used to create a writing program for this same group. The writing program will turn the themes that come up in the interviews into writing prompts for future participants.
I am interested in this demographic because of its increasing invisibility. Because of the strain of the pandemic this normally unsupported group is becoming more so. The demands of caring for children during quarantine and unemployment or remote work are greater than ever before.
Despite the difficulty, there has always been something beautiful and provocative about caring for children. I have worked in pre-schools, a pediatric hospital and as a nanny because I loved the work. I want to capture the transcendence alongside the unmanageability.
I will do a mix of one-on-one interviews and story circles on zoom in order to accommodate the schedules of this overscheduled group.
I will pay the participants for their time. This is important to me because historically this group of people has not been paid for raising children. I am frequently enraged and shocked by how hard the work is yet how undervalued it continues to be.
This project has three phases: interviews, writing program and workbook.
Over a three month period I will interview mothers, fathers, parents, preschool teachers and nannies about their experiences caring for children before the pandemic and during. From these interviews I will identify several themes to focus on.
From the themes I will create a writing program. The writing program will have prompts and exercises that can easily be done at home by anyone in short amounts of time. It will be written with the specific limitations of the pandemic parenting experience in mind. I will trial this program through zoom groups.
The final product will be a workbook that can be used by early childhood educators and anyone working with children to develop a personal, reflective writing process alongside child rearing. It will combine excerpts of interviews as well as writing prompts and tips.