Story of Mum began as a series of workshops with mums of all ages and all walks of life.
It became an online interactive community - with regular creative prompts to inspire mums to connect and take time for themselves - and expanded into online creative twitter parties and real-life crafty get-togethers where mums could share stories and celebrate their wins.
The website grew beyond our greatest hopes, drawing in mums from all around the world. It gave birth to an amazing participatory motherhood exhibition that took us from the Exchange Gallery in Cornwall, across the UK to the Photographers' Gallery in London, and on to the Museum of Motherhood in New York. An online exhibition tour too - where over 50 bloggers worldwide curated their own versions.And it took me to a pivotal moment when I stood at the front of a room of proud connected hopeful mothers sharing their stories in London, and realised that not only had we made this incredible evening happen - but this was what I wanted to do with my life, alongside my own mother.
I saw the incredible power of a room full of valued passionate powerful mothers, reminding each other of our strengths, despite our fears and our guilt and our shame. We saw each other's beauty and bravery - and together, we were able to shine a light on that for everyone else.
And I wanted to spread that feeling further. I wanted to make mums visible, and proud.
Because I believe that mothers, YOU, can change the world.
And that starts with us taking good care of ourselves.
I enrolled in the School for Social Entrepreneurs and learnt how to turn Story of Mum from a passionate hobby into a social enterprise.
I ran residential retreats and day retreats and virtual retreats and honed my skills. I trained with Kathy Stowell as a Mama Bliss Coach, and conducted research with mothers from all around the world.
Along the way, we did fantastic work with Team Honk to raise funds for Comic Relief, including launching a charity campaign that went viral: #mykidsdressedme. I was featured in Good Housekeeping, the Daily Mail, Yummy Mummy Club andUK Handmade and all sorts of other lovely publications. And we made a lot of mothers very happy.
Which has made us very happy.
To all of you. story of mum needs mums like you. Thank you for your bravery, creativity and fun.
To the Penzance WILD mums' group, who helped us to devise and test the ideas here, made us laugh like drains, and produced such beautiful work, along with some of Hayle mums.
Extra special thanks to Cheryl Macfarlane and Anna Murphy for running such fun sessions, and to Nick Harpley for building us this brilliant website.
To Lesley and the mums, nans and great-grans of Hayle Day Care Centre, and Jo McIntosh and Amanda White, the artists who worked with them.
To Gill and Jayne at Arts for Health, and Tamsin and Kirsty at Newlyn Art Gallery. And to Jack Morrison for his faith in the project from its very first conception, as well as Jane and Rose from Feast. To Shireene Cunliffe of Picaloulou, who provided amazing marketing advice and support, as well as being an incredible mother and friend.
To our wonderful group of 'virtual testers' around the world, our international guinea pigs who helped us to build and test the website before it went public.
To our funders the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE), UnLtd 4ip, Feast and the Arts Council.
More information on these below:
The UnLtd 4iP scheme gives awards to help individuals from across the UK to turn their digital media project into a reality. UnLtd and 4iP have teamed up to help individuals develop early stage digital media ideas and prototypes. Together they will build the skills, capabilities and partnerships to turn prototypes into social businesses.
4iP is an innovation fund, created by Channel 4, to stimulate public service digital media across the UK. It supports great ideas for websites, games and mobile services which help people improve their lives. 4iP will share its expertise in digital media and UnLtd will provide dedicated support including training opportunities, mentoring and access to resources to help individuals develop their skills and their projects.
Feast is a programme that makes great art happen across Cornwall. FEAST’s ambition is to touch and inspire people and generate a whole new wave of creative activity in our communities. There are opportunities for audiences to enjoy events, but the focus is on bringing people together to take part in creative projects, and on animating local celebrations and cultural life.
ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND
Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people's lives. They support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries - from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. They believe that great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better.
The School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) empowers people from all backgrounds to create positive social change. Their courses help individuals start, sustain, and scale social enterprises, charities and community projects. The SSE aims to support innovative grassroots projects. They look for great ideas from people with first-hand experience of social issues because they believe personal experience builds a strong foundation of practical knowledge. You can read more about their inspiring students on their stories page.