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Welcome to ArkDes June 14
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ArkDes is currently closed for refurbishment.

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Designing Motherhood

Photo: Stela Tsakina Stiliyana Minkovska. Ultima Thule birthing furniture. 2019.
Exhibitions
14.06.2024-31.03.2025
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Skeppsholmen, Stockholm

Designing Motherhood: Things That Make and Break Our Births

When was the menstrual cup created? And what will the future birthing chair look like? Designing Motherhood is an exhibition about how design has influenced human reproduction over the past 150 years to enable, facilitate, or prevent our arrival into the world.

The exhibition showcases nearly 300 items, both historical and contemporary, involved in the arc of human reproduction, ranging from menstrual cups1, breast pumps, and baby monitors2 to medical tools and maternity clothing. It explores objects and processes through a variety of fields: art, photography, product design, posters, advertisements, fashion, and architecture, with a selection emerging from various cultural and geographical backgrounds.

While being born is a universal human experience, the designs that shape it are not. Designing Motherhood invites you to consider why and how we have developed designs to facilitate reproductive health, and to ponder the political, economic, and social implications of how we medicalize reproduction.

The exhibition is curated by US based team: Zoë Greggs, Michelle Millar Fisher, Gabriella Nelson, Juliana Rowen Barton, Amber Winick. Swedish researcher and author Karin Carlsson has collaborated to supplement material from Sweden and the Nordic region.

  • 1
    Photo: Erik Gould. Courtesy of Designing Motherhood. Tassette, invented in 1937 and produced under this name from 1959. Leona Watson Chalmers and Robert P. Oreck.
  • 2
    Photo: Erik Gould. Courtesy of Designing Motherhood. Fisher-Price Nursery Monitor. 1983.

Temporary exhibitions at ArkDes

Designing Motherhood: Things That Make and Break Our Births will be ArkDes first temporary exhibition when we open our doors on June 14. Welcome to discover 150 years of reproduction design.

Designing Motherhood Team. From left: Zoë Greggs, photo: Naomieh Jovin. Michelle Millar Fisher, photo: Brigitte Lacombe. Gabriella Nelson, photo: Naomieh Jovin. Juliana Rowen Barton, photo: Sarah Milinski. Amber Winick, photo: Gáldi Vinkó.

The exhibition is curated by Zoë Greggs, an artist who creates spaces and resources needed to uplift the work of BIPOC artists working outside of the confines of genre; Michelle Millar Fisher, curator at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston with backgrounds from MoMA, The Metropolitan Museum, and the Guggenheim in New York; Gabriella Nelson, urban planner focusing on the city for all and working on maternal care and the development of care, health, and education; Juliana Rowen Barton, historian and curator with a focus on intersections of race, gender, and design; Amber Winick, design historian and writer specializing in family and child-related design, basic guidelines, and traditions worldwide. Additionally, Swedish researcher and author Karin Carlsson has collaborated to supplement material from Sweden and the Nordic region.