Holding the Baby, an empowering look into the lives of seven single parent families from documentary photographer Polly Braden is presented at the Museum of the Home. In 2021, around 1.8 million single parents exist in the UK, making up nearly a quarter of all British families (Gingerbread 2021). Around 90 percent of these single parents are women. Through a collaborative process based on photographs and interviews by the esteemed journalist and writer Sally Williams, Holding the Baby will highlight the day-to-day reality of what it means to be a single parent.
From Jahanara, who left an abusive arranged marriage and now has a place to study design engineering at university, to Caroline, a foster carer who chose to become a single parent without a partner via sperm donor, the project tells the diverse stories of their lives. Despite the economic pressures, benefit sanctions, difficulty finding affordable childcare and financial hardship, these single parents nonetheless succeed in creating a sense of home and belonging.
Polly Braden says, “After becoming a single parent myself I started to explore some of the prejudices leading to policies that scrutinise and punish the parent who has stayed. The people I’ve met in the making of this work constantly show their sense of adventure and their resilience transcends the often difficult situations they face.”
Holding the Baby will tour to Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool and Arnolfini, Bristol, as part of the Museum of the Home’s new dynamic contemporary programme, involving new art commissions, exhibitions, festivals, talks, performances and partnerships to explore the ever-changing meaning of home.
Polly Braden : Holding the Baby
In the Room of Now until 29 August 2021
Museum of the Home
136 Kingsland Road
London E2 8EA