Lockdown felt strangely familiar to those of us who have experienced the isolation and repetition of Maternity Leave. We already knew that the local becomes more interesting when we have no choice but to make it so, too.
Maternity Leaves (2013) had been both a record of my maternal ambivalence and an attempt to focus on the small changes I noticed during walks within in a mile of my home as a way to mark the slow passing of time. Maternity Leaves (Revisited) (2020) no longer needed a self-imposed artistic restriction, being conducted within the one-hour exercise slot ordained by the government instead.
We enjoyed these walks together for different reasons. For me this was a reflection on my maternal experiences of care and locality once again. For my daughter it was a physical game of memory pairs. For us both, it was more fun than home-schooling.
Lizzie Philps is an artist and researcher whose practice-as-research PhD engaged with walking, mapping and the gendering of “natural” resources for colonial purposes. Lizzie has made numerous participatory and site-based events, most recently her project GPS Embroidery was commissioned for the AHRC funded research project Outside The Box: Outdoor Performance as Pandemic Response. Her practice appears in LADA’s Study Room Guide to the Maternal (2016) and Walking Women (2017). She has published on walking and the maternal in Maternal Geographies (Demeter Press, 2019), and on suburban walking as arts practice in the Journal of Cultural Geography (2020).