Interdisciplinary Researcher Development Project grant success! 

June 10, 2024
Three pupas. In this image you can see the new green chrysalis coloration, one that’s about ready to emerge (the clear one), and a butterfly that’s already come out.

Moving Bodies Lab researcher Dr Emily Tupper has been awarded an Interdisciplinary Researcher Development Project grant by Durham’s Institute of Advanced Studies and Flourish@Durham. The plans for Emily’s project titled “Mater-Morphosis: Transformations of motherhood through matrescence” was developed along with colleagues at Durham from sociology, anthropology, sport and exercise sciences, law, and English. Matrescence refers to the developmental transition of becoming a mother, a process involving extensive hormonal, environmental and neurobiological changes. Although the concept emerged from anthropological research on breastfeeding in the 70s, the term has had intermittent engagement since then, despite its potential for inspiring novel interdisciplinary research. Matrescence acknowledges the process of becoming a mother as deeply transformational, involving radical and long-lasting changes to the body and brain. 

Over the course of the grant funding, Emily will develop and lead a network in order to delve into the histories and possible futures of the Matrescence concept, with a particular focus on transformations of the body and transformations of care practices. She is interested in bringing her interests on moving bodies into this space – for example, by looking at the entanglements of how we move and how we care in the postnatal period. Whilst there is frequent focus on mother’s bodies in this work, less is known about how movement features in wider care practices surrounding infant feeding and sleep, particularly with the emergence of new technologies. 

The Matrescence Network will convene monthly in the IAS in the form of a reading group, which will be open to all interested in the topic. We are looking forward to working together as a network to shed light on this exciting concept, and to take it into new spaces and possibilities. 

If you are interested in joining our reading group, please get in touch with Emily.


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The Moving Bodies Lab

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