5th MotherNet Newsletter


We are delighted to report the following research achievements of the MotherNet members:
  • The Early-Stage Researcher from Vilnius University, Ieva Balčiūnė, successfully defended her PhD thesis on Abandonment of Children in Soviet Lithuania: Parents, Unwanted Children and the State
  • Prof Jenny Björklund and Prof Helena Wahlstrom secured funding for the graduate school entitled “Gender, humanities and digital cultures” which will bring together nine PhD students whose work will jointly explore how gender matters in the latest digital cultural and academic contexts, and to teach digital methods and research skills fit for the labour market of the 21st century, while also strengthening gender humanities research. More about the school here
  • MotherNet members have published the following articles:
Atėnė Mendelytė. (2023). Thought Experiments in Video Games: Exploring the (Un)Ethics of Motherhood in Frictional Games' Amnesia: Rebirth.

Dagnė Beržaitė. (2023). Проблема представления материнства в русской литературе XIX века. Slavvaria, 1/2022(1/2022), 85–92.

Inga Hilbig. (2022). "Zwei Sprachen gleichzeitig? Nein, das schaff' ich nicht": A Lithuanian-German Boy's Journey to Active Bilingualism. Philologia Estonica Tallinnensis, 2022 (7), 126–147.

Atene Mendelyte (2022) Creative and crime scene photography: staged patricide and matricide as screen memories in Aida Chehrehgosha’s To Mom, Dad and My Two Brothers, photographies, 15:2, 167-186, DOI: 10.1080/17540763.2022.2060291

Click here to find out more about our research
Huge congratulations to all of them!

Outreach Events

“Bad Mothers” Workshop at Uppsala University
MotherNet members Prof Jenny Björklund and Dr Sigrid Schottenius Cullhed organized a workshop entitled “Bad mothers” at Uppsala University, on 20–21 October 2022. The aim of the workshop was to provide a platform for discussing ideas about representations of mothers and mothering practices which are either permeated by a negative subjective attitude or emphasize violations of descriptive or injunctive norms (be it negatively or positively evaluated). The workshop took the form of short presentations and discussions geared toward developing new research questions.

National Breastfeeding Week at Maynooth University
MotherNet Maynooth University Team organised a series of outreach events and a photography exhibition on the occasion of the National Breastfeeding Week (3-7 October 2022). The aim was to generate public understanding of the complex issues involved in decisions about breastfeeding, as well as the particular challenges that some women face when it comes to breastfeeding. We also sought to promote understanding of breastfeeding in contemporary Ireland within its historical context. The events included a discussion on Expectations and Experiences of Breastfeeding, a talk by the Argentinian photographer Valeria Alves da Florencia in which she outlined the motivation for her ‘Nurture & Care’ photography project with breastfeeding women, and a lunchtime seminar on the History of Breastfeeding in Ireland.
Who breastfeeds? Literary, historical and practical perspectives
On 28 November 2022, the Uppsala MotherNet members held an interdisciplinary outreach event at Uppsala University on the subject “Who breastfeeds? Literary, historical and practical perspectives” together with the Centre for Medical Humanities in Uppsala. Three speakers were invited: Professor of Literature Anna Williams (Uppsala University), Associate Professor of English Berit Åström (Umeå University) and Elisa Corubolo, midwife at Huddinge hospital and active at RFSL, the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights.

Other Outreach Activities

MotherNet podcasts curated by the MotherNet member and professor of Vilnius University Faculty of Philosophy, Eglė Šumskienė, are a great way to follow the Network members’ research on motherhood. You can listen to the podcasts (mostly but not exclusively in Lithuanian) on Spotify or you can watch the recordings on YouTube. The latest podcast “Regretting Motherhood” features the MotherNet members Prof Valerie Heffernan (Maynooth University) and Dr Maja Bodin (Uppsala University). Previous MotherNet podcasts covered such topics as the agentive potential of the intimate relationships of Russian mothers with their sons fighting in Ukraine, child removal from the family, the role of mothers in identity construction in Lithuanian migrant families, child abandonment practices during the Soviet era in Lithuania and the experiences of Lithuanian mothers, who are raising their children in diaspora.
On 1 February 2023 Dr Sarah Arnold and Dr Anne O’Brien from Maynooth University gave an open lecture “The Horrors of Motherhood in Irish Cinema: a Study of its Representation and Industry Involvement” at the cinematheque Meno avilys in Vilnius, Lithuania. The lecture explored how motherhood is portrayed in Irish horror films “You Are Not My Mother”, (directed by Kate Dolan) and “The Hole in the Ground” (directed by Lee Cronin). At the same time, the attention was drawn to the often-horrible treatment of working mothers in the film and television industry. More information here. You can also listen to the lecture here (English with translation to Lithuanian).

MotherNet Training Activities

On 29 November – 2 December 2022 MotherNet member prof Jenny Björklund (Uppsala University (Sweden) has been awarded the Vilnius University Teaching and Learning Internationalisation Initiatives funding for the initiative Gender and Motherhood Studies and Research in the Baltic Sea Region. As part of this initiative in collaboration with the Horizon 2020 project MotherNet she offered a series of lectures and seminars on maternity and gender studies at Vilnius University Faculty of Philology and gave a public lecture entitled Runaway Moms: Mothers Who Leave their Families in the Twenty-First Century. More information on the lectures here and listen to the public lecture here. She will offer some supervisions to BA and MA students of the Faculty of Philology on their final theses in spring of 2023.
On 14-15 February 2023 Dr Ciara Bradley, Lecturer at Maynooth University gave a series of public lectures at the Faculty of Philosophy. More information on the visit and lectures (in Lithuanian) here
Ciara Bradley is a Lecturer at Maynooth University Department of Applied Social Studies, community development worker, community work educator and social scientist with a commitment to equality, social justice and human rights and solidarity with all those facing inequality and injustice in all aspects of her practice: teaching, research and public engagement. 
The ESR Forum continues with great success. For more information and topics covered in the workshops see here

Research Development

On 23-25 January 2023 project partners held a workshop at Vilnius University, Faculty of Philology during which Prof Valerie Heffernan and Dr Marian Crowley-Henry from Maynooth University, Prof Jenny Björklund from Uppsala University, Dr Armi Mustosmäki from Jyväskylä University, Prof Eglė Šumskienė and Dr Eglė Kačkutė from Vilnius University worked on a joint research funding application and joint publications. More information here (in Lithuanian)
Monthly research colloquiums offer Vilnius University researchers an opportunity to meet, share their research, engage in discussions on theories and methods, and enhance their networking and collaboration and thus the quality of research in both formal and informal ways. Eight MotherNet colloquiums have been held at Vilnius University so far. The researchers are discussing their research topics, which include differences in the Lithuanian identity among families migrating due to political and economic reasons, perspectives of working mothers with disabilities, the experiences of Lithuanian mothers, who are raising their children in the diaspora, reproductive decisions and experiences of childlessness, and historical perspectives, such as postcolonial interpretations of good motherhood in Lithuania, women in the 16th-17th c. Latin literature of the Grand duchy of Lithuania, and child abandonment practices during the Soviet era in Lithuania. For more information on colloquiums for 2023 see here

New Members

Please welcome new MotherNet member Dr Ieva Bisigirskaitė! Find out more about the project team members on our website.

Coming up

On March 23-26, 2023 MotherNet members Ieva Balčiūnė, Valerie Heffernan, Dovilė Kuzminskaitė, and Rūta Šlapkauskaitė will participate at the Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) 54th Annual Convention at the Niagara Falls Convention Center. The 2023 NeMLA conference theme is RESILIENCE, an anchor term for critical and creative work that explores how we bear up under trauma, counter ableism, redress social and racial marginalization, environmental destruction, and how we celebrate bodily, cognitive, and neurological difference, access silenced voices, recover from the pandemic, and struggle to save the humanities, and humanity itself from the maw of neoliberalism.
On 19-21 June 2023 the third MotherNet summer school will take place in Vilnius university. This summer school will focus on research dissemination, including identifying dissemination opportunities; making effective presentations; and writing for publication. The programme will be specified in due course but time will be allocated for: 
  • Enhancing the work in research clusters
  • Meetings between mentors and mentees 
  • ESR session to work on Postgraduate Symposium 
The final MotherNet conference which will take place on January 23-25 2024 at Vilnius university aims to bring together motherhood researchers from different parts of the world. The conference will be held in person only.  More information and the programme will be specified in due course.

Call for Papers

MotherNet colleague Loïc Bourdeau is co-organizing a hybrid conference Post-pandemic future: cultural meeting points on October 5-6 2023. The deadline for abstract submission is March 22, 2023. More information here

Please consider submitting your work to two high quality Vilnius University based journals in sociology Social Theory, Empirics, Policy and Practice (STEPP) and literary and cultural studies Literatūra

Social Theory, Empirics, Policy and Practice (STEPP) is a high-quality open access peer-reviewed research journal that has been published by Faculty of Philosophy of Vilnius University for more than 20 years. Since 2016 the Journal has narrowed its focus to various relevant issues in social work and social policy, and currently welcomes high quality theoretical and empirical original research papers in these fields.  STEPP is indexed in BASE, C.E.E.O.L., CNKI, CORE, Dimensions, DOAJ, ERIH-PLUS, Google Scholar, HEAL link (Hellenic Academic Libraries Link), Index Copernicus International, JournalTOCs, Lituanistika, Microsoft Academic, QOAM, ROAD, ScienceGate, ScienceOpen, Scilit and in WEB of Science Journal Citation Index from 2020 year. The Journal publishes twice a year in the online version. Click here to submit the manuscript.  For more information, please visit the official website of the journal. 
Literatūra  (Eng. Literature) is an international open access research journal that publishes scholarly and critical articles on Lithuanian and World literatures, and the Classics as well as cultural studies, targeted at scholarly and academic community. It appears annually and regularly (4 issues per year). Each issue is numbered and devoted to the specific subject: Lithuanian literature, the Classics, Russian literature, Western literatures. Each issue consists primarily of research papers/articles in full text. The deadline for the submission of articles each year is 15 July.  Click here to submit. For more information, please visit the official website of the journal.  

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