Mum’s Not the Word is a collection of photographic images depicting women who do not have children and their reflections on what this means to them as individuals. Raising questions of identity, social constructs, the concept of what it is to be a woman and how stereotyped behaviour is influenced by various factors, both external and internal, such as the expectation around having children and the impact this has in an era of environmental crisis.

From 3 – 31 October, the galleries at Phoenix Art Space will be open Thursday – Sunday, 1pm – 5pm. Visitors must pre-book a free, timed slot in advance of their visit. Only a limited number of people are allowed into our building so it’s essential that all visitors book.
Tickets also grant you entry to Photo Fringe 2020: Collectives Hub.


Denise Felkin in conversation with Jennie Ricketts & Maroussia Mbaye.
17 October 14.00 – 15.30 Watch it here.
When shooting Mum’s Not the Word, Denise Felkin found it challenging to find participants from different ethnic backgrounds. Whereas white women would readily volunteer, she had to go out of her way to include other participants; many said no. Denise Felkin joins Jennie Ricketts, childfree herself, in conversation with Maroussia Mbaye, a photographer who works with women who have experienced unwanted pregnancies in Senegal, West Africa, to discuss cultural expectations of women in society today.
Mum’s Not the Word Podcast
31 October 14.00 – 15.30 Watch it here
Melanie Kalay, AKA Yes Mel is a DJ, radio presenter, yoga teacher, wellness coach, advocate in black lives matter and woman’s holistic health. Melanie hosts the MNTW podcast with a women of colour and non-binary agenda, addressing the topics of childfree and childless woman. Guests include Mum’s Not the Word participants, Katrina Dixon – Population Matters and Reigate Art School students.

All events are pre-recorded and published online. Follow #mumsnottheword on social media to join the conversation.


Denise Felkin is a Photographer, Tutor, Author and studio member at Phoenix Arts Space. She has a BA (Hons) Fine Art Degree from University of Sunderland and MA Photojournalism, University of Westminster. Denise who is childfree began working on Mum’s Not the Word in 2015, due to the lack of acceptance and associated stigma towards women without children. MNTW has gained notable attention in the art/ photography world and was a finalist in the People Category of Sony World Photography Awards 2016, won a Honourable Mention in Julia Margaret Cameron Awards 2017 and placed as a finalist in the MS Amlin themed prize ‘Continuity in an uncertain world’ within the National Open Art competition 2017. MNTW has been shown in London, Blackpool, Doncaster, Cologne, Barcelona, Athens, Paris & Bologna. In 2019, MNTW was released as a photobook by Earthworld Publishing and featured in The Guardian & the iPaper, BBC News.


Supported by
Arts Council England
Brighton Photo Fringe
Population Matters
Be Smart About Art
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