- Start date: 1 January 2015
- End date: 19 April 2019
- Primary investigator: Dr Kimberly Campanello
The St Mary’s Mother and Baby Home was run by the Bon Secours Sisters on behalf of the Irish State to house unmarried mothers and their children. The location of the graves of 796 infants and children who died in the Home between between 1926 and 1961 is unknown, though local knowledge, the research of local historian Catherine Corless, and recent excavations point to a field near the old site of the Home, as well as the likelihood that some children were illegally adopted. International media attention in 2014 led to the Irish government’s Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes, which is still underway.
MOTHERBABYHOME is a 796-page ‘report’ comprised of conceptual and visual poetry. An excavation of voices, the poems are composed entirely of text taken from historical archives and contemporary sources related to the Home, including files given to Kimberly by Catherine Corless.
Poems from MOTHERBABYHOME have appeared in Banshee, Blackbox Manifold, gorse, para·text, Paris Lit Up, Poetry Ireland, Poetry Wales, thosethatthis, and in Laudanum’s Chapbook Anthology Volume Two. They were filmed for University College Dublin’s Poetry Reading Archive.
Kimberly has performed poems from MOTHERBABYHOME for the Prague Microfestival, New Dublin Press’s Performing Poetry Project, Belfast’s Of Mouth Reading Series, Doolin Writers’ Weekend, the University of Sheffield’s Centre for Poetry and Poetics, Ilkley Literature Festival, the International Literature Festival Dublin, The Other Room (Manchester), York Irish Association, and the Irish Literary Society (London).
It has been exhibited as part of Radical Landscapes: Innovation in Landscape and Language Art at the Plough Arts Centre (Devon), Poetry by Design (Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery, University of Leeds), and the Festival de Libro de Artista: "Proposiciones a realizar" (la Galería Casa Uno, Campus Creativo de la Universidad Andrés Bello, Chile).
Publications and outputs
MOTHERBABYHOME poetry-object (limited to six copies) and Reader's Edition Book; durational performance; extracted performances; the poetry-object is held by the National Poetry Library (UK), Cardiff University Special Collections, University College Dublin Special Collections, and the Brotherton Library Special Collections at the University of Leeds