In the 2013-2017 research project Immigrant Mothers As Agents of Change conducted within the TRANSFORmIG framework at Humboldt University Berlin, I inquired into everyday mothering practices performed in urban contexts and the norms that influence said practices. I investigated how immigrant women do mothering locally and transnationally and how they navigate various nationalized, classed, and gendered ideologies of motherhood. My research in Berlin, Munich, London, and Birmingham centered on everyday encounters, observations, and displays of mothering performed by women who recently moved to these cities from Poland. Aside from semi-structured and narrative interviews and participant observation, I also worked with creative methods and visualizations. In 2015 and 2016, I met individually with Polish mothers of young children living in Birmingham and Munich, respectively. We met in community centers, playgroups, and in private homes. Each conversation started with the
question “How is it for you to be a mother in Birmingham/Munich?” to which each woman responded visually. This creative exercise, conducted with colorful felt-tip pens on white sheets of paper, has yielded most interesting narrations on migration, childrearing, and the urban everyday. You can see the drawings accompanied by excerpts from image elicitation interviews here.
Researcher: Agata Lisiak, Bard College Berlin