Contemporary motherhood poses many challenges and raises many questions. Why do some women choose to become mothers while others opt out? How do they combine work with motherhood? How do they narrate their experiences as mothers or how is motherhood narrated? How do they see the stories told about them as mothers? We do not yet understand what it means to be a marginalized mother, to be on the periphery because of ethnicity, disability, youth, deprivation, or migrant status. These are some of the research questions that members of the Horizon 2020 Widespread Twinning project “MotherNet” will engage with.
The kick-off meeting of the Horizon 2020 project, “Developing a new Network of Researchers on Contemporary European Motherhood (MotherNet)“, coordinated by the Vilnius University (VU) Faculty of Philology, took place online from 20-22 January 2021. In addition to discussing future activities, partner obligations and the timeline of the project, the aim of the meeting was to form cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural research clusters that will work together during the three-year life span of the project and beyond.
These clusters aim both to question what it means to mother in contemporary Europe and to increase VU research excellence, enhancing VU researchers’ participation and competitiveness on the international research scene.
What is our understanding of motherhood in contemporary Europe, which is going through social, economic, and political changes? What are the competing and contested narratives that shape our understanding of contemporary motherhood? Three VU Faculties of Philology, Philosophy and Medicine are involved in the project; therefore, the planned research is also interdisciplinary.
“The purpose of the “MotherNet” consortium is to synergise ambitious research on motherhood, deepening our understanding of motherhood in contemporary Europe. We aim to create a platform for knowledge sharing and skills development, both in research on motherhood and in research development; and to embark on engaged and interdisciplinary motherhood research in order to advance and transform our knowledge and understanding of motherhood in Europe today,” Dr Eglė Kačkutė, the coordinator of the project, says.
41 researchers and 7 members of research development staff from VU, Uppsala University and the National University of Ireland Maynooth attended the kick-off meeting. The involvement of the administrative staff is also important, since one of the aims of the project is to encourage the development not only of researchers but also of administrative staff at VU.
„I found the training very useful. Seeing how people work elsewhere is inspiring and motivating, even if it makes you see your own work more critically,“ Aida Jungaitytė, Project Manager and Research Development Consultant at the VU Faculty of Philology, says.
You can learn about the project here. The Horizon 2020 project, “Developing a new Network of Researchers on Contemporary European Motherhood (MotherNet)“ has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 952366.