Helen Acklam: I was brought up in a mining valley in Bridgend, South Wales and am now based in Bristol. I use practice-led research, documentation and an embodied, multidisciplinary practice to explore issues of grief, death, shame and place.
In 2021 I returned to the valley to explore my experiences of stillbirth and what it is to be a mother without children. This site- specific exploration has led to forensic and spiritual connections with the earth and a bodily understanding of maternal and grief narratives. Working with living materials, performance and site-specificity, the work is rooted in the landscape, sharing stories (human and non-human), revealing connections between personal experience and social, political and geological implications of this post-industrial, relict landscape where I grew up. My practice amplifies the female voice and challenges the barriers to talking about ‘difficult things’.