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Holding The Baby: Pop-Up Exhibition

12 June — 29 August at Idea Store Whitechapel

In 2019 Philip Alston, a United Nations poverty expert, came to the UK to look at the effects of austerity. His conclusion was that austerity has had the largest impact on single parent families.Having become a single parent herself, Polly Braden started to look at some of the prejudices and policies that impact the parent who has stayed. With help from charities, law firms, community hubs, arts and women’s organisations, we got in touch with single parents asking them to be part of this project.

Over the last two years Polly has worked with Fran, Jahanara, Charmaine, Aaron, Barbeline, Caroline, Gemma, Carike and their children to represent each of their stories. These photographs have been made in collaboration: sometimes even taken by the parent themselves, after Polly has set up the camera. They capture their optimism, creativity, ambition and resilience, transcending the often difficult situations they face. Journalist Sally Williams has interviewed the parents and excerpts from these conversations are displayed alongside the photographs and played through speakers.

Polly Braden is a documentary photographer whose work features ongoing conversations between the people she photographs and the environment in which they find themselves. Highlighting the small, often unconscious gestures of her subjects, Polly particularly enjoys long-term, in-depth collaborations.Sally Williams is a London-based feature writer. Her work has taken her across the world and into the heart of people’s lives.

Pop-up stands designed by Charles Tashima

A larger exhibition of this work is presented at Museum of the Home