This Father’s Day, a photography exhibition and community arts day, aims to celebrate the role of fathers and to ask ‘what if fathers in the UK took more parental leave?’
A central feature of the exhibition is Johan Bavman’s exquisite photo project ‘Swedish Dads’, which documents fathers on leave alone with their children in Sweden. Through the photographs and quotes from the Dads themselves, the exhibition highlights the experience that extended parental leave has given fathers and how their lives have changed for the better as a result.
Fathers taking leave is important because it leads to more equality in the workplace and in the home, helping to reduce the gender pay gap. Fathers’ increased involvement with their children also potentially improves the mental health of mothers and children. But importantly, fathers also have a right to take time to look after their children, and more and more, fathers are communicating that they want just this.
But while around 80% of fathers take extended parental leave in Sweden, only 7% of fathers are estimated to take Shared Parental Leave (SPL) in the UK. SPL was introduced in 2015, allowing mothers to transfer their maternity leave to the father or partner from two weeks after the birth of the child. Research shows that many parents don’t know they are eligible, or don’t understand how they can access the policy. Others find it unaffordable or just think the mother should take all the maternity leave.
The aim of the exhibition is to encourage families to consider the many benefits that fathers’ leave can have for the family, and to think about the ways that fathers are already involved in the upbringing of their children. Two local schools have been creating art projects to communicate ‘who cares for them and how’, and an arts and crafts project on the day will also encourage children to think about what they value about their Dads. A professional photographer will be taking (free) portrait photos of families and story-telling sessions with small kids will consider changing roles of fathers over the years, as well diverse family forms.
Local residents have been involved in setting up of the project and many have commented that Father’s Day isn’t normally celebrated much in their families. We hope this celebration will change that.
The exhibition and family celebration day takes place on Sunday the 17th June from 11am to 4pm at Southlands Arts Centre in West Drayton, London UB7 7PW. All activities are free on the day. No registration necessary. Click here for more information.
Timetable of events
11am Doors open to photography and picture exhibition
Come see Johan Bavman’s critically acclaimed photographs of Swedish Dads, alongside pictures from Saint Martin’s school pupils!
11am – 3.30pm Arts and crafts workshop for kids
11.30am – 12pm Story time
12pm – 2pm Outdoor picnic
Bring your own rug and food, or buy on the day from Funky Elephant food stall
2pm – 4pm Family portrait room
Have a family photograph taken and printed, add it to the exhibition or take it home
2.30pm – 3pm Story time
4pm Doors close
FREE ADMISSION TO ALL EVENTS!