Notes from the Motherfield LIVE FAQs
(Photo credit: a still from “Marquee,” performed by Denise Uyehara for the May 2020 show)
Q: What is Notes from the Motherfield?
Notes is a storytelling platform and a movement of radical mothers dedicated to building community by telling the truth and listening to womxns’ stories. Based on Kore’s online essay series and newsletter feature of the same name (edited by Lisa Bowden), Notes from the Motherfield LIVE presents six mothers telling their unique, personal 10-minute stories. Bowden encountered the term “motherfield” in Joy Harjo’s blog, which referred to the imaginal colliding that happens while mothering––where truths that are hard to talk about exist—somewhere between grief and longing, the ineffable and mundane, breathtaking moments and numbing routine. It is a complicated, sacred place that requires a brave poetics to speak from.
At Motherfield LIVE, we enter into the project as tellers and listeners together, to hear one another’s unique stories, to keep narratives about mothering real, fully complex, and richly diverse. We hold this space to essay out loud, to pierce the veil of perfection and silence, and to keep the often invisibilized labor and particular oppressions of womxn and mothers visible. Motherfield LIVE is an intentionally created space and process for all mothers to tell their stories, and the series is intended to be a consciously inclusive project.
Storytelling alumnae and KPI team carry the work of this project forward, building large communities of care through story-coaching, sharing knowledge, and event coordination . Practice sessions provide the support that enables storytellers to share whatever particular thread is near and dear to them; to give voice to those things they have encountered while mothering—the wild beauty, the thorny conundrum that doesn’t let go, the double-edged liberatory decisions, the stunning judgements.
We see you mamas, we are listening and witnessing with our ears, our eyes, and our hearts.
Q: Who can participate? Do I have to be a mother?
The Motherfield is open to those who wish to tell a story related to motherhood and who self-identify as a mother in one way or another, to those who claim the title as they see it fits them. Storytellers typically come to the project by recommendation from participants, audiences, the KPI team, and community.
Q: I have adult children. Are you looking for stories from womxn with young children?
No. Storytellers can be any age, at any stage of mothering. Having a diverse range of ages and experiences provides a necessary, rich complexity to the narrative. We strive to include the great depth and breadth of mothering experience and wisdom by presenting a variety of perspectives onto the stage.
Q: I am considering sharing a story. What happens next?
Once you say “yes” to telling a story, you will receive a welcome email along with that event’s cohort of storytellers. This email provides an introduction to the project and process, including agreement /release forms, storytelling tips, workshop / listening guidelines, FAQs, and other helpful links. At this time, we will also request a photograph and bio for the website and promotion. Practice sessions will be set according to the cohort’s availability.
Q: What if I’ve never shared a story in a public setting? Is there guidance or support to help me prepare?
Yes! KPI provides extensive story preparation support for all the participants, including workshop or practice (listening) sessions with alumni storytellers and other project supporters. Two or three sessions are scheduled to ensure everyone has at least one chance to receive feedback. To help producers organize the setlist for the show, there is one mandatory rehearsal for everyone, the rest are optional. One-on-one support is available if needed or desired, depending on the story coaches availability.
Q: Are the rehearsals required? Only one. The rest are optional.
Q: I have children. Is childcare provided during rehearsal or the event?
Unfortunately, providing childcare for the rehearsal sessions is not within the scope of KPI’s Motherfield program at this time. If childcare becomes a barrier to participating for a storyteller, we endeavor to work creatively and collectively to find a solution and to help keep the project accessible. For example, at our first online Motherfield LIVE, Playformance, in Tucson, provided free remote childcare during the event.
Storytellers have collectively determined the rehearsals a kid-free zone. This allows for the privacy needed to work, to speak and think out loud freely without distraction or self-editing that can happen with children present. Additionally, the content is for adults.
Q: Is the event recorded?
Yes. KPI invests in high-quality video and audio capture of the storytellers who have given their permission to be recorded. The documentation of the event is intended to be part of KPI’s Womxn’s Voices of the Southwest online archive, the Motherfield LIVE podcast, to extend the audience, and help with community-building for mothers online.
Q: Can I have access to the recording for my personal use?
Yes. Roughly 6-8 weeks after the event, KPI uploads recorded stories onto the KPI YouTube channel (per the respective permissions of each individual storyteller, emcee, and interpreter). These video files are also available to the storytellers by request onced released by KPI.
Personal use excludes for profit use. All permissions must be gained by the storyteller from anyone else who appears in the video before personal use.
Q: Tickets? How much are they? Who needs a ticket?
Tickets to Notes from the Motherfield LIVE are $15-$20. The event is intended for adults. KPI raises extra funds through a Gift-a-Ticket option, and distributes these to members of the Deaf community and BIPOC womxn, in collaboration with storytelling alumni and ASL interpreters. Storytellers are honorary guests of the event, and of course do not need a ticket.
Q: Are translation services provided?
Yes, generally. We have had ASL interpretation at many of our recent shows; other translation services may be provided as needed. We are grateful to the interpreters who have generously offered their support and services pro bono, and we are currently working to secure resources to continue offering these services.
Q: Who will be my main point of contact before, during, and after the performance/event?
Lisa Bowden, KPI director and Motherfield LIVE creator, and Tina Howard, KPI operations manager and Motherfield LIVE coordinator, are the primary points of contact before and during the show. During the story preparation process, storytellers may also be in contact with four to five individual story coaches / alumnae who provide support throughout the project.
Q: Are there parameters regarding what types of stories can be told or shared?
No! Any story that is pushing to be told, that needs saying and hearing is welcome at Motherfield LIVE. Motherfield stories keep it real. They may inspire us, make us cry or laugh, or make us hold on to each other. The content of each story is entirely up to the storyteller herself, as is the amount of emotional sharing they wish to do. Storytellers also determine the amount of craft (guidance, input) they incorporate into their process. We choose storytellers and welcome whatever stories they bring with them. The intention of Motherfield LIVE is to showcase a wide array of perspectives and voices that center the many complex realities of motherhood, and to keep our myriad, invisibilized labors visible.
Q: Will I be compensated for sharing my story?
Gratitude gifts are provided to the storytellers ($25-$50 cash honorarium, and KPI merchandise or books) after their 10-minute performances. While KPI does not have the capacity to offer additional compensation, we have cultivated a supportive artistic community that provides story coaching as well as the logistical labor necessary to coordinate rehearsals, workshops, event preparation. Our alumnae coaches and KPI support team include accomplished editors, writers, artists, thinkers, and activists of all kinds who offer wide and varied perspectives and feedback that storytellers may use to shape their piece. Additionally, KPI may provide one-on-one story support, listening, and feedback when someone wishes to have more input or cannot make a scheduled practice session. The series doesn’t hire writers or performers to perform existing work.
Got a question not covered here? Reach out to Tina@KorePress.Org, she’ll be happy to chat with you.
Simply search the website to read the original essay series using Notes from the Motherfield.