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Sally Butcher

Visual Arts, Birmingham City University

Thesis title:

(In) Fertile Embodiment: revealing the invisibility of infertility between the medical and maternal through feminist art practice

My practice based research is concerned with expanding understandings of (In)fertility beyond the medical. Linking language and corporeality, it explores embodied experiences that occur through contemporary, (“patient”-led) im/material online and digital encounters of infertility, to reveal emotional invisible stories and silent conversations. It draws on feminist notions of affectivity in “becoming” maternal within these self-care labours, queering time (its diseased chronicity), and fertile identities, though new alternative subjectivities. This mobilises the sensory through making with performative photography, data/text visualisation, and participatory bio-art methods, to investigate a narrative of creative care within Art & Health, building on historical feminist practice around lived experience. 

How is infertility visualised and verbalised within contemporary online spaces, articulating new embodied infertile subjectivities? 

How can art practice re-present narratives of creative care around the dis-eased female body through reimagining (in)fertile experience?

Research Area

  • Community Art including Art and Health
  • Visual Arts


2023 "Ma - Reframing the Representation of the Maternal Subject in the (Negative) Space of (M)otherhood" in An Artist and A Mother, Demeter Press (essay/image) (peer reviewed)
2023 "Hairpieces" in The ART of Infertility: An Anthology of Patient Narrative and Art, a curated collection, edited by Maria Novotny, Robin Silbergleid, Elizabeth Walker (writing/image) (peer reviewed)
2022 “Sub-maternal Visions” in M.A.M.A with Procreate Project, Museum of Motherhood, Mom Egg Review, UK (writing/image)
2021 "Torn and Adorned" in Magazín iLeGaLiT, July, Slovakia (image)
2021 "Reconceive Invisibilities" in Maternal Art, June, UK (writing)
2021 "Concealed and Revealed" in Square Magazine, April, France (image)
2020 "Silent Maternal" in Mothers Who Make Zine, February, Coventry (image)
2010 "Skin Tight", essay in Haptic Visions, Tangible Images by Isil Onol PhD, University of Huddersfield (essay)

Public Engagement & Impact

2022 'Mothers in Lockdown', Panel Discussion, part of Twenty Twenty Collection Talks, The New Art Gallery Walsall, UK
2021 'Infertility in the Maternal Visual Arts', November, Mothers Who Make, part of Coventry Biennial, UK

2022 Mothers Who Make Coventry: Pop Up Meeting, The New Art Gallery. Walsall, Walsall, UK
2021 Mothers, A Very Special Place, IKON in the 1990s, IKON Gallery, Birmingham, UK
2013 Draw Your Story - City of 1000 Stories, Children’s Hospital, Birmingham
2012 Explore Drawing - City of 1000 Stories, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Birmingham
2012 Exploration of Drawing Narrative - Birmingham Book Festival, Birmingham Central Library
2012 Project in a Night - Alternative Drawing, Birmingham Metropolitan College, Birmingham
2011 Inside/Out/In-Betweeness - Digital Art, Cadbury College, Birmingham
2011 Expressive Image Transfer - Printmaking for The Woods, Jane Packman, mac, Birmingham
2010 Lost Happy Endings - Shadow Puppet Workshop, Carol-Ann Duffy production, mac, Bham
2010 Surrealist Juxtapositions – Ordinary Extraordinary - Printmaking, Cadbury College, Birmingham
2010 Inside/Outside/Back to Front - Drawing, Cadbury College, Birmingham
2010 Picturing Community – Experimental Drawing, mac, Birmingham


2022 Brixton Art Prize, July, The Department Store, London, UK
2022 (Re)Production: Parenthood and The Art World, June-Jul, Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool, UK
2022 West Midlands Open, May-Sept, The New Art Gallery Walsall, UK
2022 Twenty Twenty Collection, Jan-Aug, The New Art Gallery Walsall, UK
2021 I Want Your Drawing! 3 of Obsessions, 5-12 Sept, Nuevo Gallery, Madrid, Spain
2021 Petri Dish Project, 17-22 July, Tebbs Gallery, London, UK
2021 Ikon for Artists, 17-31 May, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK
2021 Maternochronics, Maternal Exhaustion in the time of the Pandemic, May, Indiana, USA (online)
2021 If Not Now, When? 8 March - 11 April, Spilt Milk Gallery, Edinburgh, UK (online)
2021 Healing Chaos, 20 Jan - 1 March, Ladies Drawing Club, St Petersburg, Russia (online)
2020 You are not wonderful just because you are a Mother, 14 Dec-14 Feb, Artist/Mother Podcast, Indiana, USA (online)
2020 Red, 5 Oct-9 Nov, Rooftop Arts Centre, Corby, UK (online)
2019 Summer Camp, 27 Aug-6 Sept, EOP, Eastside Projects, Birmingham, UK
2018 Insights, 26 May - 3 June, International New School Gallery, Birmingham, UK
2015 Game Over, 28 April-24 July, The Coffin Works, Birmingham, UK
2014 Beforma, 3 Oct -1 Nov, Stryx, Birmingham, UK
2014 Print Biennial, 16 July-23 August, Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, Birmingham, UK
2014 Pen, 15 May-15 June, The Pen Room, Birmingham, UK
2012 Invasion, 22-30 Sept, A.E. Harris, Birmingham, UK
2012 Outlined, 27 April-19 May, Minerva Works, Birmingham, UK
2010 Blacked Out, 19-28 Aug, Arch 897, London Bridge, London, UK
2010 North Worcestershire Open, 6 May-13 June, Artix, Bromsgrove, UK
2010 Worcester Works, 24 April-26 June, PITT/WAW, Worcester, UK
2009 Print Now (shortlisted), Jan 2010, Bearspace Gallery, London Art Fair, UK
2009 Arts Fest, 11-13 Sept, Birmingham, UK
2008 Electric Eclectic, 10-17 Feb, Custard Factory, Birmingham, UK
2007 Identity Parade, 20-25 Feb, Custard Factory, Birmingham, UK


2022 (collab) The Maternal Spectrum, The Other Mother Project Zine, UK
2022 (contrib) Maternal Art Manifesto, UK
2022 (contrib) BAS9 Young Persons' Showcase, Lead Tutor, University of Wolverhampton School of Art & Wolverhampton Gallery, UK
2021 (lead) re.conceive: Investigating the Invisibility of Infertility in the Visual Arts, UK & USA
2021 (contrib) The Mothers: Life In Lockdown, UK
2021 (contrib) First-trimester Project, Extinction Rebellion Psychologists, UK
2021 (contrib) Pieced Together: celebrating community and identity with Artist/Mothers, Artist Mother Podcast, Indiana, USA
2019-21 (contrib) Remaking the Human Body, Dr Josie Hamper, Queen Mary, University of London
2019 (collab) Performing the Maternal: Bodies, Haptic Practices and Ethics, Maud Lannen PhD, Goldsmiths College, University of London

Press & Awards


2022 "Away with the Quarrelsome (Pomegranate) Apple", Stay in Art magazine, by Guilia Isetti
2021 "Why Is It So Hard To Talk About Fertility?", Elephant magazine, by Hettie Judah
2021 Mothers in Residence interview
2021 Artist / Mother Podcast Instagram Takeover
2020 FemalePhotographers.org featured artist, selected by Qiana Mestrich

2022-26 (Recipient) AHRC Doctoral Studentship Award: full funding for PhD with Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership
2022 (Shortlisted) Brixton Art Prize
2021 (Shortlisted) Jerwood Photoworks
2021-22 (Recipient) Arts Council Grant 'Develop Your Creative Practice' Award: funding grant for re.conceive project Award
2004 (Recipient) AHRC Masters Scholarship Award: full funding for MA Cultural Studies


2020-2022 Lead Teacher for British Art Show 9, Arts Connect / Wolverhampton University / Wolverhampton Gallery
2011-2022 Lecturer in Fine Art & Drawing, Birmingham Metropolitan College
      - Course Director Foundation Diploma
      - Module Leader HND Fine Art: Head of Fine Arts Practice; Printmaking; Lens Based Processes
2010-11 Lecturer in Art & Design, Cadbury College, Birmingham (part-time)
2010-11 Artist Tutor in Art & Design, mac, Birmingham (part-time)


2021 The New Art Gallery Walsall, Twenty Twenty Collection, UK ("Lockdown Hair, Who Cares?" triptych)
2021 The Drawing Museum, Ladies Drawing Club, St Petersburg, Russia ("Human Algorithm V”)

2021-current Spilt Milk Gallery, Edinburgh, UK