Born and Bred in Wakefield: New exhibition celebrating families living in Wakefield District launched

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Wakefield Museums & Castles’ new online exhibition explores the experience of families living in the Wakefield district who have recently had a baby.

The exhibition, entitled Born and Bred in Wakefield, introduces four young families who live in the Wakefield district. It features photographs, objects, and oral histories from the families as well as a film that documents their experiences of raising a family in the district in 2024.

The interactive exhibition also features the stories of midwives working for Mid Yorkshire Teaching NHS Trust as well as historic images of local families and hospital staff dating back to the late 1800s.

Councillor Michelle Collins, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said “It’s wonderful to see the experiences of local families shared and celebrated in this new online exhibition. Born and Bred in Wakefield explores the highs and lows of being a new parent in Wakefield and it’s fantastic to have these stories captured for the future in our local museums.”

The exhibition complements  Born and Bred in Wakefield (BaBi Wakefield), which is part of the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Yorkshire & Humber BaBi Network study. A research project which uses routine health, social and education data to create a picture of local people’s health and lifestyles over time.

Judith Holliday, Head of Research at Mid Yorkshire Teaching NHS Trust said: “BaBi Wakefield is a really important study helping us to better understand the health and wellbeing of local families.

“The study will give valuable insights into what works well and what can be made better. Over time this will help to shape local services, creating a healthier environment for families to enjoy.”

The Born and Bred in Wakefield exhibition features the first-hand experiences of four different families who are all taking part in the research study. Malvika speaks about the realities of parenting her two-year-old daughter Mishka whilst being pregnant with twins. Bex shares the challenges of conceiving her daughter Lucy through IVF. Isabelle speaks about some of the anxiety she experienced whilst pregnant with her son Marco, and how she is keen to try gentle parenting.

Charlie shares her experiences of being a single mum to son Levi and her hopes to home school him so that he can have the freedom to be himself.

Charlie said: “I’ve loved being part of the BaBi Wakefield exhibition with my son Levi. It’s nice to be able to capture this special moment in our lives and share it with others. I hope Levi will enjoy looking back at this snapshot of our life when he’s older.”

The museum service plans to follow the four families over the coming years, visiting them each year to document how their children are growing up. This will help them to collect and share the experiences of having a baby in Wakefield District in the 2020s.

Cllr Maureen Cummings, Cabinet Member for Communities, Poverty & Health, said: “This is a wonderful exhibition that shines a light on four families in our district and their experience of having a baby in 2024. It is also helping to support health research to benefit other families, as well as adding to historical records.”

The museum service is eager to hear from other families who are interested in sharing their own stories. If you’d like to be involved, please contact Leah Mellors, Museums Development Manager at lmellors@wakefield.gov.uk.

View the Born and Bred in Wakefield exhibition.

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