Submerged Bodies – Ashanti Hare, Tëan Roberts, Melanie Stidolph

Curated by Isla McGregor-Smith, Ashleigh Sirs an Sabrina Sudol – MA Curation students, University of Exeter.

Building upon the ideas and theories of Hydrofeminism put forth by Astrida Neimanis, who argues that we are all bodies of water inextricably connected to the natural world, Submerged Bodies: Mythical Reflections in South West Waters will explore the relationship between the artist’s body and water, whilst considering the myths that exist around gender and water. In the global context of environmental disaster, it is now, more than ever, important to re-learn how we can connect our bodies with nature and exist on our planet.

Conference: Picturing the unseen

Three years ago I posted this brilliant image by Elina Brotherus to share an article by Hettie Judah Why is it so hard to talk about fertility?. Artist Sally Butcher wrote ‘Thanks for sharing this ❤️’.

So pleased and uplifted to be co-programming with Hettie, Sally and MAC curator Roma Piotrowska this event around Hettie’s major touring exhibition Acts of Creation: On Art and Motherhood. Thank you to Hettie for the invitation.

Picturing the unseen: Grief and labour in and out of motherhood
Thursday 12 September 2024
MAC, Birmingham

Tickets now on sale (Pay what you can) on MAC site.

Join us for a symposium addressing experiences of (m)otherhood including; struggling to conceive, infertility, being childless not by choice, maternal grief and caring for chronically ill children.

Held in the context of the major exhibition ‘Acts of Creation: On Art and Motherhood’, this day-long event will feature presentations by artists, writers and art historians sharing their research and personal work around these subjects. This event is open to all.

The full programme will be released soon.

Image: ‘Carpe Fucking Diem’ by Elina Brotherus

New studio – Porthmeor Studios

Photograph of a room with wooden floor and white walls. A studio.

New art home @porthmeorstudios!

Just listened to @elizabday podcast where she talks about infertility as the canvas her life was written on 🤍. But also have Philip Guston quote ringing in my ears about all the people that come into the studio with you and how one by one they all leave your thoughts as you work, and if you’re lucky, you leave too. Somewhere in between then…

‘When you start working, everybody is in your studio – the past, your friends, enemies, the art world, and above all, your own ideas… But as you continue painting, they start leaving, one by one and you are left completely alone. Then if you’re lucky, even you leave.’ Philip Guston

Thank you Borlase Smart Trust for this beautiful new space!

Hospital Rooms Commission

Brilliant to be working with the wonderful Hospital Rooms team. 13 artists are working on workshops and installations for two mental health hospitals in Bodmin and Redruth, I’m delighted to be one of them.

Artists selected: Anna Barriball, Sovay Berriman, Phillippa Clayden, Janet Holland, Chantal Joffe, Alvin Koffe, Abigail Reynolds, Ro Robertson, Ben Sanderson, Melanie Stidolph, Maria Christoforidou and Viviane Vaux, Lucy Willow.

The Guardian

Brilliant that photographs and text from my book Endless Reproduction are featured in The Guardian – published yesterday.

Arts Council England grant

Absolutely delighted to be awarded an Arts Council England project grant!

The next dawn, the next spring will be based on a filmed performance around a rock pool in Cornwall, where a group of women will sing into the dusk and with the dawn. 

The next dawn, the next spring will bring together women who are childless not by choice in a supportive space. The performance will be developed through workshops held at Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange as part of the exhibition We Are Floating in Space, 11 February – 3 June 2023.

Scenes of women around the edge of the pool will be interspersed with images of limbs aligning with natural forms, seaweed and rock forms. These passages are symbolic of regaining joy, of being back in the world, aligning with nature, rather than being at odds.

The film and its future screenings are motivated by my experiences of infertility and childlessness and aim to give a platform for people who are childless not by choice, to give a voice to unheard experience and support moving to acceptance and joy.

This production is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and with the support of Newlyn Art Gallery and The Exchange.

We Are Floating in Space


Thank you to curators Bettina Wenzel and Blair Todd for inviting me into the exhibition We Are Floating in Space at Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange – 11 Feb to 3 June.

I’ll be showing my book Endless Reproduction, images from the Last Summer photo series and will be making a new video work The next dawn, the next spring during the run of the show.

A group show of artists who have made work in Cornwall and Devon, using ideas of the coast or the materials of the shoreline. The exhibition spans across both venues, featuring over twenty artists. The exhibition looks beyond the tradition of seascapes to showcase artists who use the coast to address themes within their contemporary art practice. In particular, it’s the space between the tides; the area that is in constant flux between being land and being sea, the overlap, the layering, a constant state of fluidity. It is this otherworldly place that artists have used to express ideas and themes within their work, whether its grieving, gender identity, the queer body, childlessness not by choice, looking for one’s tribe, and is illustrative of environmental concerns.

The twenty plus artists in the main exhibition include Delphi Baker, Simon Bayliss, Livvy Eden, Naomi Frears, Bryony Gillard, Christopher P Green, Anna Harris, Kitty Hillier, Fleur & Alastair Mackie, Rhys Morgan, Teän Roberts, Ro Robertson, Tanoa Sasraku, SHARP, Melanie Stidolph, Tom Stockley, Mary Trapp, Eleanor Turnbull, Huhtamaki Wab.

RWA Photo Open

Thank you to the selectors for the RWA Photo Open – Sian Bonnell, Susan Derges RWA, Judith Jones RWA, Amak Mahmoodian, Jem Southam and Tracy Marshall (Director of Development – The Royal Photographic Society).  

I am showing two works from the Last Summer series and in great company in a brilliant and varied show. RWA Photo Open Exhibition 2023 at the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol until 1 May 2023.

As it is seen – open!

Exhibition now open!



7 – 29 OCT 2022
WED – SAT / 10 – 4

Talks programme at Grays Wharf:

Saturday 22nd October, 3pm

Mandy Lee Jandrell, artist and Director of Institute of Photography and Falmouth School of Art, Falmouth University in conversation with Melanie Stidolph.

Saturday 29th October, 3pm

Come and hear Yvonne John author of ‘Dreaming of a Life Unlived: Intimate Stories and Portraits of Women Without Children’. Yvonne is a graduate of Gateway Women (GW) year-long Plan B Mentorship programme and is a trained facilitator of the GW reignite weekend workshops.

Book for talks at Grays Wharf website.


‘As it is seen’ finds a visual and poetic language for the artist’s experience of involuntary childlessness through two bodies of work.

A series of photographic works titled ‘Last Summer’ present scenes outside the artist’s direct experience. The works show families with young children at the edge of the sea. They focus on how we arrange ourselves and signal to others when we or they are in unfamiliar territory. These photographs look at the shape of groups and how togetherness is demonstrated through gestures and distance.

Stidolph says:
The slow observational process of creating the work is a form of healing; as I took the first shot of what has become a series, I realised it was the first time in a long time I could look long enough to compose a photograph, rather than look away from a family scene I could not recreate in my own life.

The exhibition will launch Stidolph’s first photo book: Endless Reproduction which shares a perspective of a journey to being childless not by choice.

From the Epigraph to the book:
2022. Cornwall, home. Twenty two years after having children became a focused ambition. I spent years in the mind of my imagined near future – trying to will an increasingly distant life closer to me, whilst trying to hold myself in the present.

The book is available from the gallery and direct from the artist’s website.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a free publication featuring an essay about Stidolph’s practice by writer Lizzie Lloyd ‘A body, in parts, interjects’ commissioned by Cultivator Cornwall, a response to the work ‘Endless Reproduction’ by Paola Paleari, curator and writer, and an interview with the artist by Stefanie Braun, freelance curator, commissioned by Photomonitor.

This exhibition is part of a new programme at Grays Wharf supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

As It Is Seen, solo show

Brilliant to be part of this programme!
📢 We’re very excited to announce that we’ve received an Arts Council National Lottery Project Grant for a new programme of exhibitions, workshops and a research strand.
Between now and early next year, we’ll be working with a fantastic group of artists who will bring their varied practices to Grays Wharf.
The programme spans performance, film, photography, sculpture, painting, and text-based works. We’re really looking forward to delivering this over the coming weeks and months and hope to see you at the shows!
A PODIUM / Amy Lawrence & Chloe Bonfield
DOWR TAMAR / Samuel Bestwick
AS IT IS SEEN / Melanie Stidolph
FOUR FOUR / Liam Jolly
RISE AND FALL / Janet Holland & Shallal Studios
ALSO: this programme allows us to employ an Intern, part-funded by the Cultivator Internship Programme. Thanks @cultivatorcornwall !!
Link to apply in bio
Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England