Is your institution a babyspot yet?

By Charlotte Gruber, kraamcaravan, babyspot, huis van het kind

If your art institution is located in Oost-Vlaanderen, you can make your institution an official BabySpot1 as a first step to encourage a more family-friendly industry – and start cultivating conversations about what that means to the players within your field of practice – especially when it comes to those who create the cultural products you are selling. Your institution will be placed on an online map with other spots, making it easy for parents to locate your house as a place of parent-refuge when needed.

To qualify as a BabySpot you need a slightly private, decently warm space with a comfortable armchair or sofa to accommodate breastfeeding, a changing table, staff that is instructed to welcome kids, their natural behaviours, and is able to instruct parents on where to find what they need. Extra: provide a microwave or kettle for those who use formula and semi-solid food. Add a basket of second-hand toys for different age groups, and a small table and chair for older siblings. As an art institution, you might take pride in how creative you can get with this and how you provide what parents need.

What would it look like if we thought about the inclusion of little humans and their parents not as something necessary but as something to celebrate and go all-in with?

If your institution is not located in Oost-Vlaanderen, you can research similar initiatives around you. It is always an option to register your institution as a BabySpot and go beyond that by clarifying on your website to what extent you are family-friendly and in what ways you accommodate the needs of parents. This regards all visitors, art-makers, audiences and producers who have children. Make sure you list accessibly, and in detail, what you offer, how and where it can be found. Do not forget that parents have different needs according to the age of their children. Extra point: arrange conversations with parents from all target groups at your institution to collect and discuss ideas with them personally beforehand. You can use some of this month’s contributions to inspire the conversation: check, for instance, the testimony by Letizia Acosta on page and the guideline on page .

  1. BabySpot is an initiative by kraamcaravan, the expertise centre for maternity care in East Flanders, in collaboration with huis van het kind.