Dr Katherine Carroll & Dr Rebecca Mayo: Soft Advocacy

Join us for a talk by Dr Katherine Carroll & Dr Rebecca Mayo:

Soft Advocacy: How a quilt is bringing bereaved parents’ experiences of lactation after infant death to the centre of conversations with health care professionals.


Dr Katherine Carroll and Dr Rebecca Mayo will discuss findings from Carroll’s Australian Research Council funded study exploring motherhood and health service delivery in the context of lactation after infant death. Their presentation will focus on the collaboration between artist/researchers Lucy Irvine and Mayo and sociologists Carroll and Debbie Noble-Carr. The presentation will show how collaborative, feminist and care-based processes undertaken by the researchers produced a quilt whose materiality is holding parents bereaved by stillbirth, neonatal and older infant death at the centre of discussions about lactation care during workshops with healthcare professionals. The quilt is printed and dyed with locally collected plants. Breast milk (like the traditional use of soy or buffalo milk) modified the plant colours. Imbuing the cloth with breast milk acknowledges the value and importance of lactation care and the milk itself.

If you would like to see and handle the quilt, please join the discussion in person. The quilt contains the words of bereaved parents reflecting on their own experiences and emotions and as such may be distressing and upsetting.

Australian Red Cross Lifeblood supported this project by providing pasteurised donor human milk that could not be used to feed babies, under Lifeblood HREC approval (2021#11). Thanks to the generous milk donors who gave permission for their milk to be used in this project.

For 24hr phone support please call:

Red Nose Grief and Loss 1300 308 307

Lifeline 13 11 14

For more information go to the ANU Lactation After Infant Death Study.

Image: Lactation after loss memorial quilt, Lucy Irvine and Rebecca Mayo in collaboration with Debbie Noble-Carr and Katherine Carroll, silk, linen, hemp, cotton, natural dyes, breast milk, hand and machine stitched. Photo credit: Brenton McGeachie

Sir Roland Wilson Building Theatrette

Room 2.02, ground floor, 120 McCoy Circuit, Acton 2601

Those who can't attend in person, can join via Zoom: https://anu.zoom.us/j/85040251751?pwd=RDlGbDVxNmpTUW9TVzdYQXUyVkhyUT09

Password: 847106

Search this site only

Updated:  23 August 2023/Responsible Officer:  CASS Marketing & Communications/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications