School of English

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Nicky Grace

Research Student,


Research Summary

Current Status

PhD (full-time) - currently registered

Research Topic

Being with woman: a creative-critical exploration of midwifery identity and aspects of the mother/midwife relationship.

Research Summary

Midwifery memoir as a genre contributes to cultural ideas and narratives of what it means to be a midwife. Midwifery memoirs also inevitably reflect on aspects of birth and motherhood. My research intends to explore midwifery memoir from a variety of perspectives including personal autobiographical writing and a feminist critical exploration of my own work and of midwifery memoir in general.

Through writing a creative memoir I aim to reflect on themes including my motivations for becoming a midwife; the challenges and rewards of being a midwife over 21 years; the midwife/mother relationship and meanings of birth and motherhood.

The critical component of my thesis will draw on feminist literary and critical theory, as well as midwifery theory and practice. In addition to critically examining my own memoir, I will explore contemporary and historical accounts which inform cultural narratives of the meanings of midwifery and birth.

Research Interests

I have a broad range of research interests which include writing by and about midwives; writing about childbirth and health; gender and identity.

As a practising registered midwife I've worked on clinical research into diverse subjects including induction of labour for older mothers and delayed cord clamping for premature babies. I am currently a Trial Steering Group member as a midwife consultant for the NIHR funded GBS3 trial. This is a "landmark clinical trial ... aiming to improve the prevention of potentially life-threatening infection caused by group B Streptococcus in newborn babies in the UK."

My Master's thesis from 2011 is entitled: A Qualitative Exploration of how Women Experience the Pain of Labour in Different Birth Settings.

Research Supervisors

Lila Matsumoto

Thomas Legendre

Phoebe Pallotti

Publications (not including editorials and website articles)

Authors' reply: K F Walker, K O'Donoghue, N Grace, J Dorling, J L Comeau, W Li, J G Thornton (December 2020) Maternal transmission of SARS‐COV‐2 to the neonate, and possible routes for such transmission: A systematic review and critical analysis. June 2020 BJOG An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology

K F Walker, K O'Donoghue, N Grace, J Dorling, J L Comeau, W Li, J G Thornton (2020) Maternal transmission of SARS‐COV‐2 to the neonate, and possible routes for such transmission: A systematic review and critical analysis. June 2020 BJOG An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology

Grace, N. (2019). 'A Bedsitter of One's Own'. In N. Grace (ed.) New Perspectives 2019: Harold Gilman Beyond Camden Town [Zine], pp. 19 - 23.

Grace, Nicky (2019) Archiving Midwifery Midwifery Matters 161: pp 22-23

Grace, Nicky (2018) Has Anybody Seen My Friend (poem) Midwifery Matters 158: p 30

Grace, Nicky (2018) Persecution: It's Time to Stop Midwifery Matters 156: p 8

Grace, Nicky (2017) Poetry: A Tool for Reflection Midwifery Matters 154: p 7

Grace, N (2017) Supporting Women for Labour and Birth: A thoughtful guide [Review of Supporting Women for Labour and Birth: A thoughtful guide. Leap, Nicky and Hunter, Billie] Midirs 27:2 p 270

Walker KF, Dritsaki M, Bugg G, Macpherson M, McCormick C, Grace N, Wildsmith C, Bradshaw L, Smith GCS, Thornton JG. (2017) Labour induction near term for women aged 35 or over: an economic evaluation. British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 124: pp 929-934.

Walker, KF, Bugg GJ, Macpherson M, McCormick C, Grace N, Wildsmith C, Bradshaw L, Smith GC, Thornton JG. (2016) Randomized Trial Of Labor Induction In Women 35 Years Of Age Or Older. New England Journal of Medicine 374.9: pp 813-822.

Grace, Nicky (2014) A Baby Came Out of my Vagina!!! At Home!!!! Or how we do birth at Nottingham Home Birth Group Midwifery Matters 140: pp 5-6.

Conference and Seminar Papers and Presentations

13/06/2020 Birthing Rights During COVID-19 (online conference - part of the Association of Radical Midwives' Summer National Meeting) Organised and Chaired online (Zoom) National Meeting

07/02/2020 Attending to Literature conference, University of Nottingham. Chaired panel on 'Modernity, work and attention'

06/02/2020 The Politics of Maternity Care (invited talk at conference organised by midwifery degree students at the University of Nottingham as part of politics module).

22/01/2020 Stories to Live By: Narrative and Identity. Presentation at Winterschool in Narrative at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands.

Presentation: With woman: narrating aspects of identity as midwife and mother through a creative/critical thesis.

11/11/2019 Creative Writing Workshop, The Women's Centre, Nottingham

Workshop: The Journaling Journey: How keeping a journal can benefit your life and your creativity

07/11/2019 University of Nottingham School of English Annual PGR Symposium

Presentation: With woman: a creative/critical thesis exploring aspects of the mother/midwife relationship.

25/10/2019 University of Nottingham, Division of Midwifery

Presentation: My journey to life as an independent midwife (invited talk)

KF Walker, J Gray, S Petrou, S Ayers, R Ogollah, E Mitchell, J Dorling, J Plumb, JG Thornton, S Downe, V Taylor, N Grace, D Parry, T Cooper, S Ojha, J Daniels (2019) The clinical & cost-effectiveness of testing for Group B Streptococcus: a cluster randomised trial with economic & acceptability evaluations (GBS-3)

01/03/2019 Health Humanities Research Group Seminar.

Presentation: Archiving Midwifery.

Andy Simm and Nicky Grace (2015) The Gentle Caesarean: What it is and how to do it. Presentation and workshop at: Oxytocin (National Conference of the Association of Radical Midwives) October 2015, Nottingham, UK

Grace, Nicky and Aurelie Dudeffand (2014) Choice, Control, Change: Why feminism matters for birth. Seminar presentation at: Nottingham Women's Conference, November 20, 2014, Nottingham, UK.

Grace, Nicky (2012) A pilot qualitative study exploring how women prepare for and experience the sensations of labour when giving birth at home. Poster presentation at: Nottingham International Conference for Education and Research in Midwifery, September 8-9, 2012, Nottingham, UK.

Grace, Nicky (2012) 35-39 Trial: research midwife perspective. Meeting presentation at: 35/39 Trial Launch Meeting, May 2012, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, London, UK.

Public Engagement

January 2019. 'A Bedsitter of One's Own: viewing Gilman and Camden Town in the light of Woolf and Bloomsbury'. Presentation and commentary on the 'Harold Gilman: Beyond Camden Town' exhibition for the 'New Perspectives' project to a public audience at Lakeside, the University of Nottingham.

Additional Information

I am a practising registered midwife, working clinically as an independent midwife and an active researcher involved with both clinical and humanities research relating to midwifery and birth.

Editor of Midwifery Matters September 2018 - December 2020

Website editor and journalist for 2017 - 2020

On the organising committee of the national conference of the Association of Radical Midwives

School of English

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