The Pilgrimage of the Prodigal Daughter

When my daughter was a baby, I carried her 50 miles to my mother’s house. Partly as pilgrimage in atonement for my teenage sins, partly as protest march against the sanctity of motherhood, mostly because I couldn’t bear to go to Tumbletots.

This live documenting of that journey explores one person’s attempt to navigate a path trodden at least 7 billion times before. With the help of an audience, the performance embraces the inevitable failure of explaining. Whether we photograph every moment, or just pick flowers along the way, how can the ways we record our routes ever communicate what it’s like to walk them?

“I could sit and listen to this wandering tale all day long”

Emma Bettridge, Bristol Old Vic.

You can read more about this project here:

Philps, E (2023) The Pilgrimage of the Prodigal Daughter. In Slow Ways – Stories

Philps, E (2019) The mother artist in the age of performance reproduction, in: Marchevska, E (ed): Maternal subjectivities, London, Routledge Gender Studies.

Philps, E (2019) A global positioning system – On “finding myself”” in the Romantic Landscape,in K Johnson and J Johnston: Maternal geographies: mothering in and out of place, Bradford, Canada. Demeter Press.

Philps, E. (2017) the Pilgrimage of the Prodigal Daughter: a journey towards a practice. In: Re: Jacqueline Morreau; mythologies and the marginalised. Exhibition Zine pp.48-49