The following is a list of research questions I’ve developed to begin my exploration into the world of reborn babies.
- What is the history of reborn babies?
In addition to what is available online and in published resources I will conduct interviews to learn about the emergence and growth of reborn babies. I will initially focus on a North American context due to my current location.
- Who is interested in this hobby?
One of the first questions I hear from people after describing my research is about who buys reborn dolls. I see so many different people engaged in the reborn community, I’m sure there are many different, and personal, answers to this question.
- What is the range of practices among reborn enthusiasts?
Some people are more interested in collecting while others enjoy role-playing. Many reborn mothers upload their videos to YouTube. Reborn baby community groups on Facebook have hundreds or even thousands of members. I’d like to find out more about the variety of motivations and experiences of reborners.
- In what regions of the world are reborns popular?
While reborns appear to have originated in the US, Australia, and the UK, the hobby is growing quickly. There are related hobbies such as doll collecting and doll shows which can be found in many regions and likely overlap with reborns, contributing to the growth of the hobby.
- Who is involved in the chain of reborn doll production?
e.g. Doll consumer, reborn artists, doll parts (kits) and tools suppliers (such as Dollssoreal, and Bountiful Baby), doll kit sculptors. By mapping these people, their practices, and the economics of their work, a full picture of the reborn economy will emerge. Reborns are unique in that they cannot be mass produced in any way that achieves the level of detail and realism expected by consumers. Tracing the work of doll sculptors and suppliers should offer the best estimate of the size of the reborn market.
- What is on the horizon for reborns in the future?
Unique reborns occasionally go ‘viral’ online such as the Avatar silicone babies (by the Spanish Babyclon company) which were trending in 2016. Will unique dolls continue to draw attention and grow the reborn market? Will artists such as Jamie Diamond, Desirée Holman, and Rachel Lee Hovnanian continue to take up this unique sub-culture in their work?
- What new insights or reflections does this practice prompt in a variety of academic disciplines?
From performance studies to anthropology, from fine arts to psycho-analysis, reborn dolls exist at the intersection of many fields. I hope to examine reborns from a variety of perspectives and prompt discussions across disciplines and in conversation with community members as well.
- Is this hobby like any other? If yes, which ones? If no, why is that?
As I embark on this research journey I find it difficult to find solid footing within any single discipline or comparable topic. I will return to this question as I explore this topic.
What would you like to know about reborns?