Human beings are natural storytellers. But what role do these shared narratives – stories collected from friends, folklore, and first hand experience – have in shaping the complicated decisions we make around contraception?
Most women and those assigned female at birth will make choices based on their personal circumstances – from relationships to religion – to control their fertility for nearly forty years. The conversation around contraception is continually evolving as people exercise their right to select, stop and swap methods to suit their needs.
Visualising a series of non-linear life stages, Bodylore uses informal interviews conducted by a small group of volunteers with 52 cisgender women aged between 19 and 47, to examine the stories people tell each other about contraception and the reproductive body. In highlighting these conversations, and the active role they play in decision making, the exhibition aims to encourage fresh dialogue and improve the future experience of making contraceptive choices.
Bodylore is open to the public from 3rd- 8th October at Number 11, Dray Walk, near Brick Lane, London.
The Bodylore exhibition is based on research directed by Dr Victoria Newton, a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care and conducted by a team of 18 volunteer researchers interviewing friends or family members for a project entitled ‘Reproductive Bodylore’ which explores the role of informal everyday information, communication, and culture in decision-making about contraception.
Reproductive Bodylore: The Role of Vernacular Knowledge in Women’s Contraceptive Decision-Making was funded by an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Grant (AH/S011587/1) and led by a team at The Open University (OU) in partnership with Public Health England and The Folklore Society. The exhibition was created and designed by The Liminal Space