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THE 2020 FESTIVAL OF SOCIAL SCIENCE
DIGITAL-FIRST EVENT 7-15 NOV 2020
FoSS and ESRC logos

Freebirthing in the UK: Understanding the lived experience using I-poetry

15th November 2020 11.00 - 12.00
Exhibition/demonstration

About this event

This presentation is hosted by Gemma McKenzie who is researching women's narratives of freebirthing in the UK. Freebirth occurs when women intentionally give birth without health care professionals present. The study is an ESRC funded project which is supported by the human rights charity AIMS (Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services www.aims.org.uk). The presentation is in 3 parts:

The first part is a discussion of freebirth and an overview of existing research on the subject. This will then move on to consideration of emerging findings from The Freebirth Study UK, which will touch on subjects such as informed consent and refusal, obstetric violence, coercion, the medicalisation of childbirth and women's rights during pregnancy and birth.

The second part is an exploration of the methodology used to analyse the data from 16 women who shared their stories of freebirth. The Voice Centred Relational Method will be discussed with an emphasis on I-poetry. This is a form of poetic inquiry that uses interview transcripts to form poetry with the words of interviewees.

The talk will culminate with a short film made with input from interviewees which presents some of the poetry from the study. These poems are recited by mothers, some of whom were participants in the research while others are birth workers and activists. The video was made with film maker C.K.Morrison and graphic designer Jana Vodickova.

All are welcome to this talk but it will be particularly relevant to those interested in freebirth and human rights in childbirth, in addition to people who want to explore innovative methodologies in the social sciences and particularly the use of the arts to disseminate research findings.