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24. KEYNOTE :: The pursuit of honouring women’s childbirth narratives through visual arts-based research @ Room 1, BBB
May 5 @ 21:00 – 21:50
24. KEYNOTE :: The pursuit of honouring women’s childbirth narratives through visual arts-based research @ Room 1, BBB

Keynote Speaker: Kaveri Mayra

Facilitators: Cecilia Jevitt and Raquel Kelly Justiniano

Obstetric violence has engulfed the world, making it an epidemic that goes unnoticed while being in front of our eyes, with birth being a part of all our lives. I was horrified when I noticed it first as an adolescent midwifery and nursing student over 15 years ago in my home state, and then around the country in India. My readings led to the realization that the problem isn’t Indian, or Asian, women were being violated and are birthing in dehumanized conditions globally, including the developed countries with well funded health systems. My research, spanning over a decade, inherently focused on bringing out these stories of birth in all it’s reality, embracing its joy, fear, shame, stigma and all its sensitivities. Visual arts based research gave me the tools to cross the barriers of power, language and cultural norms based inequities, to explore and understand women’s stories of birth involving trauma and violence. After studying through various traditional forms of data collection and analysis in research, birth mapping (an adaptation of body mapping) was born, as a revelation that presented the embodied birthing experiences in their holistic form. My work brings forth midwives and nurses perspectives and experiences, as key stakeholders in caring for women during childbirth and a crucial missing voice in finding ways to ensure respectful care. My research is embedded in critical feminist theory and uses an intersectional inequities lens to acknowledge women and birthing people’s unique experiences and how it is impacted by their positionality across the intersections. This is essential to address from the gentlest to the most traumatic forms of obstetric violence and to ensure equity in birth.