Early Career Research Grant awarded by the AHRC

Dr Victoria Newton, Senior Research Fellow, has been awarded an Early Career Research Grant by the AHRC for a project titled Reproductive Bodylore: the role of vernacular knowledge in women’s contraceptive decision-making.

The project draws together folklore studies and health research. An approach which is uniquely innovative and novel. The study of vernacular knowledge can tell us much about everyday understandings of health and the body and can provide fresh insights into both individual and group attitudes towards, as well as experiences of, the reproductive body.

The project comprises two Work Packages and a dissemination stage which will strengthen links between The Open University and project partners Public Health England and The Folklore Society.

Work Package 1 will involve re-analysis of project data from a number of previous studies Victoria Newton (PI) and Lesley Hoggart (Co-I) have undertaken on women’s contraceptive use and reproductive control. This analysis will inform the development of topic guides for Work Package 2.

Work Package 2 is a placement for Victoria at Public Health England (PHE). This strand involves participatory research and will involve consulting with, including and working together with up to 20 lay researchers, who will undertake interviews and focus groups among their own friendship/kinship and social networks. The placement will also involve sharing findings and implications for practice via 6-8 focus groups with clinicians at clinic sites across the UK. This package will conclude with a one-day symposium at The Folklore Society.

The project will culminate in a Public Engagement exhibition designed and curated by The Liminal Space. The Reproductive Bodylore exhibition will be interactive and visitors will be invited to contribute their own thoughts and stories about contraception. The aim of the exhibition will be to demystify stories of contraception and invite engagement. The exhibition will also be showcased at sexual health practitioner conferences.