In November 2018, we invited women with endometriosis to join us for our first materials workshop. The session was led by Helen Mather, an independent art consultant, and was hosted by us at Manchester Metropolitan University.
We chose to work with materials because we wanted to explore whether a hands-on practice based approach can help articulate pain. We also wanted to see whether or not there is a relationship between verbal metaphors for for endometriosis pain and visual metaphors for endometriosis pain.
We gave women a variety of hard and soft materials and instructed them through multiple activities to see how they visualised their endometriosis pain.
“I have an inflated balloon inside my tummy at all times.”
The workshop proved to be incredibly beneficial in helping visualise and express different types of pain. Through group discussion, reflection and using the materials as a tool to support and demonstrate your thinking, the workshop helped the participants gain a tangible hold of the pain they so frequently experience.
Wadding stuffed inside tights wrapped in metal cutoffs and fishing wire meant to represent insides being “strangled” and “restricted” by something foreign.
We put together a booklet that summarises the day and some of our findings, along with further illustrations and quotes.