Using archival materials, art and poetry to improve sexual and reproductive global health training and programs (D5 Knowledge translation and dissemination of research and programme outcomes)

Conference Paper

Background: Since 2000, critiques of international clinical research have emphasized the need to prevent unnecessary duplication, reduce wastage of results and learn from the past. This also applies to global health research and work. A university course now trains global health students to use archival materials to avoid “re-inventing the wheel”, while applying lessons on what works and identifying coverage gaps. Published and grey literature can identify how HIV and AIDS, gender, sexual orientation and reproductive rights have been tackled through behavior communication, education, training, activism. Insights gained lead to re-use and updating of successful approaches, inform new approaches and take into account the needs and desires of the people affected. Description: Trainees apply "concrete poetry", an art technique best illustrated by Tom Phillips´ Humument project, to process materials from a sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) archive, culminating in reflective writing and public presentations. After choosing a page from archival materials, participants use the word-based art technique, effacing most of the text using color markers, fabric, stickers, ephemera, etc.; they leave words, phrases, and letters on the page which flow together to create an entirely new story and artwork. Lessons learned: The course helps trainees learn the importance of archival material for the future of global health and SRHR. We offer a description of participant learning through an analysis of both the resulting Humument artwork and the written reflective essay. A common theme was transforming negative narratives associated with challenges related to HIV, violence and stigma into messages of hope and increased agency on the part of affected persons. Participants also reflect on how the evolution of global health approaches can be seen through both successes and failures of interventions and health programs. Conclusions/Next steps: We hope future trainees and workers in SRHR will incorporate successful past approaches into their programs, giving space to the perspectives of people affected. A new grant will develop training materials, such as a graphic novel, based on archival material showing how the treatment of women living with HIV has changed over the past three decades and how women have confronted HIV transmission in different parts of the world.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Stewart, K; Ingold, R; de Bruyn, M; Swain, K

Published Date

  • 2018

Conference Name

  • 22nd International AIDS Conference

Conference Location

  • Amsterdam

Conference Start Date

  • July 23, 2018

Conference End Date

  • July 27, 2018