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From her story, to our story: Digital storytelling as public engagement around abortion rights advocacy in Ireland

Lookup NU author(s): Lydia Michie, Dr Madeline Balaam, Timur Osadchiy, Dr Kellie Morrissey



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2018 Association for Computing Machinery. Despite the divisive nature of abortion within the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, where access to safe, legal abortion is severely restricted, effecting legislative reform demands widespread public support. In light of a building pro-choice counter-voice, this work contributes to a growing body of HCI research that takes an activist approach to design. We report findings from four design workshops with 31 pro-choice stakeholders across Ireland in which we positioned an exploratory protosite, HerStoryTold, to engender critical conversations around the use of sensitive abortion narratives as a tool for engagement. Our analysis shows how digital storytelling can help reject false narratives and raise awareness of the realities of abortion laws. It suggests design directions to curate narratives that provoke empathy, foster polyvocality, and ultimately expand the engaged community. Furthermore, this research calls for designers to actively support community mobilization through providing 'stepping stones' to activism.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Michie L, Balaam M, McCarthy J, Osadchiy T, Morrissey K

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings

Year of Conference: 2018

Online publication date: 21/04/2018

Acceptance date: 02/04/2018

Date deposited: 27/06/2018

Publisher: Association for Computing Machinery


DOI: 10.1145/3173574.3173931

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781450356206