Exploring the tricky questions: Embodied story telling as a basis for discussing sex and relationships

kate senior and laura grozdanovskiw

Successfully engaging young people in discussions about sex and relationships is really hard.

This seminar will describe the use of scenario driven research methods. These kinds of methods are particularly useful when the research topic is sensitive and when people may not wish to divulge information about their own personal experiences.

We will focus on the use of body-mapping, where a group of people work together to decorate a body in response to a scenario. The group narratives which develop from this method provide rich insights into the way people think about a particular topic, in a safe environment where individual responses cannot be identified.

Kate Senior is a medical anthropologist with 20 years of experience working in remote Indigenous communities in Australia to explore people’s understandings of health and well-being, and their relationships with their health services. Kate has a particular interest in the health and well-being of Indigenous adolescents and was awarded an Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship in 2012 to explore how young people live and understand the social determinants of health. Previous to this, Kate led a multi-state ARC linkage project to explore young people’s sexual health and their understandings of risk, vulnerability and relationships. As part of this research, Kate worked with a range of innovative and youth friendly research methods, such as body mapping to effectively engage young people in discussions of sexual health.

Laura Grozdanovski has recently completed her Honours Research Thesis in which she explored the interconnections which exist between Quality of Life, sexuality and sexual pleasure through a case study of one male living with a disability, categorised as Acquired Brain Injury. Laura situated the individual case study at the centre of her research as it was from the individual’s central and personalised experience that she was then able to explore the radiating components which encompassed the external world of disability research. Laura is currently working as a research assistant for Associate Professor Kate Senior and has been part of the development of the ‘Life Happens’ resource, which has been established from a long history of research in which Kate was involved in both Western and South Australia, which aimed to engage with young people in a sensitive and acceptable manner about relationships and sexual health.

Chair: Dr Susan Collings

Organisational units