Body Mapping

Representation of body mapping work

The body mapping project was part of a larger study about the ways gender and ideas about the body impact how HIV-positive people take their medications.

We worked with six women in Vancouver, BC and five men in London, ON, all of whom had experienced multiple and on-going trauma related to issues like addictions, stigma, sex work, colonization, and compromised mental health.

Three examples of how body mapping can help us visually communicate all the parts of ourselves…

The body mapping was a unique way to tap into the participants’ experiences using their emotions and artistic sensibilities. It was a transformative project for the women and men, and the researchers involved.

I have presented this information at many conferences, published papers and wrote a book about it that was published in 2017 (Remembering the Body: Ethical Issues in Body Mapping Research, Springer Press).

Katherine Boydell, an Australian researcher, is editing a volume about body mapping that is based on my book. It is called Applying Body Mapping in Research: An Arts-Based Method, and we collaborated on the concluding chapter.

When I introduced my students to Body Mapping during my new Creative Healing course – and they absolutely LOVED it!

Creations, like the ones above, are telling, healing and surprising as outlets for emotion, trauma and communication with themselves and others.

If you want to know more about how to create your own representation, please don’t hesitate to contact me and I’d love to chat about the best ways to move ahead with this self-exploration exercise.

Examples of my publications related to this work:

  • Orchard, T. (2017). Remembering the Body: Ethical Issues in Body Mapping Research. NYC: Springer Press (Springer Briefs in Anthropology- Anthropology and Ethics).
  • Orchard, T., Smith, T. & Michelow, W. (2014). Imagining Adherence: Body Mapping Research with HIV-Positive Men and Women in Canada, AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses, 30(4): 337-338.
  • Boydell, K. & Orchard, T. (2019). Closing Thoughts, (Invited) in Applying Body Mapping in Research: An Arts-Based Method, Ed. by K. Boydell,Submitted.

Find more like this via my Western University website.