Integration of Technology and Storytelling to Create a Visual Art Exhibit on Women's Health (2019-2020)


The cervix is the portal for human life, yet it is a site of invisibility. The embarrassment and lack of awareness surrounding reproductive anatomy is often rooted in deep-seated stigma and shame. This has significant healthcare ramifications, resulting in women avoiding self-care.

Studies of American women have found that 65% cannot identify a picture of the cervix, an integral part of female anatomy, and 55% admit to keeping secrets from their gynecologists, perhaps out of embarrassment related to issues pertaining to this part of the body. Thus, it is critical to educate women about their reproductive anatomy and foster an environment of positive self-image in order to promote improved health outcomes.

Project Description

This Bass Connections project will help women learn about their own reproductive anatomy through a technology called the Callascope, a Duke-developed device that allows for self-exploration of female reproductive anatomy in an interactive and private way. This process of self-exploration coupled with women’s perceptions of their own bodies will be the inspiration for a community art campaign that will spark conversations on female anatomy and women’s health.

The project’s main goal is to give the cervix visibility in a way that empowers women to be active agents of their sexual health and advocates for transformative healthcare models. The project will bring together three key innovations: 1) the Callascope; 2) live imagery of the cervix that has been largely inaccessible to date; and 3) storytelling that is created by women for women.

Through this participatory research framework, this project team will create a platform through which to shift the narrative of shame and invisibility that surrounds the female reproductive anatomy.

Anticipated Outputs

In-depth interviews and audio reflections on women’s health; visual arts exhibit for academic and public audiences; sociological and critical theory publications


Fall 2019 – Spring 2020

  • Fall 2019: Begin team meetings; learn IRB process for human subjects research; begin research and discussion on intersection between health fields and the arts; develop interview guide; develop call for artists for project exhibit
  • Spring 2020: Transcribe interview and reflection data; begin data analysis using NVivo; begin research and planning for art exhibit curation

Team Outputs

The (In)visible Organ


Destigmatizing Women’s Health

This Team in the News

How Art Sets Women Free

Empowering Women through Technology, Self-Exploration and Art


Images: Courtesy of Center for Global Women’s Health Technologies

Courtesy of Center for Global Women’s Health Technologies.

Team Leaders

  • Wesley Hogan, Franklin Humanities Institute
  • Deborah Jenson, Arts & Sciences-Romance Studies
  • Keny Murillo Brizuela, Pratt School of Engineering-Biomedical Engineering
  • Nimmi Ramanujam, Pratt School of Engineering-Biomedical Engineering

/graduate Team Members

  • Fati Gangaran, MFA/Experimental and Doc Arts
  • Ofelia Lopez, Romance Studies-PHD
  • Jason Mulligan, Music-PHD

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Autumn Blamoville, Program II (BS)
  • Arielle Hutchinson
  • Sujal Manohar, Neuroscience (BS), Visual Arts (AB2)
  • Simone Nabors
  • Simran Prakash
  • Shagun Vashisth, Biology (BS), Global Health (AB2)
  • Lucy Zheng, Biology (BS)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Libby Dotson, Pratt School of Engineering-Biomedical Engineering
  • Megan Huchko, School of Medicine-Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Marlee Krieger, Pratt School of Engineering-Biomedical Engineering
  • Gita Suneja, School of Medicine-Radiation Oncology

/zcommunity Team Members

  • Planned Parenthood
  • Sister Song
  • Jeff Polish, The Monti