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From Her Story, to Our Story: Digital Storytelling as Public Engagement around Abortion Rights Advocacy in Ireland

Author(s): Lydia Michie, Madeline Balaam, John McCarthy, Timur Osadchiy, Kellie Morrissey

In: CHI '18: Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, No Paper no 357, 2018, pp. 1-16

The divisive nature of abortion within the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland meant that access to safe, legal abortion has been severely restricted. This paper focuses on how achieving legal reform requires changing public opinion, and contributes to a growing body of Health Care Informed (HCI) research that takes an activist approach to designing digital story-telling. The authors report findings from four design workshops with 31 pro-choice stakeholders across Ireland in which they used a digital storytelling platform – HerStoryTold - to promote critical conversations around sensitive abortion narratives. The findings show how digital storytelling can help reject false narratives and raise awareness of the realities of abortion laws. The authors also suggest the workshops provide design directions to curate narratives that ‘provoke empathy, foster a plurality of voices, and ultimately expand the engaged community.’