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HOME BIRTH (Black Box)

Collaboration with Dr. Sarah Stock


In 2019, we will be working with Sarah to explore ways of engaging the public with her research into decision making in stressful situations - focusing on childbirth. This Wellcome funded research is a fantastic opportunity for DM.


Pregnancy – the BLACKBOX: an interactive performance game exploring how women, their partners, families and healthcare providers deal with uncertainty and come together to make decisions about care in pregnancy.

Making treatment decisions in pregnancy is particularly complex. Decisions are often made on a background of internal conflict (between needs of the mother and of the developing baby) and external pressures (strong societal/cultural influences on childbirth; limited healthcare resource). Pregnancy itself is a ‘black box’ as key scientific questions about babies’ growth and development remain unanswered. Opinions from different healthcare providers (midwives, doctors, doulas) can oppose, whilst disasters resulting from medicine use in pregnancy (eg thalidomide) contribute to mistrust. New legislation (Montgomery versus Lanarkshire) means there is a legal requirement of healthcare providers to ensure parents are aware of ‘material risks’, but there is tension between full discussion and engendering fear.

Both parents and maternity carers commonly express feelings of uncertainty, conflict, responsibility, pressure and guilt surrounding medical decision-making in pregnancy. These themes are ideal to explore and present through theatre and role-play.


Our aim is to promote shared understanding and expectations around decision-making for pregnancy treatments.

OMAGEMI - dilemma card game


Our first trial of the public engagement project we've been working on with Wellcome and the University of Edinburgh. OMAGEMI has taken the form of a dilemma card game that focuses on the invisible matter of discussions that can influence decision-making, but that is rarely taken into account. Today we will present the game to a conference for research midwives who are looking for strategies to encourage greater uptake from clinicians and patients to medical drug trials.

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