“Important Work” | Mapping Embodiment at UW-Madison
This exhibit shares body maps that UW students* created during Mapping Embodiment Workshops at UW-Madison, led by Dr. Kate Phelps. The images of the maps are accompanied by excerpts from the focus groups and interviews that followed the body mapping process. “Important Work” brings to life the meanings that workshop participants gave to the body mapping process and renders visible that which often goes unseen or unspoken. The maps explore various elements of embodiment and demonstrate the therapeutic foundations of body mapping in their expression of themes such as internal versus external desires and influences, as well as bodily relationships to spaces and communities. The images also symbolize growth, self-awareness, compassion, pain and violence, vulnerability, ownership and autonomy, freedom, resistance, and letting go.
*The images and excerpts in this exhibit are shared anonymously to protect the privacy and confidentiality of workshop participants.
View UW-Madison students’ body maps:
Learn more and create your own body map:
"It felt like taking back my body. This can be mine."Body Mapping Workshop Participant
"I found compassion for myself. It gave me warmth. I was being true to myself and my community."Body Mapping Workshop Participant
Katherine A. Phelps is a lecturer in the Gender and Women’s Studies Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She completed a Ph.D. in Sociology in December 2019 from the University of Massachusetts-Boston. Her research interests include body politics, embodiment, digital feminisms, girlhood studies, fat studies, and feminist theory and pedagogies. She is currently leading “Mapping Embodiment,” a UW-Madison body mapping research study, funded by the 4W Initiative. She is honored to be able to share body maps created by UW-Madison students in this exhibition.