Kate Phelps

“Important Work” | Mapping Embodiment at UW-Madison

Collage of artwork. Top left is a painting of the outline of a person with flames on their head. The top right shows the outline of an adult on a scale with lines around them keeping the lightening away. The bottom left shows the outline of a human with roots and branches coming through their skull. Inside the outline shows the moon cycle and a tree. The bottom right shows someone meditating with a big heart.
Body Maps made by UW-Madison students and curated by artist and Professor Kate Phelps.

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:

3 thoughts on “Kate Phelps”

  1. Oh! I loved learning more about the Mapping Embodiment study you’ve been leading, Kate. So grateful to have the opportunity to learn from you and your students. What amazing body maps they have created. Thank you for doing and sharing this work, Kate.

  2. Kate! This is such a cool project. I love everything about it, thank you so much for sharing this brilliance!

  3. This is such important work. Each map is so beautiful – and each a step toward accepting and befriending ourselves and our bodies in some way. I look forward to participating in a workshop myself.

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