Decolonising Gynaecology: A Workshop by GynePunk

Chisenhale Studios, London

29th July 2017

Decolonising Gynaecology is a workshop led by Klau Kinky, founding member of the informal Barcelona-based collective GynePunk. The workshop will introduce GynePunk's open-source gynaecological kit for self-diagnosis to relevant groups and practitioners in London. The kit was conceived in resistance to experiences of humiliation, discrimination and judgement in public gynaecology clinics. GynePunk is a collaboration between people of different backgrounds, from nurses to engineers and transfeminists. Their activism promotes self-knowledge and learning about our own bodies. Offering a counterpoint to the authority of expert opinion, they explore patient-led diagnosis and treatment through their mobile lab.

Klau Kinky will share the circumstances that led to the development of the DIY gynaecological tools for self-diagnosis, including an open-source microscope, a 3D printed speculum and a centrifuge. Workshop participants will discuss the political implications and limitations of the DIY kit, such as how it could serve persons without sufficient access to healthcare, those without a fixed home, refugees, sex workers, or those who fear discrimination in public health services. The kit can also be contextualised within a wider development, bringing medical knowledge and treatment back into communities.

The workshop is designed to encourage an exchange amongst participants and workshop leaders about the political implications and limitations of the kit. Interested individuals coming from activist, academic, artistic, healthcare and patient perspectives are invited to participate. The session will take place around a large table to encourage learning in all directions. Participants will learn basic self-analysis which they can try at home. We will conclude with drinks and snacks on the canal-side patio to allow for informal conversation.

This workshop is organised by Nora Heidorn as part of her curatorial body of work Sick and Desiring: Artists Subvert the Medical Gaze, that negotiates the reproductive body in the 21st century between conservative powers and futuristic biotechnologies. Its objective is to demystify knowledge of our bodies that may be perceived as the domain of experts. It aims to encourage discussion about sexual and reproductive health and its politics and to destabilise hierarchies that govern who can have agency within this field.