UCLIC Research Seminar Series

UCLIC Research Seminar 7th June: Madeline Balaam, Newcastle University – Digital Women's Health
Madeline Balaam, Newcastle University, UK


UCLIC Research Seminar 7th June: Madeline Balaam, Newcastle University – Digital Women's Health


Women's understanding about their own body and their access to quality health information and services is deeply influenced by their social, cultural, political context. As a result, the World Health Organisation has identified that women face significant discrimination globally in terms of access to and information about healthcare. This discrimination has significant negative impact globally on women's health and wellbeing. Digital technologies have been identified as one potential route to address these inequalities.

My research has responded to this by investigating digital technology as a site for re-inventing social and cultural perspectives of the female body, and-imagining and re-designing women's health interactions and systems. In this talk I focus on two distinct research projects from the last five years. FeedFinder - a mobile tool aimed at mapping women's experiences of public breastfeeding, and Labella - a tool designed for embodied discovery of a woman's intimate anatomy. I will show how you can use design as a mode of inquiry that enables knowledge creation, and critical public discourse; a research methodology that combines Research-through-Design with a feminist approach to Human Computer Interaction.


Madeline Balaam is a lecturer in Interaction Design at the Newcastle University, UK. As an expert in Human Computer Interaction, Madeline works at the intersection of the design and development of novel digital interactions and their deployment and evaluation in the real world. She has undertaken this work both within western contexts, and resource constrained settings.

Madeline currently oversees a team of nine researchers, all exploring aspects of the application of digital technologies within health, wellbeing and education. She co-leads the 'Digital Public Health' strand of research of the Digital Economy Research Centre at Open Lab.

Madeline has fifteen years' experience designing for digital public health and wellbeing, and is an expert in the user-centred design of digital technologies, with a particular emphasis on designing with adolescents and youth. Within this area, Madeline has undertaken a wide-range of research, from investigating tools for emotional expression, managing chronic disease, or improving access to education and learning.

Madeline has a growing interest and expertise in issues of sexual and reproductive health. Her particular expertise is enabling innovation in design methods to enable design work around such intimate concepts, through to the careful and sensitive application of digital technologies within this domain.


Madeline Balaam is being hosted by Aneesha Singh. If you would like to set up a meeting with Madeline please contact Aneesha.