Reanimating and rematriating WRAP (MMU workshop with researchers.
Reanimating and rematriating WRAP (with staff and students at Manchester Metropolitan University): Documentation of a group discussion with adult researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University using data from the Women, Risk and AIDS Project (WRAP)
In 2019-2020 the ESRC funded 'Reanimating data: experiments with people, places and archives'. Part of the project involved staging a series of reanimations using data from interviews with young women from Manchester, conducted thirty years previously as part of the Women, Risk and AIDS Project (WRAP 1988-1990). Each reanimation involved a collaboration between young women, educators and researchers and used creative methods to explore the WRAP data and bring it to life in new ways.

In this group discussion four adult researchers try out and reflect on two reanimation methods. The first involves cutting out questions from the WRAP data that stand out to participants and then reasking these questions to each other in a group. The second method involves cutting out stories or moments from the data that participants think should be heard. Participants then revoice these moments in pairs. In their discussion the group reflect on both methods and discuss the Reanimating Data Project more widely. This is a long wide ranging discussion and the data has been edited and organised according to the two methods. The zip file contains:

* Transcription and audio recording of method 1 - reasking
* Transcription and audio recording of method 2 - save and revoice
Reanimating Data Project
Reanimating Data Project
Audio, Text
Temporal Coverage
Spatial Coverage
Greater Manchester, UK
CC BY-NC 4.0
extracted text
‘Save and revoice’ experiment: Transcription of an audio recording of a group of adult
researchers experimenting with the reanimating the WRAP data.
This document contains part of the transcription of an audio recording of a session that took place on
18th November 2019 at Manchester Metropolitan University. In the session the four adult researchers
pilot two methods for reanimating interview data from the Women, Risk and AIDS Project (WRAP)
archive. This workshop was part of the Reanimating data project. In the group are two members of the
Reanimating data project team (Ester and Ali) and two members of staff at MMU (Jo and Jayne).
This part of the transcript relates to the second ‘experiment’ with the WRAP data in this workshop. In
this section the group try out a method that three of them have just tried in a workshop with students.
Here participants read the WRAP data and select a story, scene or section that they think needs to be
heard by current or future generations – a bit of data that must not go missing or that needs to be
saved. In this workshop participants revoice the data by reading out loud in pairs.
The original transcript was completed by Type out transcription services and later edited by members
of the reanimating data project team.



Ester lays out data from two WRAP interviews on the table and messes the pages around.

ESTER: Well, what we could do is one of the things that we just asked the students to do is we could
look at…I’ll get another interview and then we can just choose which one we want to look
at, and to cut out a bit of the woman’s story that we think needs to be heard. So we did
something about missing discourses with the student group, and thinking, like, are there
aspects of these women’s stories that feel really important to pass on or to be heard that we
can put in the story pinata to be opened and shared with everybody at a public event? So we
could just see if we could find a moment…
JAYNE: Oh yes, I would quite like to do that.
ESTER: Yes? That we don’t want to be missing.
JAYNE: That’s important.
ESTER: So one of the things we’ve been thinking about a lot is, like, how much data to give people
because if we give too much, they’re overwhelmed, and that’s why these… I was just
thinking of you and talking about how do you work with data, and I have found that being a
bit…like choose one sheet of paper and work with that, and I suppose that’s one thing I’ve
got from Rachel, really, in the work she’s been doing with a sound technician and working
with sound is trying to work with the random and I think as a social scientist that’s a bit
challenging, because it’s all about analysis, it’s about being systematic and methodological
but if you just randomly take a page and do something with it, then that can be just as
generative as trying to figure out some sort of thematic thing, and definitely in groups… I
think once we started doing that, for me that was quite, like, liberating, because I think
before that we were agonising over which ones to choose, which is the best one to choose,
are we doing that thing of, like, well, there’s some Pakistani girls so we’ll choose the one
Pakistani girl from the interview - but if you make it more random, I mean, there’s always
an element of selection but then people just get on with doing it, and then you can kind of go
from there, really.
JAYNE: Stuff happens
But let’s work with…speaking of being random…let’s work with these two, so we’ll leave
that one on the table if you want to look at it, and I’ll get one more as well. I don’t quite
know why I chose these today, these are two white working class women who work, and
they’re actually a big part of the WRAP archive that we’ve not really been able to find
equivalents of, and one of the things Rachel was telling the women’s theatre group that they
were, like, oh, wow, and I will tell you today, was that in 1989 only ten per cent of people
went to university, and now 50 per cent or more do, and the students in there were, like,
woah, that idea that that was something that was a minority thing to do. So actually most
young women who were aged 20, 21 were working, but now it’s hard to find young women
who are full-time working at 20, 21 and involve them in a project like this, and they went
through the unions and places like that to get…




Well, the shocking thing today was the girl, the Iraqi girl who said I’m Iraqi, you know
[NAME]?, she said she’s working in Amazon and she said it’s terrible, and I said, oh, are
you allowed to be in a trade union? And she said, what’s that? And I said, you don’t know
what a trade union is? She said, no, I’ve never heard of it, what is it? And I said, that’s for
another time, really, but I said you need to google it and you need to get yourself in one.


That’s quite shocking. I’ll have to get it into the unit for the next couple of weeks. That’s
really bad to not know.


Well, why would you? I mean, Amazon wouldn’t let you be in a trade union.


No, but I think I’d kind of analysed it as if you’re not in the union people are not confident,
skills are not getting passed down, there’s fewer people that were around. I think having
worked with people who have been big union activists, I could feel how supportive it is.
(Inaudible 01.12.41) but to not even know what it is.


No, I was shocked, really. Just upset, really, that somebody doesn’t know.


So you can cut or we also have pens if you’d rather highlight. Story that you don’t want to
be missing, don’t want to go missing, so something that’s worth saving from the archive or
hearing from the archive.

ESTER: So you can cut - or we also have pens if you’d rather highlight – a story that you don’t want
to be missing, don’t want to go missing, so something that’s worth saving from the archive
or hearing from the archive.
(Long silence as everyone reads and cuts out sections of data.)

So do you want us to do a kind of…like a little scene that we think is important?

ESTER: Yes, I guess pulling out a bit but you might need more than you can just cut out, so then you
can stick it on a bit of paper, if you need a couple of extracts and you need to write around
it, then do that.
(Silence as everyone reads and cuts out sections of data.)
ESTER: How’s everyone getting on?

Yes, I’ve got two.

ESTER: You’ve got a couple? Do you want to read them out?


ESTER: Do you want them in duo, so you do a question and answer?
JAYNE: Yes, I don’t mind, who wants to pick an extract to go first?



ESTER: Do you want to do yours, Ali?

Do you want to be the questioner?

JAYNE: Right, [Reading] so even if it’s not in the lesson, you know that you could actually go and
talk to them if you had a problem. Would you have felt able at school if you hadn’t got
anybody else to talk to, do you think?

I think I should have been able to talk about it, but when I first came over, I was very quiet, I
just sat and did my work at home, but then I joined a school band and they had a girls…and
I got to know the teacher really well and I think I nearly got round to telling him but I just
didn’t have the guts. He was very nice, he would have listened. I did talk to him about other
things, but I think that was just because I got to know him so well. I don’t think many kids
would be so lucky.

JAYNE: It’s very difficult and also it’s often difficult for teachers because they don’t have any
experience of counselling or knowing what to say to people. Did they talk about AIDS at all
at school?

Not really.

JAYNE: Was it mentioned?

Yes, they mentioned it and someone would ask or something, and they would briefly
mention it.

JAYNE: But it wasn’t part of the syllabus for sex education?

I don’t remember any.

JAYNE: No, what school was it?

Name of the school.

JAYNE: Oh, I think I’ve interviewed a few from there.

We had it in the fifth year but before that we had a Mr…who left the year after we had him
and he was the best, he was very open and he was very strict and kept you under control but
he was the sort of person you could talk to. Mr…was nice but I think you couldn’t talk to
him the same as you could with some of the other teachers.

JAYNE: So when you were at school, were a lot of people having sex? Not at school but I mean, your
friends in your peer group, were a lot of people sexually active?

Yes. [stops reading]

ESTER: What made you choose that one?




I think I was very interested in the whole thing about…I realised actually they’re all very
similar, about having somebody to talk to, and feeling that somebody was listening to what
you were saying.

ESTER: I was thinking that’s a really good powerful example of that and it’s nice because she did
have someone, I think, with so many examples of rubbish sex education and no one listened
to me and that’s an important message but we also can see it just as clearly when someone
has had a good person, can’t we?



Thank you.

ESTER: Great, shall we do one, Jo? Shall I do one of yours?

I don’t mind, we can do yours if you want. Shall I come round there?

ESTER: Yes, go on then.
[Jo moves round to sit next to Ester]

[Reading] So how about sort of, like, does she ever have a sort of moral view that she
brought you up with or anything like that?

ESTER: She’s…there’s something she’s hammered in, I mean, my mum was 17 when she got
pregnant and she never told her…she got someone else to tell her for her, you see, and she’s
always been upset over that, so I suppose they were the same. They must have been
really…because she couldn’t turn to her mother and say I’m pregnant, she was…

Yes, I was just saying whether she had any, like, do you think she’s got any opinions of
what’s right and what’s wrong about what she expects you to be doing?

ESTER: Yes, I said I wanted to go and live with my boyfriend, well, not live with him as I was
saving up for a house, and just left it at that, saving up, in three years thinking of living
together, and like she’d gone for a night out and we’d had a drink, like, and we were sat
there and she said, Louise, don’t, don’t, don’t get…don’t just get a house, save up, get your
house, get married, get engaged, get married and then have your kids and that’s the thing she
always says to me without realising that I’m going…

Yes, so this is what she’d like for you?

ESTER: Yes, and this big white wedding. She’s always said don’t run away, don’t run away from
home, don’t rob me of my big day, because she never had a big day, you see?

Because she got pregnant.

ESTER: Because she got pregnant, she had the wedding and that, but she didn’t have the veil and the
wreath and all of this, you know?



And that means a lot to her?

ESTER: Yes, she wants this big wedding and I’m her only daughter.

Oh, right, so the pressure’s on, isn’t it?

ESTER: Yeah, that’s how I feel. [End of reading]

Wow. Why did you choose that one?

ESTER: I think it’s because I remember this story from when I read this interview before and I think
it’s something that the students were talking about today and I’ve felt from when I did my
PhD research that mums come up all the time when you talk about sex, and how many of the
young people I’ve seen in my own research and I know from the WRAP that part of the way
they experience sex, so that embodied experience, has to do with their mum and in a way
that we don’t probably articulate very well and just how much like our mums’ stories of
hope and loss and all these things really shape the way that we grow up and our expectations
and experiences we have, and how I always think that would be a really productive way as
well to really engage in sex education, but that’s beyond, like, what did your mum say? It’s
like what’s your mum’s story kind of thing, and then that helps you understand your own
story, really, and just how intergenerational all these things are that you can’t make sense of
what it means to be a woman and a sexual woman without really understanding the women
that you came from or grew up with. I think that’s a kind of a powerful, funny, sad example
of that. She’s a good story-teller this one as well.
JAYNE: I remember it from the workshop we did at the People’s History Museum because there was
that…Louise, don’t, don’t…just…it would just make a brilliant song. That’s fantastic.
ESTER: Do you want to do one of yours, Jayne?
JAYNE: Oh, yes, let’s do that one. [Reading] I wasn’t one of the gang, I just had one friend but my
friend got pregnant.

How old was she then?

JAYNE: Fifteen.

Was that quite common at school, at your school?

JAYNE: It might have been but nobody knew about it. There was only me that knew she was
pregnant and it was our secret and nobody else knows.

So what happened? Did she had to leave?

JAYNE: She had an abortion.

Right, what did you feel about that?


JAYNE: I was disgusted, really, I think, because we’d shared it for so long. I know it sounds daft, it
sounds like a film, doesn’t it? We’d shared it for so long, this secret, and then her parents
found out, and they said, like, they forced her into having an abortion, which now she
thinks, brilliant, got my own house, I’ve got a new boyfriend, because it broke her other
boyfriend up, but she was like in the later weeks for an abortion, she…I think six months, I
think she’d gone, something like that. [End of reading. Pause]
I think that’s that hiddenness, isn’t? It’s like, god, that’s just such a massive thing to go
through and I think the thing that strikes me about it is nobody knew. Nobody knew, nobody
knew, nobody knew.

I think the thing that strikes me is they forced her into having an abortion, so it’s like you’re
under so much pressure, aren’t you, at that age and it’s almost impossible to challenge that.

JAYNE: Yes, exactly, I think you just wouldn’t, would you?
ESTER: I remember that bit of that interview actually, because she goes on to say something like,
and I felt like weirdly I’d lost…it was my baby that I’d lost.
JAYNE: Yes, I know, I probably should have kept the other bit in, actually, the other bit was
ESTER: Well, there’s something about the intensity of friendships when you are young. I don’t think
their friendships are ever quite that intense and so really your friend having a baby it is like
your baby in a way, and that’s a really intense experience when you’re young, I think. Do
you want to do one of yours?

I mean, I only knew the very basics. He must have told me nearly everything. I knew there
was a womb and a vagina and things like that and I didn’t know about anything else, really.

ESTER: Did you know that you were supposed to enjoy it as well as a man, that that was something
that you…at school?

I knew that because I remember reading something somewhere, some book, I’d read
something about how the woman was supposed to enjoy it but I couldn’t really understand
it. I remember doing a questionnaire, actually, at school in one of these sex lessons. Did you
think men got more enjoyment out of it? And nearly all the girls put men got more
enjoyment out of it.

ESTER: So amongst you and your girlfriends, when you talked about sex, you wouldn’t be
discussing how do we get the most out of it, it wasn’t…it just was assumed that you

Yes, but on saying that, they did sort of say how good it was, but I would never say how or
why or what did you do.



ESTER: So they didn’t actually know why it was good or what was good about it. Do you think it
probably wasn’t good?

I don’t really know. [Stops reading]

JAYNE: That was a great one.
ESTER: What made you choose that?

It was interesting to hear you say about mothers and mothers’ stories and stuff. The opening
line reminded me of something that my mother always used to say to me about when she
was first pregnant that she didn’t quite know how it was going to get out, and her
expressions to me about her lack of knowing as a young person. And there was stuff in here
about pleasure and not the specifics on how, I really remember in sex education when I was
in middle school, somebody mentioning…oh, they talked about masturbation, about male
masturbation, and completely normal…and someone just added in, oh, and girls masturbate
too, and everyone went, ugh… And I just remember going, oh shit… I didn’t know it was
ugh… Yes, I just really remember that, this thing about the mystery of…sort of everyone
knew how it worked for boys, but it never got talked about for girls.

ESTER: Missing discourse of desire… One of the students underlined, she also chose that bit today.
And an unexpected student as well, that I didn’t think would choose it, so…interesting.
Great. It’s so interesting.

So interesting.

JAYNE: It is.

A really interesting method.

‘Re-asking’ experiment: Transcription of an audio recording of a group of adult researchers
experimenting with the ‘re-asking method, using the WRAP data.
This document contains part of the transcription of an audio recording of a session that took place on
18th November 2019 at Manchester Metropolitan University. In the session the four adult researchers
pilot two methods for reanimating interview data from the Women, Risk and AIDS Project (WRAP)
archive. This workshop was part of the Reanimating data project. In the group are two members of the
Reanimating data project team (Ester and Ali) and two members of staff at MMU (Jo and Jayne).
This part of the transcript relates to the first ‘experiment’ with the ‘re-asking’ method. In this section
the group try out the method and then reflect on the method in relation to the wider Reanimating data
The original transcript was completed by Type out transcription services and later edited by members
of the reanimating data project team.


Ester spreads out some pages from a WRAP interview (USD06) on the table and asks the group to
mess up the pages so that they are in no particular order.
ESTER: … So feel free to mess it up and do you want to choose a page for yourself, any page… And
the task is just to cut out the questions that really stand out to you, so it might be questions
that really jar you or questions that you find really interesting or that just stand out in some
way. You do have…

Questions, yes?

ESTER: Questions, you do have permission to look at another bit of paper if you want to but it’s so
easy to get overwhelmed with this stuff, so..
JAYNE: Yes, it’s quite good just to…
(The group read in silence. There is the sound of scissors cutting through paper as the group all cut
out questions from the data)
JAYNE: Just questions you’re wanting, aren’t you?
ESTER: Yes, just questions.
(Silence and cutting again.)
ESTER: If you’ve got your questions, you can stick them down on a bit of paper.
(Ester hands out coloured pieces of paper and glue. The group cut and stick. Jayne has to leave the

Do you have a little bit of paper?

ESTER: Do you want one? [She rips a sheet of blue paper in half and hands some to Ali]
JAYNE: Thanks.
ESTER: Did you find yourself wanting to cut them all out or not?


ESTER: So it was easy to be selective?

Yes, I think…I think questions are quite interesting because they are very much in the
context of the interview, aren’t they, so…

ESTER: Yes. Some of them don’t make sense if you took that context away. We’ll just wait for
Jayne but if you just keep your cut-out bits to one side so you can come back to them, the
sheets that you’ve cut from.

(The group continue to cut out questions and stick them onto coloured paper using pritstick. There is
the sound of scissors slicing through paper)
ESTER: [To Ali] We should just have done it all for ourselves first, shouldn’t we, really?

Yes, we could have done it, couldn’t we? Played around.

ESTER: That’s what we should have had at our team meeting.
ESTER: It’s the first time I’ve got to do anything with the data.

I think I’ve been doing it with the Levenshulme and a bit with the Proud Trust.

[The group continue cutting and sticking]
ESTER: Well, maybe just in case Jayne’s got side-tracked with something…just in case Jayne’s got
side-tracked, maybe we’ll just start doing the next thing and then she can join us…I was just
thinking that is that we could have a go at re-asking the questions to each other. In pairs?
And of course we can choose whether or not we want to answer them or answer them
however we want. Practice consent in how we do this. Who would like have a go at either
asking or being asked?

It’s going to be interesting because the ones that I’ve chosen might be a bit oddly


But that’s the whole point, isn’t it, I think?

ESTER: [To Jo] Do you want to have a go at asking?

Shall we ask, ask, ask [points to each person indicating that the group should work in circle,
each person asking a question to the person on their left, who in turn asks a question to the
person on their left] if there’s just three of us? What do you think?

ESTER: Yeah, yeah, go on then.

I’ll start. [To Ester] Okay, do you feel like you’re the lucky one then?

ESTER: I think I am lucky in lots of ways, yes, I think I have fair amounts of social privilege on my
side, which is a form of luck, and I think I am lucky in a lot of the people I know in my life,
other people who make me who I am and I sometimes think if I hadn’t had the relationships,
like with people that I have then I wouldn’t be the person I am, I wouldn’t be able to do
things that I do so I feel pretty lucky in, like, the people I’ve been able to know and be close
to and the opportunities I’ve had carved out to do things. So yes, I think so.
[To Ali] How do you get on with your dad? I mean, talking a lot about your relationship
with your mum, is it as close as with your dad?


Yes, my relationship with my dad is much closer than with my mum, though I don’t suppose
I would have talked particularly with my dad or with my mum, actually, about relationships,
probably not. So that was quite secret, perhaps. But I think with my dad I shared the same
kind of humour and so I think if I was really upset the person I would have gone to would
have been my dad, yes, so much closer relationship than with my mother. My mother had
more aspirations for me in a particular way. She would like to have seen me nicely married
to presumably somebody useful like a vicar or somebody sensible, and I could live in a
house in the country and live a bit of Downton Abbey kind of life. Whereas my father was
much more encouraging of me to be educated and go to university and do what I wanted to
do, so I think it was that kind of tension.
[To Jo] Well, I mean, did you get any pleasure out of it at the time?


[laughs] At the time… [All laugh] I think I was very fortunate to enjoy a lot of pleasure.


That’s good.


I think my experiences in my younger life were pretty fortunate and I can remember sort of
chatting with girlfriends, and I am talking about sexual relationships, because this is the
context… Yes, I feel like I had fairly…also luckily, and it does feel like luck in a way, kind
of positive experiences, because I think most folk that I know chatting about early
experiences, maybe it wasn’t so much about pleasure, it was more about maybe fitting in
or… I’m not quite sure because that’s going from speaking to somebody else, but yes, I
think so and I feel lucky for that.


Thank you. Keep going?


I’m going to skip around. [To Ester] Right, so it wasn’t something you were scared to say to

ESTER: I think if we’re talking about heterosexual relationships, I think there have been many things
I have been scared to say to male partners, yes, because I think I find it very hard to be
assertive in heterosexual relationships. I still think that yes, that’s something that I find
difficult on the personal level so I might be able to challenge more of it in a more public
professional way. But I think still around personal and intimate relationships, yes…I don’t
know, I wouldn’t use scared, not in the terms of fear, I don’t think I’ve ever felt fearful but
more nervous or apprehensive or just conflict avoidance, heaps, yes.
[To Jayne who has come back into the room] So we’re going around in a circle, Jayne.
JAYNE: Yes, sorry, I knew if I stepped out the room…
ESTER: No, it’s fine.
JAYNE: …it would be a disaster.

ESTER: [To Jayne] Do you think it’s embarrassing to have to bring the subject of contraception up?
JAYNE: Am I answering as me?

As you.

JAYNE: I don’t have to be somebody else? No… Well, its not that simple is it? [All laugh] Okay,
I’m thinking about this on so many different levels. So in terms of me and relationships, I
think [Someone appears at the door and Jayne looks up]…I hoped I’ve booked in here, I’ve
probably booked a completely different room. I’ll just check. Sorry. [Gets up and leaves the
ESTER: [To Ali] Do you think it’s embarrassing to have to bring the subject of contraception up?

No, I don’t think so. When I was in a heterosexual relationship I think for me it was really
important because I always wanted to have children but I knew I didn’t want to get
pregnant, if that makes sense? It was something about I want to be in control of this…




So it didn’t worry me about having a baby, but I didn’t want to have a baby when it felt
problematic. So I think I’ve always been very interested in that whole debate about
contraception, [Jayne comes back into the room] and I never really took the pill because it
didn’t suit me at all, so I’ve had to really talk to male partners in quite a kind of imaginative
way, you know? Particularly stuff about condoms is still very tricky, I think. So, you know,
I think you have to kind of negotiate that, the whole thing. And I was also talking to a friend
of mine about the fact that when we were young, because it was hard to get contraception
then and because people were perhaps aspirational in that way of wanting to go to
university, wanting to do something, not to have a baby, people had to really think about
how they were having sex and pleasure, without those kinds of risks. So actually I was
talking to a friend of mine, another woman, and we were talking about the fact that actually
we had lots of sex without penetration and that was the… So there was something about
actually very young understanding about pleasure and about the fact that it wasn’t all about
penetrative sex and I think for men, that’s quite…it’s not challenging, because there are lots
of things you can do, but, you know, it’s an interesting conversation.

ESTER: Thank you.

Oh, I’m asking one now. [To Jo] Right, so what point do you think you have to make a
decision about…I mean, do you think you just have to say, well, what the hell and take the
chance or do you think you say, let’s have a test?


(Laughs). What a brilliant question. Sorry, can I look at it?


So I think it’s really about having a test about HIV.


Oh, right.

[Jayne is cutting and sticking questions in the background]

So when do you think you have to make a decision about are you going to see if your
partner is HIV positive or are you just going to say, well, you know, I fancy the pants off
this one so I’m going to go for it?


It feels like it’s part of this similar question there about embarrassment and…I think I rely
on…not…yes, I think humour, in trying to be very straightforward, I feel like sometimes the
only way that I can do very straightforward is almost be a more blunt persona than I really
am. Just like, well…

ALI: [laughs] Yeah!
JAYNE: Oh, I really get that.

So what? What about that then? And I feel like it’s the only way that I can do it because a
bit of me is still really, really embarrassed. So I was raised in a Catholic tradition where we
were told that you only have sex if you were intending to conceive a child and that sex for
pleasure was… And so all this stuff around contraception, I don’t know if the
embarrassment is still from that or it’s just universal. But I wonder if some of it is around
that. [Reading] At what point do you have to make a decision? I mean, do you just think you
have to say what the hell and take the chance or do you think let’s have a test…?


I mean, in a way that could be about contraception as well, couldn’t it?


It could be, yes.


Because it could be am I just going to go for it, if you’re talking about heterosexual sex.


So I tend to ask people so how do you handle blah-blah-blah? Do you go and get checked
out? I do this, what do you do? And that’s my way into having the discussion, not that that’s
always particularly super easy.


Because what’s interesting about this question is I would imagine these days people are not
having that discussion about gonorrhoea or syphilis, are they? I don’t know.

ESTER: Can I just hold off the discussion just…? (All laugh)

[To Jo] Yes, so your turn now.


[To Ester] Is that normal in terms of your friends and people you know? Is that the average
level? (All laugh)

ESTER: I mean, it’s always been hard to know what’s normal, right? So as a researcher, I would say,
we’d use the NASTSAL , the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, that tells

us what’s, you know, about patterns of how often people have sex and who they have sex
with. But yes, it’s interesting for me at the moment so I’m at the age when most of my
friends have got young kids so the conversation now is about is it normal to have this little
sex when you’ve got young children, so it’s interesting that that’s come up again as a thing,
and that’s not been a thing for a while. So it’s funny, the points in a life course when what’s
normal becomes important again. I think it’s also there in the background but I think there
are these pinch-points around first sex and early sex and maybe from the work we’ve been
doing with the university students, at university how much sex you have as a university
student is now quite a thing, which it wasn’t really when I was a university student. So I
think yes, there are moments when what’s the normal level or the right amount of sex to be
having becomes important and again and then I think maybe it eases a bit. And I guess some
people care more than others about what’s normal.
[To Jayne] I mean, the thing about contraceptives, do you think you could ever look on them
as sexy things? I mean, something that is fun and part of, you know, the whole…?
JAYNE: That’s quite a good one. I think because when I did sex ed I used all the contraceptives as a
way of doing the education, so they were quite handy that they were things and I always
think about Dawn French’s sketch and the Slinky and all that kind of stuff, so I always kind
of look at things and picture Dawn French really in the bus stop describing the coil as a
Slinky with barbed wire added and stuff like that. (ALI laughs)
But I suppose…so in an abstract way, yes, for me personally I don’t use them because I’ve
been a lesbian since my mid-20s, and I have to say at that point I was, like, hallelujah, I have
not got to use contraception. If I could have stuck a flag out and said, I’m so relieved… I
think at that point I’d just gone and had a cap fitted, so I’d left home, gone on the pill
because I didn’t answer the earlier question, I think I just avoided contraception, well, I
made it very internal, I just went and did it, and then I didn’t have to negotiate it with

Was that pre-AIDS then?

JAYNE: 1982, yes, so…oh, I hadn’t really thought about that, I had not made that… But I don’t think
we’d had any kind of education or anything at school so god knows how I knew, other than
the fact that my dad had recently set up his own company… No, he hadn’t but I think before
that he’d gone to work, basically, for the drug companies that make the pill, so it was a
standing joke that in our garage for some reason, I don’t know why they’d be in our garage,
there were stacks of boxes of contraceptive. I don’t know why he had them in the garage
because that doesn’t make any sense at all and I must go and ask him because he did set up
his own business later, but I don’t think he’d… Maybe he had at that point. Anyway, and at
that point, I think, or just before, he’d worked for what they call Pill Palace in Burgess Hill
in Sussex which is where Organon, I think, and another drug company that made a lot of the
pills at that point.
So I kind of knew it vaguely from him, but I don’t remember ever learning anything about it
at school so I think I kept it very internal. I’ve forgotten the original question.

ESTER: Could you look on contraceptives as sexy things?
JAYNE: Well, I don’t have to, do I? I don’t have to have anything to do with them. I mean, I can use
condoms, and that’s fine. The cap was beyond me, I’m not sure I could ever get my head
around that, and I was literally relieved that I didn’t have to negotiate it. I was relieved
actually to be away from those power dynamics with men. Really, you know, I had two
boyfriends, I was really good at it, I was so clever, just had one and then I had another one
while I was working out, whilst I was discussing with my friends that obviously girls were
better-looking. (All laugh) Literally had a conversation with my best friend, obviously girls
are better-looking but you go out with boys… All my posters were girls.

Yes, I think that’s such an interesting thing.

JAYNE: And I had a full year when I was about 22 going, god, I’d really like to be a lesbian, like I
was saying I’d really like to be Jamaican. Literally, but I think it was a real safety thing, and
then I went, oh, I can. But yes, funnily enough, it was two things when I came out, apart
from the…obviously, it was not using contraception and also just feeling relieved, a bit like
you were saying about not being scared of men at all. I had really nice boyfriends, but just
thinking that whole world of men was a little bit of a challenge and actually I didn’t have to
do that anymore.

Do you want to ask one?

JAYNE: Oh, sorry, I was just looking expectantly at you, (All laugh) I thought you’d know what it
was. Okay, [To Ali] were there things that people told you that you can remember that really
weren’t right? Do you know things that were…

I think when I was young, I was probably quite like you, I kept things very…I didn’t talk
about things very much. I’m a talker but I didn’t talk about that, and I made sure I found out
what I wanted to know. And yes, there were some things… That’s what I feel about when
you talk about sex with young people, they quite often say, yes, we know, but actually I can
remember being…I don’t think the word’s confused but it was like a mystery, wasn’t it? It
was like something that people didn’t really tell you. So I think when I was young, I didn’t
feel that people told me things that were not true, but I don’t know whether the things I read,
because I made sure…I bought magazines like…it would be things like Cosmopolitan or
Honey or those early magazines, and I made sure I really read them to know what I
was…you know? Because we’re talking about the late ‘60s, so there wasn’t a lot around,
really, unless you were married or you were very proper…
But then when I became a youth worker, there were lots of things girls told me and I was,
like, oh…you know? Gosh, like my favourite, well, you could try it, you young people that
are fertile, you don’t get pregnant if you have sex while you’re standing on a telephone
directory, (JO laughs) and that made me laugh because I thought, well, it would be quite
hard to have sex standing on a telephone directory. (All laugh)

ESTER: It is these days because you’d have to find a telephone directory.


Exactly, it’s probably a really good…

ESTER: That’s a good method of contraception, isn’t it?

I will sleep with you when you come back. (All laugh)


The BT telephone directory. So it’s those kinds of things that you sometimes think how did
people believe it? (All laughing) But they obviously do. Well, I just met a woman up in
Harpurhey and she said, well, I did it up the alley and I haven't said that to Neil and Murray
because that would probably make them think about something else, but anyway, I did it up
the alley, she said, because people had said to her, the old chestnut, if you do it standing up
you won’t get pregnant. So I mean, she was 85, I think, but I’m sure that’s still doing the
(laughing) Carry a telephone directory wherever you go. Oh, question… [to Jo] Okay, right,
but I mean, how about the idea…I mean, do you see yourself as a Christian and living by
those rules or anything?


Wow, how interesting. No, but of course I did when I was young and suddenly all of this is
really making her come back. No, I don’t and I think that in fact recently I did a thing where
I sort of wrote out, I tried to remember a lot of the attitudes that were put into my head about
what sex was and what it was for and what it was not for, and whether it was spoken or not,
what was approved of or gained of through facial expressions, or what got switched on or
off on the telly or all of those things. And a lot of it was kind of expressions of female
sexuality that was joyous got switched off or turned down or, you know, disapproved of,
and I feel like a lot of those things went into my bones as a young person. But some part of
me managed to resist that.
So what is it, so that says Christian, doesn’t it? So I’m thinking specifically that I think that
some of my stuff comes from the Catholicism stuff. So some of those attitudes were around
sex is only for conceiving a child, but then when someone did conceive a child, if it was
outside of marriage, even though this was the ‘90s, I can remember a friend of mine getting
pregnant in school and then we just didn’t see them anymore. And it’s like…and we didn’t
go and find her, and I feel bad about… I mean, nothing bad happened to her, she just stayed
in and didn’t come to school anymore, and all of that stuff. Blah-blah-blah, where was I
And so I wrote out my own stuff now which was more about sex being about joy and about
connection and about generosity of spirit between people. And being yours, you know, and
not for someone else to tell you what it could be. So I’m going to say no, I don’t, thank you.

ESTER: So I’m going to suggest we stop asking, (murmurs of agreement) thanks, everybody. So
how did you find that process of just doing that?

(Pause) It was interesting because I picked really fragmentary questions because I’m not
very smart and I didn’t anticipate us asking them to each other, then I was feeling sort of

weirdly guilt feelings about not picking more structured or clear questions, I suppose. I
picked ones that seemed to be a bit poetic to me in some way. I thought it was amazingly
generative and even just with one question I found myself going, oh, let’s just all have this
one and just talk about it for an hour.
ESTER: It made me think about what a good focus group method it is because, like, it feels like a
really safe space in here to me, so it would need to be that, but you know how some people
control the airwaves, that kind of…we were going to do it in pairs but because you popped
out, that’s why we did it like that, but actually…
JAYNE: I quite liked it like that.
ESTER: It stops you in your tracks and then you have to switch over to being the interviewer, but it
meant that everybody has a chance to share and it’s a bit arbitrary, I just read you whatever
question comes next, so you’re not, like, oh, I’m going to choose a good lesbian question for
Jayne, I’m just, whatever’s next sort of thing, and then there’s something about…I really
like it as a…

I thought it was really interesting and things came out, and the questions were a bit random,
weren’t they? Because we didn’t know that’s what we were going to do, so I really enjoyed

ESTER: Yes, I didn’t explain that, so I mean, I think in some ways that’s quite nice, you’re not preempting too much.

Yes, exactly. Because I think if you’d said, you know, what questions…like if you’d
explained it then you might have censored questions and been like, oh, that’s a bit awkward,
someone won’t want to answer that, but actually if it’s just what’s interesting or what’s
jarring then you just choose what’s interesting and then you deal with it.

ESTER: Yes, and it was also interesting that if part of this project is, like, if we work with this stuff,
do we end up answering questions about social change and in some ways I felt like if we’d
kept going we’d get more and more because particularly from you both [To Ali and Jayne],
but I think you were as well [To Jo] talking about being in the ‘90s and we all just started to,
like, position ourselves in terms of historical periods and thinking about them. So it’s like
you don’t need to ask about social change, it just comes through the process, which is really
interesting for me.
JAYNE: Yes, because we had a good range of decades, I think, didn’t we? So that’s quite handy.

I mean, I’ve always been interested in contraception, I would like to talk much more to the
young women about contraception because it’s something I feel very…because of course
it’s not now a moral panic as far as I can see about young women having babies because
they’re all bunged up to the gills with chemicals. That seems to me to be something very
troubling for me, personally.

JAYNE: Well, it’s not questioned, is it, at all?


It’s not questioned at all.

JAYNE: It’s just like this is what you do. You don’t think about what’s in them, you don’t think
about the impact.

I think we don’t know, do we, what’s going to happen in 20 years or 30 years?

JAYNE: I can remember the first pill I went on then changing the dose after a few years because they
then had done more research and recognised that it was much too high. And I can remember
at the time thinking, oh shit, great, you know?

But now this Depo Provera, no one even questions it.

JAYNE: No, I know. Well, that’s what happened when I was working in sexual health, because they
started talking about it, this was probably fifteen years, something like that, I was thinking
hang on a minute, I’m sure we were campaigning…I’m sure this wasn’t a good thing.

We were campaigning because I was going to do an MA on it and I remember Janet Batsleer
said to me it would be very hard to do that because the drug companies would just close
down…. […] I’m so suspicious of all these things that seem to be about… It’s not so much
about controlling sexuality anymore, or people having sex, it’s something about, oh, we
don’t mind what you do as long as you don’t have a baby, and we don’t care what we do to
your body as long as you don’t make it complicated by having…

JAYNE: Although they are still judged by having babies so actually if they do have babies young,
this would probably…

Yes, it’s still terribly…

JAYNE: About seven or eight years ago I did a self-esteem project with groups at 42nd Street, and
the young mums group because it was specifically about bodies, that was really interesting
because they were saying we couldn’t celebrate our bumps at all.


JAYNE: And actually our bumps made us kind of…people then knew you were pregnant, so random
people would come up to them in the street, have a go at them, people they didn’t know, you
know, call them names, all that kind of stuff, and it was interesting, actually, because I think
my kids were relatively young then, and as an older mum, I’d been, like…well, I really
noticed things like, A, I could celebrate it because it had taken me ages to figure out how to
have a baby and then to get pregnant, so I was really up for being visibly pregnant, so I
really, really thought, god, and you’re not being allowed this at all, because not only are you
not allowed to be visibly pregnant, you’re also then harassed when you are.
But also at the time, I think it still exists, there was the Care To Learn grants? Which was
great, so the idea being that if you had a baby when you were young then you can get money

and go to college and get childcare, and in Stockport they employed somebody to help the
young women navigate that, and actually she needed to because it was really complicated
and the kids would get the babies into nurseries and then the baby would be ill, and so then
they wouldn’t go back because they’d be a bit embarrassed and then the nursery would be
really pissed off with them. So she actually did loads and loads of advocacy, really, for the
young women.
But I remember thinking, hmm, but I can choose to be off on maternity leave, because I’m
older and for them it’s seen as good to not be off on maternity leave and go back into
college, and it’s like the choices of…
ESTER: It used to be my job to sort out people’s Care To Learn money, and I never thought that
before. I just thought it was brilliant.
JAYNE: Well, it was in itself.
ESTER: That they could get funded, but it’s really true…
JAYNE: But they lost that choice, yes. Well, I worked in the office with the woman that did it.
ESTER: And it was only until 19 as well so if you had a baby at 18, you needed to crack on with
getting into education because, well, it’s only free until you’re 19, isn’t it? You don’t get an
extra year if you’ve had a baby or anything.
JAYNE: Yes, that’s true.
ESTER: So when I’ve done this with the young women before, they then had a look at the answers to
the questions and just sort of compared the kinds of things that we talked about.
JAYNE: Oh, that’s brilliant.
ESTER: I don’t know if that might be interesting.
JAYNE: That’s such a good idea.
ESTER: Just see…
JAYNE: If I can find them.

Not sure where they come from.

JAYNE: I know, god. One of the ones I didn’t ask, because I was out the room, was it was interesting
what other things people do apart from having sex as intercourse, and then the follow-up
question was just groping around in the back of the car. There was a whole answer there
about groping around. (laughs)



So the question I asked Ali about how did you get on with your dad, she said, [Reading] no,
not as…I mean, me and my dad don’t go out for a drink and I cringe if I see him in the pub
because I don’t like him knowing that I go to the pub. I know it sounds daft, but I don’t…I
mean, I bang into him in pubs but we always laugh, you know what I mean? He’s dead
calm, like, dead calm, would you like a drink? Yes. Louise, what are you drinking? I’ll have
an orange juice, please, Dad, you know, stoned out of my head, I’ll have an orange juice,
you know what I mean? (All laugh)

JAYNE: Oh, that’s brilliant.

So mine that was the one…I mean, did you get any pleasure out of it at the time? The girl
has said [Reading] we’d been together seven months, it was like the final thing and we never
saw each other for a while, but I was never, like, on Cloud Nine. Did you get any pleasure
out of it at the time? No. And the questioner says, I don’t think many people do. It’s a
bit…but what makes me laugh is I made him, he didn’t want to, I was a Lolita.


I was a what?


Lolita, like a young…yes.

JAYNE: Blimey.

So that’s quite interesting, isn’t it? That would be a whole interesting thing… I’ve just got to
find…this one.


Do you feel like you’re the lucky one then? Yes, on a Saturday I can feel like the lucky one,
and on a Sunday, I don’t feel like the lucky one. It depends, I mean, if I’m going to the
christening or the baby’s first birthday party or to the weddings or engagements then I feel
cheesed off. Do you know what I mean? I don’t know that that carries across. Sorry, that’s
page 16, sorry, I’ve lost the next bit.

ESTER: It’s because we’re working with the chunks that we’ve got.
JAYNE: That’s an interesting question, isn’t it, as well?
ESTER: And when we did this at another workshop, that was the bit of all the data that one women
in the workshop went, yes, that’s my life, that is my life right now, am I the lucky one that I
don’t have kids, and again I think it’s a particular age that you’re at where you some days
she’s like…so yes, some days I feel so lucky and some days I feel really sad about the fact
that I’m the only one who hasn’t.
JAYNE: I got so the one about, were the things that people told you that you can remember that
really weren’t right? So I’ve got, [Reading] no, I mean, oh aye, periods, things like
contraception, I’ve heard all sorts, like what? Jumping up and down on the floor to stop you
getting pregnant. Before or after? After. And if you miss three pills then take them all at
once. [Stops reading] I think we’ve all heard that one. And actually I would say that, not that
I haven't done much sex ed for a few years but absolutely, all the same things, you won’t get

pregnant if you have sex standing up, how can we possibly…how can they still be thinking
things like this? This is awful.
ESTER: I’ve got one, [reading] do you think it’s embarrassing to have to bring the subject of
contraception up? And she says [reading] I think it would be for some people. I wouldn’t be
embarrassed. I mean, I’ve just started another relationship and I’ve got a question to ask
you, have you… No, I’m not, and he went in, and then they get interrupted. That’s really
annoying. What was she going to say?
JAYNE: So the one about, I mean, do you see yourself as a Christian and living by those rules? She
said, oh yes, I don’t think…I mean, they say that, it says in the Bible you don’t have to go
pray to God, God is everywhere. I believe in that, I sit in bed, like, and I don’t have to go to
church, God, because you’re there. I mean, that’s what it says in the Bible. You can read the
Bible whichever way you want. You can always pick something out that suits you. [stops

(laughing) I like that. That’s the way to do it.


I think that was…

JAYNE: Yes, actually I think what you did with the students before was really good and I also want
to do this one as well, it was brilliant, because it brings up a lot, doesn’t it?
ESTER: When we did it with the drama students they then created a short scene that just
encapsulated something about the experience of doing it, so some of them reperformed them
asking themselves or one of them did this quite powerful thing where they basically sat in
silence in response to the questions, because they found the questions really obtrusive and
unanswerable, basically. But they really showed that really nicely with their…and we were
talking about when you take questions out of context, like, they seem outrageous, some of
them. Not actually any of these examples, but there are some examples that just feel, like
you can’t ask that, but when you take it out of context, but maybe when you put it back into
context, it feels okay. But it’s that funny thing about decontextualising and recontextualising

I like this thing of acting out somebody else’s words and it’s not quite the way that you
would phrase things, and, you know, I said like it felt like my young self keeps popping up,
it feels like that, it feels like talking out these different voices feels like you’re sort of
bringing someone else…I don’t know. I can’t finish my sentence.... It’s something about
you’re bringing them or you’re conjuring this person because you’re speaking the words in
their cadence or whatever, but then also you’re conjuring your earlier stuff… A lot of these I
wasn’t sort of answering from my now self because I was thinking about back then.

JAYNE: It takes you back, I suppose, it’s more an emotional connection rather than if you said think
about when you were 20 or something, that would be different. There’s something about
doing it…

Exactly, yes.

ESTER: So I said something about how the then and the nows, which we’ve looked at loads in this
project, like we did an activity where we did a sort of then/now collage but how they
collapse and how the then always is now, because we only experience the then through the
now, so you are your now self but all of this takes you to your then self, and you just
can’t…like it just collapses so we kind of hold them up there as a frame to help people to
time-travel, but actually it doesn’t really make sense, in some ways to do that.
So we’ve used the method of performing them in other projects as well, we’ve got young
people to perform other young people’s stories of first sex, for example, and there’s one
actually from Levenshulme, a girl made an animated story that it’s the story from the
interview but it’s also her story and that’s why she chose to tell it, and why she was
interested in it, and I think that’s the same for a lot of…when you do this, it’s like a way of
talking about yourself safely and a way of articulating a bit of yourself that might be hard to
talk about or you might not know you have permission to talk about. So I think that’s one of
the nice things about the method.
JAYNE: Yes, that’s a really good way of…

Yes, we did that in Levenshulme. At first we just read them through and they found that
really interesting, and in fact the girls…I’ll see what happens at the Proud Trust tonight but
they said they wanted longer interviews so they could… Because at first I just took some
extracts but they said, oh, we want a whole interview that we can really go into, so I think it
will be interesting to see what’s happened tonight.


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