Making the exhibition

making the exhibition

The exhibition is a long-considered distillation of 233 interview hours.

The ten themes – boyhood aspirations to finishing the program - reflect the concerns and events that recurred again and again in the life stories. We wanted to show the different ways men encounter reproductive milestones and problems, rather than presenting a "typical" life cycle stamped with the expected anthropological receipt. In presenting contraceptive use or HIV testing as part of men’s reproductive journeys we aimed to draw attention to the way health priorities and needs change over time. We sought to keep a sense of how men speak and show their searches for love, meaning, respect and legacy (being remembered by children was important).

Meek sounding quantifiers "many farmers","some", "a few" hint at the difficulty of generalising from the richness of individual lives. Instead, we tried to show participants’ responses to emerging ideas and norms. Population-wide surveys illustrate some broad characteristics and changes to reproductive life for men and women in Karonga District today. An accompanying fact sheet is available here.

Portrait photographs overlaid with quotations highlight moments of transformation or decision in people’s reproductive journeys, as they navigate romantic relationships, bearing and planning their families. They were originally taken as a thank you to participants who chose how they wanted to be portrayed. These images draw on local aesthetics from the romantic to the formally composed and focus attention on the relationships and context of the research. Read more about the photographs here. 

Peer to peer intervention is one of the most effective ways to spread public health messages, so we hope this website becomes a virtual space for men and their partners to exchange experiences. Site visitors in Malawi and elsewhere are invited to submit responses or short articles for the project blog, so we can carry on the conversation.

We thank everyone who participated, generously consented to the reproduction of their words and images, and collaborated in bringing these reflections to life.



participants were given portraits as a thank you.