Miss Laura Shipp

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Personal profile

My research works at the intersection between geography and cyber security, in which I use feminist geopolitics as a tool for reconceptualising cyber security and its focus. Within that I focuses on period-tracking apps and other technology under the umbrella of ‘femtech’, considering how the non-consensual use of data as a security threat to those whose bodies it represents.

Menstrual tracking apps allow their users to monitor their reproductive cycle for a variety of motives. Most apps combine this functionality with the ability to chart sexual activity, general health, daily habits, and often provide users with feedback or insights about the data entered. Both geography and cyber security have a shared silence on the topic of menstruation. Between the new area of reproductive geographies emerging, and longstanding feminist interest in the body, discussions and experiences of menstruation seem to have slipped through the cracks. Similarly, cyber security has studied the related technologies of the menstrual-tracker, including mHealth apps and self-tracking technologies, but fails to engage and examine the security and privacy of reproductive technologies.

My PhD is investigating leakiness in a multitude of ways. Feminist scholars have discussed the ways that the feminine (rather than female) body is othered through its various forms of leakiness; both in its physical ability to leak menstrual blood or breast milk, but also as a subjectivity that fails to be contained within the boundaries of the body. With this multifaceted idea of leakiness, this research investigates how the menstruapp might be constructing the bodies of menstruators through their use. It asks questions about who is benefiting from this leakiness and what impact this has on relationships of power. Ultimately, it asks the question, could menstruapps undermine individual’s own sense of security if they find their data is being taken and used outside of their control?


Research interests

Recruiting Participants for Online Interview!

I’m looking to recruit people who menstruate and use a period-tracking app to take part in an online interview as part of my research. You will need to over 18 and based in the UK to take part.

Participation will include:

-       A 1-1.5-hour audio-recorded interview over a video platform of your choice.

-       Talking about how you use your app, your experiences of period-tracking and your thoughts on the data your app collects. 

-       Can be done alone, or with a friend who also uses an app.

This would help my research in understanding how people developing apps and people using them relate to cyber security when it comes to digital period-tracking. No prior knowledge apart from your own experience is required. Your responses would be treated confidentially, and your data anonymised. You will receive a £20 e-gift card to spend at either Sainsbury’s, Tesco or Asda as a thank you for your time. 

If you are interested in taking part, or want to find out more about my research, please email me at laura.shipp@rhul.ac.uk.  Feel free to share this information with anyone who you think might be interested in taking part.

Other work

Research Assistant Positions

March 2019 - April 2019: 

This project was run by Dr Jennifer Cole and funded by GCRF. My role within it was to investigate the changing patterns of meat consumption with Bangalore.The role included conducting street interviews, focus groups, and transects walks in different parts of Bangalore to investigate if habits change in different parts of the city and with different social groups. My role included working with two field assistants and collating our findings into a usable format for use later in project.

February 2017 - June 2017:

This project was run by Professor Katherine Brickell. This was on a project investigating people’s housing biographies within newly built award-winning temporary accommodation in Lewisham, London. My work within it was largely doing transcription, but I also conducted a handful of interviews with residents.

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