Johara Bellali

I started my PhD in the transtechnology department in January 2021 after a journey of 19 years working on the implementation of the UN sustainable development conventions and taking part in the response to humanitarian crises around the world. During that time, I nurtured my desire to accompany births and finally certified as a doula a few years ago. I believe that these seemingly different callings have a commonality that lies in our cultural relationship to what Bergson calls l’élan vital, the life force. I continue working on gender and environment projects globally, lecture in universities in Germany, work as a research fellow on projects with the University of Plymouth and co-founded a local project called Mother Roots with Transition Town Totnes.

Inspired by ecofeminism, post-humanism, midwifery and sustainability science, my journey led me to explore the moment of birth, that liminal state of transformation. Using post-ANT (Actor Network Theory) and the method of scenography, I investigate what is happening in the birthing room between the material and the intangible, culture and technology, what matters and what is forgotten. I ask: what is our cultural relationship to life’s regenerative processes? what does birth tell us about our relationship to earth’s supporting systems? This led me to author A scenography of inscriptions and intangibles in the birthing room as part of the transtechnology research reader 2022/2023 for which I was managing editor.

In 2022, I also authored A co-design solution for digital literacy in health care, in collaboration with transtechnology research colleagues and the Torbay and South Devon NHS foundation trust, Prof. Michael Punt, Dr. Agi Haines, Dr. Jacqui Knight and Nick Peres.

At the end of 2021, I developed this poster; since then my enquiry and explorations have continued.

I am a Moroccan-German-Luxembourg national – an Afroeuropean – navigating the borderlands of identities, languages and disciplines. I am interested in collaborations around embodied performances of intangible systems in particular from an endarkened feminist perspective. Do contact me if you feel called to or would like more information: