Workshops & Seminars

Want to bring me to your university, college, organization or group? 


In addition to traveling with and running The Abortion Diary, I am available as an educator, workshop facilitator, presenter, and speaker at your community, college/university campus, high school or organization. Melissa speaks to the power of story listening and storytelling in our personal lives and communities. Through my interactive and multimedia presentations, Q&As, and intimate conversations, I describe my personal journey to starting my innovative project (there is nothing like it),  the transformational nature of breaking silences, and the importance of listening as leadership.

I loved how personal it was, and how comfortable I felt.” – Student, New College of Florida (NCF)

“It was engaging, I especially liked the listening exercises and discussing what it means to be vulnerable.” – Student, NCF

“Sharing stories with complete strangers was really amazing and helpful.” – Student, NCF

Workshops and Presentations

Abortion is still considered a a taboo subject leaving people with unanswered questions, and perpetuating myths and misconceptions about a common experience. Millions of people have an abortion each year; yet the majority of those estimated 42 million people worldwide, will never talk about their experience. Roe v Wade legalized abortion in 1973. 1 in 3 women in The United States will have an abortion by her 45th birthday. Yet how many times have you heard a person tell their abortion story? Melissa created The Abortion Diary to break this silence around abortion by listening to and sharing true and complex stories.

My interactive and engaging presentations and workshops focus on discussing the history of abortion, the history behind The Abortion Diary, the importance of story-sharing and story-listening, tips for story-listening, reproductive justice, and ways to get involved in the movements for reproductive justice. I also dispels myths, addresses misinformation, and answer questions about abortion. Some audio from the podcast will be featured at the event, and I will share some of the stories behind the stories as well as my experiences on the podcast tour and as a dedicated listener. The Abortion Diary also provides an entry way for a new generation of people to engage fully in the conversation and activism around sex and sexuality, feminism, reproductive justice, bodily autonomy, and politics. I can also facilitate a closed gathering, in which people who have had abortions can share their abortion stories and experiences in a supportive and safe environment. I am also available to record stories after the event.

Bring “ar·ti·facts” to your community

ar·ti·facts: abortion stories and histories is a traveling exhibit.  This exhibition gives voice to our untold and silenced experiences through audio stories, images, and objects. Bring “ar·ti·facts” to your college campus, museum, gallery, or organize a pop-up exhibit in your neighborhood. ar·ti·facts: abortion stories and histories is a unique experience. Visitors listen to audio, and engage with text, quotes, images, objects, and interactive stations, which provide space for self interpretation, raises provocative questions for listeners and viewers, and sparks dialogue. This exhibit connects visitors with people’s personal abortion experiences, offers audiences a more real and nuanced picture of abortion, and provides material for meaningful and relevant conversations in your community. Visitors listen to our voices as we share our stories in our own words.

Programming with the exhibit can vary from a 1 hour artist talk to a week or month-long residency, working with audiences to engage with the exhibit, foster dialogue, and gather stories from their own communities. Melissa will also lead a  Q&A that includes topics like social justice, reproductive justice, combatting abortion and reproductive stigma, student leadership, community building, political empowerment, social media and digital humanities as well as abortion in media and popular culture.   Additionally, while on campus, Melissa can lead a second workshop, and is available to have a meal with the students and faculty for more private discussions.


Listening to Story:  The Other Side of Storytelling

Difficult Dialogues:  Creating Space for Courageous Conversations in the Classroom

Honoring Our Experiences: A Story Sharing Session

Confronting the Abortion Rumor Mills: Breaking the Myths and Misconceptions around Abortion

DIY audio story-sharing workshops


Confessions of The Abortion Diarist: Adventures in Storylistening on and off the road (a multimedia lecture/talk)

Private Stories, Public Archive: Using Social Media in Humanities and Social Science Research (a multimedia lecture/talk)

Living Your Passion:  Getting Past The Constant Struggle (and doing work from a place of love)

“This past weekend, Professor Madera was kind enough to join us for a workshop and talk about the Abortion Diary Podcast and the importance of story sharing and listening in ending the stigma around abortion. Her workshop was passionate and intimate, providing listeners with new tools and skills to carry out this important work. Personally, the talk allowed for space for me and one of my good friends to listen to each other with a depth that we had not reached before – it was truly transformative!  I highly recommend this workshop to anyone involved with reproductive health justice or anyone interested in learning how to be a supportive and active listener in their communities.  Thank you, Melissa, for sharing your story unapologetically and empowering our community to do the same!” – Anna Rodriguez ‘16, President of New College’s Body Positive Club.


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Dr. Melissa Madera’s visit to Florida Gulf Coast University was important, memorable, and incredibly moving to the faculty, staff, and students who participated in the workshop and lecture she delivered for us on November 20, 2015. Dr. Madera first led a workshop titled Listening to Story: Recording Personal Experiences of Reproductive Choice, during which she engaged participants in clarifying their own values about reproductive rights. We found ourselves exploring areas of our experiences and opinions in honest and hard-hitting ways. The activity encouraged us to find common ground and understand the importance of listening to others’ experiences, as she does in her groundbreaking project. Her subsequent lecture on our campus, titled Private Stories, Public Archive: Social Media in Humanities and Social Science Research, helped attendees understand the critical importance of harnessing social media in an effort to share social science and humanities research findings. Dr. Madera’s experiences as an documentarian of abortion stories, her unflinching honesty about her work, and the inspiration she provided all participants was unforgettable.” – Professor De Welde, Associate Professor, Florida Gulf Coast University 

Sponsor a Recording Day in Your Community

Melissa and her mic will travel anywhere to record stories using The Abortion Diary model of story-sharing. The stories will be added to The Abortion Diary Podcast collection, and an edited, digital archive copy will be given to the participants or organization. The recording day can be added to any workshop, presentation or speaking engagement.

For more information about scheduling and fees fill out the form below or e-mail us at We will be in touch soon about how we can potentially work together. We look forward to working with you!

The Abortion Diary Tour Bookings Request Form