Designing Multispecies Menstrual Care
Menstrual hygiene or menstrual management refers to the products and practices of absorbing, collecting, or disposing of menstrual blood, including the use of tampons, sanitary pads, and menstrual cups. We will focus on how menstrual products are made, used, and discarded, with a focus on the material waste generated both by the body (menstrual blood, mucus, and tissue) and by the products (a wide range of organic and non-organic materials such as cotton and plastics). Through a Research through Design process inspired by speculative and more-than-human design, we will explore how we can design a menstrual management technology that re-uses or composts this material waste, opening up possibilities for cohabitation or collaboration with other species. This will result in a design proposal and a high fidelity prototype which could be a smart wearable garment produced with biobased materials, or a physical device, such as a waste bin, which enables the collection, analysis, and compost of the bodily fluids. Our research will build on a theoretical framework including feminist technoscience theories of multispecies collaboration, acknowledging the human body as entangled and interconnected with the environment, along with previous work in women’s health in HCI and design.
Nadia Campo Woytuk, KTH,
Madeline Balaam, KTH.
Martin Avila, Konstfack.
Marie Louise Juul Søndergaard, AHO The Oslo School of Architecture and Design.