By Lisa Nash, Jessica Hammett, Vanessa Beck and the North Kensington MenoMakers
Since September 2021 a group of women have been meeting monthly in North Kensington to make and talk menopause. These meetings have resulted in an exchange of knowledge and experiences, and have explored the therapeutic potential of creativity. The MenoMakers aim to initiate and normalise menopause conversations, combat stigma and improve wellbeing. We also develop creativity and new skills, and we have a lot of fun.
Our exhibition-in-a-box contains creative work made by the MenoMakers group, inspired by our own experiences and by each other. We have experimented with textiles, sculpture, printmaking, zine making and creative writing, to develop our own creative voices. The process has been empowering, energising and restorative.
The MenoMakers exhibition-in-a-box will now be used by other groups who want to start conversations about menopause. We are taking it on tour across the country, and through exploring the exhibition we hope that other women will reflect on their own menopause story, share their experiences and discover different modes of expression. And the exhibition is not just for people currently experiencing the menopause: people of all ages and genders can explore and learn from the stories and help in our aim of making menopause conversations everyday.
In workshops, groups will be able to discover and discuss the work created by the MenoMakers. We also invite participants to contribute to our ‘live menopause bunting’ by embroidering their own mini banner and adding it to the exhibition. In this sense it is a living exhibition – expanded and enriched with each viewing.
You can explore images of the exhibition below, and we will be having a launch event in North Kensington on 29 April (details here) followed by a tour (details to follow).
The MenoMakers Team:
- Lisa Nash is a socially engaged artist/facilitator and arts programmer. She is embedded in the North Kensington community and leads on wellbeing programmes in her role as Programme Manager for ACAVA.
- Jessica Hammett is a public historian of modern Britain, researching women’s experiences of mental health and wellbeing. She has worked with a wide range of partners in the arts, heritage and mental health sectors.
- Vanessa Beck is a sociologist of work and employment, researching menopause in workplace settings. She has worked with a range of trade unions, charities, statutory and private organisations.
- The North Kensington MenoMakers have co-produced all project activities and outputs, both creating and curating the exhibition-in-a-box. They are a diverse group of non-artists currently experiencing the menopause, who reflect the social, cultural and ethnic diversity of North Kensington.
All images by Zute Lightfoot (2023)
The project has been funded by the Brigstow Institute and the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account scheme.
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