Feminist Probes for Cultivating Curiosity of the Menstrual Cycle

Master thesis project by Nadia Campo Woytuk

Read the full thesis paper here.

Curious Cycles responds to the tensions that arise when designing technologies for menstruation and menstrual cycles, touching upon notions of curiosity, noticing, sharing, taking or making space, and our relationships with our bodies and their fluids. The project follows a Research through Design approach, guided by Soma Design and feminist research methods. Curious Cycles are a set of cultural probes; objects and interactions designed to gather experiences and insights from five people who menstruate, throughout the duration of a cycle (approximately one month). The objects are meant to "cultivate curiosity", provoking reflections on the ways we currently relate to our bodies and bodily fluids and speculating on how we might relate to them in the future. This work seeks to approach the design method of cultural probes from a feminist perspective and contributes through the concept of "cultivating curiosity", a way to design menstrual cycle technologies by attending closely to the changing social and material experiences of the body, which in turn can challenge the cultural taboos surrounding menstruation.