It might sound taboo to some, but the topic of menstruation is front and centre next week in Newcastle as a part of a broader research festival with the University of Newcastle.
At the HDR (Higher Degree by Research) Student Festival, the REDD (Research Education Design and Destigmatisation) Centre for Menstruation and Women's Health will host two free events under the umbrella name "You CAN Ask That".
The first event is a Symposium and Networking luncheon on Monday, June 27, from 11am to 2pm at the University of Newcastle's Q Building in the Honeysuckle precinct.
The second event is a live entertainment, networking, craftivism, trivia and a Q&A session with an expert panel on Thursday, June 30, at the Newcastle Conservatorium of Music Harold Lobb Concert Hall from 6-8pm.
"Menstruation and menstruators' health impacts every aspect of our lives - it deserves to be celebrated, and considered critically, and artistically," says Vladimira Foteva, a PhD candidate of Reproductive Medicine.
Foteva is one of the four women from different disciplines behind REDD Centre, and like the other three, she has noticed a familiar pattern of menstruation health being understudied and periods being taboo.
Also in REDD are:
Michelle Wellham, BFA - Fine Arts/Design PhD working across medical-humanities with a focus on design activism and its application to menstruation and women's health;
Dr. Kimberley P. Williams, MD - Junior Doctor in the WA Country Health Service, researcher with an interest in medical inequality and Indigenous Health;
Dr. Yixue Qiao, PhD - Postdoctoral researcher at the University of Newcastle working on drug discovery, nanoparticle and hydrogel manufacture.
"By pooling our team's expertise in healthcare, biochemistry, design, sociology and the fine arts, we aim to reduce menstrual stigma, raise awareness of period poverty, and create our own archive of menstrual knowledge," Foteva says.
The upcoming conference is one of their most ambitious projects to date. The four have designed their own menstrual-themed trivia, created an audience-driven Q & A with leading women's health experts, and designed a community mural. They plan to to bring different talents to every minute of this event, and both events will include discussions of the environment, stigma, biomedical research, and legislation as they relate to menstruation.
To book your free tickets to next week's event, and learn more click the link on their Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/thereddcentre/.
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