Welcome to the menopause…
It used to be a secret, but now
It’s too big not to talk about!
Nelissa Mendy, 2022
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.
Over the last couple of years menopause has started to be discussed more openly, through the media, social media, at work and within social groups. But the social taboo surrounding menopause remains, and many women continue to feel reluctant or uncomfortable talking about their own situation, often for good reason. Moreover, when menopause is featured in the media the focus is usually heavily medicalised or tackled from ‘scientific perspectives’. This leaves little space for women to reflect on the wide range of effects and symptoms of menopause which do not fit within this model, and give voice to their own experiences.
MenoMakers takes a different approach: we value and foreground experiential, embodied and inherited knowledge. In our group we have created a supportive, non-judgemental and confidential space to discuss all aspects of our lives, from menopause and beyond. The creative work that we do together adds to the pleasurable, experimental and constructive atmosphere. It also allows us to understand, represent and communicate our experiences in new ways.
You can find out more about the artistic work we have produced together on the exhibition-in-a-box and gallery pages. You can learn more about the workshops on our talking ground rules and craftivism pages. And for signposting to other menopause material see the resources page.
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 Curator, Social Practice for ACAVA.
Jessica Hammett is a public historian of modern Britain, researching women’s experiences of mental health and wellbeing. She has worked with 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. The group includes Bella Mellor, Candace Bovill-Taylor, Caroline Gedney, Gabrielle Osrin, Magali Duenas and Nelissa Mendy.