November 2018: Being Human: Origins and Endings
Chella’s work was supported by the British Academy for the 2018 Being Human Festival. Events included participating in a panel in Colchester for the University of Essex, a performance of Adventures in Menstruating followed by a post-show talk, workshop and art exhibition in Liverpool with Liverpool John Moores University and Homeless Period Liverpool, and a launch night in London for the Being Human Festival itself – what an outstanding experience!
August 2018: The Edinburgh Fringe gets its period!
Mostly, comedians choose to perform a full run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Some prefer doing half a run, or just stick to the first, second or third week. But not Chella, the comedian and founder of the #periodpositive project. Ask Chella how long her run is and she’ll tell you, “I’m taking my show up for a period.” How long is a period? “Well, mine is about 5 days long on average.” After a slew of excellent reviews in 2016 for her full run of Adventures In Menstruating, Chella is bringing back the popular show from 7th – 11th August to once again raise awareness of period poverty and offer poignant, funny and practical solutions to the issue. This updated show will also highlight the incredible strides that have been made in the growing movement to end period poverty, and the serious importance of challenging taboos.
Says Chella: “Well, even little changes, like, my old flyer used to ask, ‘What is that blue stuff, and why isn’t it red?’ and now companies have started to use red liquid in their ads, so I’ve had to change that bit. I even worked with Girlguiding UK on a period poverty badge and now it’s available. Plus, campaigners are now joining in from loads of angles – there’s an increased focus on education, how to support refugees, women in prison, and barriers to diagnosing illness, so change is happening. I used to feel like a bit of a lone voice banging on about the effects of period shame, but since the topic broke in the national media and more campaigners have joined in, I feel like I’ve got a whole period positive posse out there, and that’s something to celebrate.”
Reflecting these changes, Chella has teamed up to deliver her show with other campaigns that have joined the fight to end period poverty – including WaterAid and The Bloody Big Brunch – and will be collecting donations of reusable and disposable menstrual products for local food banks and using humour to break taboos and look at further long-term solutions throughout the week:
Says Chella: “The week starts heavy and ends light, and the events are for people of all genders, whether they get periods or not.”
Exams. Period. Campaign launches in Sheffield today and runs nationally throughout the summer exams period.
Exams shouldn’t be a test of period poverty or a measure of menstrual taboos.
Sheffield schools are adding one more item to their invigilation kits this year. Along with the pens, pencils and protractors, they’re thinking about periods too. A supply of menstrual products will be put in the toilets nearest exam halls and topped up for each exam, and schools are displaying posters with the #periodpositive Schools Charter mark to ensure pupils know about it.
#periodpositive founder, former head of PSHE and leading menstruation educator Chella Quint says she was motivated to launch the campaign after speaking to pupils in her old school. “It can be stressful to get caught short on your period, and exams are stressful enough anyway. Add in the complicating factor of exam rules preventing you from taking anything to the toilet with you, and it’s your basic teenage nightmare.”
She remembers one pupil bursting into her PSHE classroom saying, “Miss! I got my period in the exam and I didn’t have anything. I was more focused on my period than I was on the exam questions!”
Chella added, “Anyone who’s ever sat silently panicking through an exam for any reason can relate to this particular worry. You don’t have to get periods to understand why it would be a relief to know that if your pencil snaps, if you’ve forgotten your calculator, or if you come on your period a few days early, your school’s got you covered.”
Supporting Exams. Period. sends a message that schools are ready to challenge menstrual taboos by making a simple but powerfully effective change in the school environment that, if made an annual part of exam protocol, begins to tackle one aspect of period poverty long term.
Chella points out: “Period poverty is not just financial poverty – sometimes it’s poverty of knowledge, confidence, sustainability, or access, and schools can address this right now.
“Any school can do this, any exams coordinator can facilitate this and let pupils know, and in Sheffield #periodpositive has been taking donations of a variety of disposable menstrual products all term in different brands, sizes and absorbencies for just this purpose.”
Chella’s #periodpositive plans don’t end there. She recently shared a recommended programme of study that she hopes will be incorporated into the new Relationships and Sex Education Curriculum Guidelines at the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women’s Health, and for the pupils in secondary now who will miss out on the changes, she is working on a book all about periods.
An invigilator pack with posters, logos and guidance notes can be downloaded here.
Chella asks parents and pupils around the UK to encourage their schools to support #periodpositive’s campaign (#examsperiod) and put the focus back on Exams. Period.
Coming soon… That Bloody Think Tank
Watch this space!
Sheffield aims to become the first #periodpositive city in the UK!
Can you imagine a school where you can ask any teacher for a spare tampon, the head can recommend a good period-tracking app and you make reusable menstrual pads in GCSE textiles? Well, that’s what the new #periodpositive Schools Charter pilot project is proposing, to change the way young people think about periods and provide long-term solutions to period poverty.
#periodpositive schools charter free pilot
Sheffield-based comedian, artist, education researcher and former head of PSHE Chella Quint is inviting local primary and secondary schools to an information session drop-in and presentation for a free pilot project from #periodpositive, supported by Learn Sheffield and Sheffield City Council. She is aiming to turn Sheffield into Britain’s first #periodpositive city through a new school charter to support us to become the first place in the UK to formally develop a strategy to challenge menstrual taboos.
Chella said: “I’ve met with Sheffield City Council members, talked to school governors and had a big meeting with the chief executive of Learn Sheffield. It was brilliant! Everyone is ready to give this a go and is encouraging primary and secondary schools to take part! It’s so heartening to be able to share my research this way, and I’m so proud of my city!”
Sheffield MP Louise Haigh says: “It’s testament to the brilliant campaigning work that Chella’s put behind #periodpositive that Sheffield will now become the first #periodpositive city. This is a huge step forward in empowering everyone to be able to learn and talk about menstruation and ensuring we adapt long term solutions to tackling issues around period education and period poverty.”
The resources Chella has developed recently received national recognition from leading sexual health charities Brook and FPA for delivering innovative sex and relationships education to young people.
FPA Chief Executive Natika Halil said: “This change in law means that the Government will be looking to develop new RSE guidance, and we’re keen to make sure that the decisionmakers are aware of the very best examples such as this. We hope that the programme being delivered by #periodpositive will be replicated across the country, so that all young people can benefit from the high quality, age appropriate relationships and sex education they deserve.”
Periods and menstruation education have made headlines this year – and period activism is going strong. With a growing awareness on a national level about “period poverty”, companies introducing menstrual-leave policies and RSE (relationships and sex education) becoming a statutory school subject for 2019, periods are increasingly easier to talk about. People are ready to challenge harmful taboos and change the conversation around menstruation, but we need a long-term education solution. It is time for the #periodpositive Charter.
In a school context, getting “the period talk” right is crucial to young people’s health and wellbeing. Ensuring that pupils feel safe and comfortable starting and managing periods in both primary and secondary school, accessing supplies and approaching staff for support can be exponentially valuable.
Research with pupils and teachers in Sheffield through #periodpositive and the Gender Respect Project has shown surprisingly wide-reaching benefits to creating a taboo-free atmosphere for all pupils around what can be a sensitive subject.
The Charter will support schools to evidence that:
● the school environment supports young people to manage
menstruation easily in order to maximise learning time, attendance and focus
● young people understand the biology, management, media and myths around menstruation
● staff feel more confident and knowledgeable about supporting pupils’ menstruation education, both formally and in teachable moments
● subject specialists and pastoral staff are prepared for upcoming National Curriculum guidelines for RSE in 2019
“Lots of people are concerned about period poverty. Issues around young people accessing menstrual products is a longstanding problem that has developed over many years and a long-term solution is necessary. I believe the #periodpositive Charter will be a timely intervention that has been in development since 2013 and is ready to launch. It came from focus-group work with young people, teachers, recent school leavers and parents.
“The charter serves as a valuable catalyst for transforming the menstruation landscape for young people now and in the future. It doesn’t just challenge taboos – it dramatically improves the environment that maintains the taboos, and encourages everyone in the school and the community to be a part of that culture shift.”
“I hope that teachers, parents and pupils will show their support and encourage their schools to get involved. I’m very proud to live in a city that is willing to get the national conversation moving!” – Chella Quint
Please RSVP by emailling firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to attend the session or email with any queries or to register your interest in the pilot.
Chella Quint is performing her Adventures in Menstruating comedy show in the Women in Comedy Festival on Friday 27 October 8:30 pm at the Castle Hotel, Manchester. Tickets: http://bit.ly/wicaim
8 September 2017 #periodpositive has been recognised for delivering innovative sex and relationships education!
#periodpositive has been recognised by leading sexual health charities Brook and FPA for delivering innovative sex and relationships education to young people. Following the announcement that Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) is to become mandatory in all schools in England, the charities joined forces to source the best examples of schools-based RSE throughout the UK and present them to policymakers and practitioners to help shape the new curriculum.
The best examples were selected by a panel of young people and will be featured in a report, to showcase high-quality RSE to Government.
FPA Chief Executive Natika Halil said: “This change in law means that the Government will be looking to develop new RSE guidance, and we’re keen to make sure that the decision-makers are aware of the very best examples such as this. We hope that the programme being delivered by #periodpositive will be replicated across the country, so that all young people can benefit from the high quality, age-appropriate relationships and sex education they deserve”
Brook Chief Executive Helen Marshall said: “So often we hear stories about RSE in schools being inconsistent and poor quality. By launching this campaign we are delighted to give teachers and professionals the opportunity to promote and share their positive examples of RSE with policymakers and help shape the future for young people”.”
#periodpositive’s campaign for Menstrual Hygiene Day 2017
Petition title: Brands Off! Keep companies out of menstruation education.
- Sign and share the petition (launching 28 May 2017)
- Help us to get #periodpositive and #brandsoff trending on social media
- Visit www.periodpositive.com to find out more and pledge your support for taboo-breaking menstruation education
For over a century, menstruation education has been co-opted by companies selling disposable menstrual products. These are the same companies that reinforce menstruation taboos, by associating periods with shame and secrecy, in order to sell more products. This situation has to stop.
With Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) about to become a compulsory part of the National Curriculum, now is the time to ensure that menstruation education is of high quality, and places children’s best interests above those of profit-makers. Let’s not entrust our children’s developing self-esteem and understanding of reproductive health to ‘the tampon lady’, or any other supplier of branded teaching resources. We want parents, schools, and the government to reclaim control over this critical aspect of a child’s physical and emotional development, by committing to make sure that menstruation education becomes ad-free.
Sign the petition to help the #periodpositive project put this into action. It’s about bloody time!
Part of WOW – Women of the World11 Mar Blue Room, Level 1, Royal Festival Hall
Break all taboos in this comedy for menstruators and non-menstruators of all genders from science comedian, sex educator and #periodpositive campaign founder, Chella Quint.
Five Stars and one more show!
Our founder Chella Quint’s comedy show, Adventures in Menstruating, had a sell-out (well… full up – it was the Free Fringe) five star run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (and had a couple of other lovely reviews and mentions), and she’s doing it again in her adopted home town of Sheffield on 15th October as part of the Off the Shelf Festival!
Here’s the Sheffield show link – advance booking is strongly recommended!
Check out these lovely audience reviews:
This was so good! Educational and funny, a definite must-see. – Fran Day
A funny look at periods hosted by the lovely, likeable and well informed Chella! A relaxed hour of fun. The show was a light hearted look at a somewhat taboo topic but it also had a serious side. It highlighted the importance of spreading a period positive message to girls and young women. You can donate sanitary protection at the show which they deliver to local food banks so pop into Sainsbury’s or Tesco’s on the way. Oh and there were lots of blokes there when we went … so men don’t be put off! – Andy
Incredible show. Funny, informative, remarkably non-confrontational and an absolute joy to watch. Men and women of all ages would enjoy this show, and if you don’t come out a little bit in love with Chella, you’re a stronger human than me. – Amber Peachey-Moore
And some delightful tweets:
Adventures In Menstruating is on the money. It is funny, educational, inspirational and a call to arms. – @alexanderkelly, Third Angel
Amazing show, everyone must see it – @dianeatkinson Manchester Girl Geeks
Absolutely brilliant show by @chellaquint tonight! Some of the best & funniest science communication I’ve ever seen! – @rebecca_curtis
In a darkened room full of strangers I’ve done the Menstruation Mambo, sang the Crimson Tide and come out with a stain! 10/10 – @sharonowen06
Adventures in Menstruating @chellaquint hands down best science communication I have ever seen! – @lauramossedu
Went to see @chellaquint’s show Adventures in Menstruating with @hungrygraduate and it was bloody great! – @thomashind
I had the joy of seeing Chella Quint’s incredible show at the fringe yesterday. Go! Please all go! –@ameliasalty
Passionate and bloody funny – @tsotfringe The Sick of the Fringe
Completely inspired by this show!!! Can not wait to let more people know about Leak Chic!! – @ellenrosejones
Adventures in Menstruating has been the highlight of #edfringe2016 – hilarious and informative! – @morphosaurus
Adventures in Menstruating at the Fringe!
Our founder Chella Quint’s educational comedy show, Adventures in Menstruating, sold out at the Manchester Women in Comedy Festival, got four stars at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and… is back at the fringe again this summer! 6-28 August except Tuesdays, 6:40 pm at the Banshee Labyrinth!
A Bleeding Shame
Our founder Chella Quint will be talking about #periodpositive education and menstrual taboos with Woman’s Hour’s Jane Garvey on A Bleeding Shame providing a cultural history of menstrual taboos and reflecting on last year’s fringe show in preparation for THIS year’s fringe show. Tune in to Radio 4 live at 11 am or online/abroad via BBC iPlayer Radio shortly after 11:30, follow Chella Quint and tweet to @chellaquint and @periodpositive using #periodpositive and #bleedingshame to find out more!
Introducing… #periodpositive Partners!
Since comedian, designer, education researcher and #periodpositive founder Chella Quint coined the term “period positive” in 2006, she has used this alliterative and catchy phrase in her popular zine and comedy show, Adventures in Menstruating, in installations and campaigning and has always invited others to join her. “It’s to show that we’re not afraid to challenge taboos and talk confidently and openly about everything menstrual, no matter how much we know or how we feel about periods, whether we menstruate or not.”
Ten years later #periodpositive is used by campaigners worldwide and the menstrual taboo landscape is starting to change.
Chella’s view on this: “I think people like the phrase ‘period positive’ because they realise it isn’t about skipping through a meadow, singing about how wonderful periods are. You can still hate your periods, or be indifferent to them; it’s about having a positive attitude to talking openly and challenging taboos about reproductive health.”
The best way to challenge these taboos once and for all is through education – because, like this year’s Menstrual Hygiene Day theme asserts – Menstruation matters, for everyone everywhere.
Now, Chella has combined her findings as a teacher researcher with DECSY’s Gender Respect Project, her art, and her comedy and is launching the start of a comprehensive menstruation education programme on 28 May, Menstrual Hygiene Day. Starting from 28 May, you’ll be able to become a #periodpositive Partner and check out some recommended resources. Soon you can download a school audit, lesson plans and recommended resources, some which incorporate Chella’s spoof advertising installation STAINS™, some of which ensure kids are getting the nuts and bolts of the biology and others that help pupils understand the different reusable and disposable options for menstruation management.
There is currently no comprehensive menstruation education programme in the UK, and #periodpositive will be sharing progressive and inclusive methods and ideas, for example:
- ensuring corporate branding and advertising are nowhere to be seen
- including reusable menstrual products
- providing materials for younger pupils
- and including all genders in learning
Why should schools, families and communities prioritise this?
Chella: “Taboos often remain because of an almost unconscious transmission of misinformation. The ‘period talk’ has become a part of this paradigm and we need to completely transform menstruation education in schools. The current way we teach or, frequently, avoid teaching about menstruation is unsustainable in a number of ways. Young people embody early attitudes about their reproductive health, and a lack of understanding or negative influences can have serious consequences, from teasing, to negotiating consent and pleasure, to missing early diagnoses of life-changing illnesses like endometriosis and ovarian cancer.”
Not all learning happens in schools, though, and the http://www.periodpositive.com resources also include opportunities for parents, youth workers and health care professionals to up their #periodpositive game! And yes, there’s even an interpretive dance. It’s called the Menstrual Product Mambo.
There are some excellent resources and organisations out there that also fit in with Chella’s #periodpositive vision. To help supporters of #periodpositive find others who match these values, and bring some focus and action-taking to this movement, Chella is working with a team of advisers across sexual health education, diversity and inclusion, design and marketing to develop the #periodpositive Partners award. This award will officially lend the #periodpositive name and emblem to projects, resources and campaigns that share the same taboo-breaking ethos. If you would like to share a resource you’ve created, see some of the recent submissions, or find out how to apply to be a #periodpositive Partner alongside your own, check back here on 28th May.
You’ll also be able to find out how you can take action to support the #periodpositive Partner Schools campaign as a parent, student, youth worker, health care practitioner, charity worker or any other concerned human! Follow @periodpositive and share your thoughts this Saturday and beyond using #periodpositive and #menstruationmatters on social media.