Herstory: reproductive innovation, rights and politics

Please watch the video above to see our Curator’s introduction to the exhibition Herstory. The exhibition ran from 10 January 2020 until we had to close due to COVID-19.
We’ve put as much as we can from the exhibition up here so that you can enjoy the works remotely.

Download the PDF of our accompanying Gallery Guide here

Setting the context: reproductive health timeline:

Written/curated by Louise Latter. Art work by Malikah Holder. Click on the image to zoom in.

Images of art works by Paula Pin.

If you look closely you will recognise parts of these curious cases. Her assembled cases of medical devices and testing ephemera suggest a DIY toolkit for gynaecological intervention. There is a speculum, a centrifuge (a device that spins to separate liquids of different weights), scissors and cotton wool buds. These cases showcase experimental processes and devices that Pin has made and collected. Her work has many themes and within the context of Herstory we focus on how her work democratises medicine/science and aims to share power, knowledge and skill.

Housewives Making Drugs by Mary Maggic

What if it were possible to synthesize hormones in the kitchen? Imagine if this was as easy and simple as cooking a meal. “Housewives Making Drugs” is a fictional cooking show where the trans-femme stars, Maria and Maria teach the audience at home step-by-step how to cook their own hormones. They perform a simple “urine-hormone extraction recipe” while amusing the audience with their witty back-and-forth banter about body and gender politics, institutional access to hormones, and everything problematic with heteronormativity. Choosing the kitchen as the appropriate battleground for tackling body/gender politics and institutional access, the cooking show aims to challenge/subvert patriarchal society and speculate on a world with greater body sovereignty for all. Not a real instructional video for DIY hormones!”

Transgender Hormones & HRT by Aria Bennett

A Complete Guide to Transgender Hormones!

3D printing 

3D printing is a relatively new phenomenon. It started in the 1990’s as a way to quickly prototype objects. Users design an object on a computer and then it it is printed in 3d form. The printer adds layer upon layer of a certain material to create a finished item. In our exhibition we have 3d printed speculums, umbilical cord clips and fetoscopes. They were kindly printed in kind by Adam Woodall and open source designs from the med3dp website.
This quiet exhibit tells a big story. Free to use downloadable files allow communities anywhere in the world to set up micro production units, producing essential equipment for modest outlay, giving communities access to vital equipment anywhere the 3D printers can be installed.
The current pandemic has seen this process in action as groups worldwide are printing the scarce components needed for ventilators from open source software.

BOM’s Mini Bio Lab!

Activities for all ages to engage with relating to gynaecology and reproductive health

These are the molecular models of three of human sex hormones. If the gallery was open we’d be handing youngsters a lab coat and asking them to make their own molecular structures and although that’s not an option now, YouTube has just the solution. Here’s ‘how to make your own molecular models at home, devised by Liyah and her little brother. NB Adult guidance needed, there’s a bit of cooking involved.

Herstory Reading List for kids