Menarche Bits

probing menarche experiences


Keywords: Soma design, feminist technology, menarche, sports,  soft robotics.

Category: Soma design
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
University: KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Collaboration: Solna High School
Team: Madeline Balaam, Marianela Ciolfi Felice, Özgün Kilic Afsar, Nadia Campo Woytuk, Johanna Lundkvist, Kristin Lilja
Year: 2019-2021
“Menarche Bits” is a design research project focusing on young menstruators bodily and social experiences of menarche in sports contexts. The project is exploring how soma design methods can be used in women’s health, with special attention to feminist values of advocacy and participation. The project is a collaboration with a group of young adoloscents and the Swedish National Sports Education at Solna High School.

One of the outcomes of the project is “Menarche Bits”: a collection of objects (soft shape-changing actuators, heat pads and big shapes) that allow menstruators to attend to and make space for their menstruating body.


Marie Louise Juul Søndergaard, Marianela Ciolfi Felice, and Madeline Balaam. 2021. Designing Menstrual Technologies with Adolescents. In Proc. CHI 2021. ACM (2021). (Best Paper Award, top 1% of submissions)

Marie Louise Juul Søndergaard, Ozgun Kilic Afsar, Marianela Ciolfi Felice, Nadia Campo Woytuk, and Madeline Balaam. 2020. Designing with Intimate Materials and Movements: Making “Menarche Bits”. In Proc. DIS 2020. ACM (2020). (Best Paper Award, top 1% of submissions)

Marie Louise Juul Søndergaard, Ozgun Kilic Afsar and Madeline Balaam. (Forthcoming 2021). Material Experiences of Menstruation through Symbiotic Technologies. In “Materials Experience 2: Expanding Territories of Materials and Design“. Edited by Owain Pedgley, Valentina Rognoli, Elvin Karana. Elsevier, 20201.

Featured in

Form Design Magazine, issue 287 “Frauen und Design”, March 2020, Germany.