Widening the Cycle is a 3-day social justice art show addressing the complex issues pertaining to menstruation and reproductive justice. Following the 2013 biennial conference of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research (SMCR), artist and menstrual designer Jen Lewis was inspired to curate a visual exhibit that would further enrich, inform and strengthen the interdisciplinary event. Menstruation is a human right that must be made visible in order to become part of the broader gender equality discussion. This radical thematic collection brings together 36 artists from 10 countries to disrupt the current cultural narrative and replace it with one that reflects the real thoughts, emotions and experiences of menstruators.
Widening the Cycle threads together global voices to raise consciousness about menstruation and reproductive justice through feminist art. The mission of Widening the Cycle is to energize the public menstrual dialogue by making the menstrual cycle visible through thought-provoking visual imagery. Illuminating our monthly blood inserts menstruation into the broader gender equality discussion; empowers us to neutralize stigma; normalizes our bodies; and revolutionizes the way society sees bodies that menstruate.
Curator / Exhibition Planner
Jen Lewis is the Conceptual Artist and Menstrual Designer behind Beauty in Blood, a bold, transformative macrophotography and video art project that confronts social taboos pertaining to menstruation and the female body. She received her B.A. in the History of Art from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) in 2001. Her work has been displayed in group exhibitions internationally, such as Women at the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit (United States), Period Pieces at the Urban Artroom (Sweden), the 9th Annual Juried Art Show at The Kinsey Institute (United States) and Art to Change the World at ArtPrize® (United States). Jen is an active member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research with a monthly “Menstrual Pin-Up” series on their blog, re:Cycling. Additionally, Jen is a Planning Committee Member, as well as the Documentation Coordinator/Video Archivist, for the Feminist Art Conference (FAC) based in Toronto. She currently lives and works in Denver, Colorado.
Society for Menstrual Cycle Research
The Society for Menstrual Cycle Research (SMCR) is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1979 by a multidisciplinary group of women who were pioneers in understanding the centrality of menstrual cycle research to women’s health. Today they are an interdisciplinary group of researchers, health care providers, policy makers and students, as well as activists and artists who share an interest in women’s lives and health needs as they are related to the menstrual cycle. SMCR’s mission is to be the source of guidance, expertise and ethical considerations for researchers, practitioners, policy makers and funding resources interested in the menstrual cycle.
Center for Women's Health
and Human Rights
The Center for Women's Health and Human Rights (CWHHR) at Suffolk University is the first academic institute in the United States to focus on women's health and human rights in the social sciences, arts and humanities, and public policy. Founded in 2003, the CWHHR is committed to furthering the dignity and wellbeing of women and girls everywhere by exploring and extending the linkages between women's health and human rights.