Bleedin’ Saor student collective works with University and Hey Girls to make products available in campus bathrooms

Date posted

6 December 2019


A student collective has worked with Edinburgh Napier University and social enterprise Hey Girls to design a dispenser that will see free sanitary products made available in bathrooms across University buildings.People gather in a toilet to celebrate the end of the Bloody Big Project

‘Bleedin’ Saor’ consists of a collection of Product Design, Film and TV students from Edinburgh Napier’s School of Arts and Creative Industries. It is aiming to raise awareness of period poverty and to put an end to the stigma surrounding ‘that time of the month’.

As part of their third year placement, Bleedin’ Saor’s product design students – Sam Calder, Hannah Stevens and Brogan Henderson - have been working with the University and with social enterprise Hey Girls to design the dispenser which was unveiled today (5 December) at a special event at Merchiston campus.

The final design – which can fit into almost any space and can be fixed to a wall or free standing – builds on the work already done by the group earlier on in the year that saw the creation of menstruation stations across all three campuses.

The new dispensers will stock a range of product bought from Hey Girls – a social enterprise based in Edinburgh, which has developed its own range of environmentally friendly product that tackles period poverty across the country.

They will be located across all three campuses, as well as student accommodation sites and small University buildings such as the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre. The menstruation stations will continue to be publically present across all three campuses, ensuring anyone has access to free, plastic-free sanitary products whenever they need them.

Free sanitary products were made available across Edinburgh Napier campuses in 2018, with a range of free single use and reusable sanitary products made available thanks to Scottish Government funding.

The student collective has been working for the best part of a year to get feedback on the locations and potential dispenser designs from students and staff. This has ultimately led the team to design something that will sit where most people would need such products – in the bathroom.

Social enterprise Hey Girls now plans to use the new dispenser design to expand outreach to other business’ which also want to provide sanitary products in their bathrooms. 
The unveiling...

Bleedin’ Saor’s Sam Calder said: “The design of the dispenser was definitely a learning process. For most of us this was our first live client project. So it was important to make it perfect. We stuck to what we knew and took advice from our lecturers to end up with the final dispenser.

“The main considerations for the dispenser were a fine balance between being able to hold plenty of product whilst also being as compact as possible. We wanted to make sure that the dispenser could fit in almost any space as it is also a commercial product for Hey Girls. The dispenser design gives the option of having both hanging and free standing options depending on the environment. This makes sure that no bathroom can’t not have space for a dispenser.”

Jamie Pearson, Environmental Sustainability Manager at Edinburgh Napier, said: “The fact that we have dispensers at the University designed and developed by Edinburgh Napier students is fantastic. The dispensers will complement the menstruation stations currently at our campuses and accommodation sites to further support access to single tampons and pads as well as full packs and reusable products offered through Hey Girls.

“We are proud of the support shown by the Scottish Government which has enabled the University to provide all products to students including procurement of the new dispensers installed.”

The Bleedin’ Saor collective has been an integral part of the Bloody Big Project which has seen a group of staff and students come together to break the stigma and challenges faced by individuals around menstruation.

In March, the collective worked with creative marketing and PR agency Wire to roll out its Bloody Big Brunch initiative across the University.

The event saw staff, students and friends of the University attend a brunch across all three campuses but instead of paying with money, guests paid with sanitary product donations.

It was the first time such an event had been held by a Scottish university and saw a total of nearly 400 boxes of sanitary products donated which were divided and sent to a variety of good causes across the country.

Also part of the project is an exciting documentary about period poverty being led by BA Film and BA Television students under the Bleedin’ Saor collective name.

The film takes its inspiration from the Scottish government’s ground-breaking initiative to provide free period products in all schools, colleges and universities and will look into the scale of the problem and the stigma and challenges faced by individuals around menstruation.

Following the journey of the Product Design students, the documentary will also cover the team’s trip to Uganda from earlier this year, where they researched international contexts and projects tackling sustainable period provision. The film is directed by Cosima de los Arcos - fourth year BA Film – and will be produced by Lizzie Gardiner – third year BA Film.

The entire Bleedin’ Saor project has been co-ordinated by Product Design lecturer, Ruth Cochrane, Dr. Kirsten Macleod and SACI placements officer, Lindsay Morgan and has received funding from Santander Mobility Grants and other funding initiatives.

Student Sam Calder added: “The Bloody Big Project has been an invaluable internship for us. The real world client experience has boosted our portfolios and will give us a great head start in our careers post-graduation. We have met some amazing people and organisations along the way and hope to keep up these relationships.

“We would just like to give a big thanks to everyone who helped us along the way. The university and especially the guys in BRT for giving us space to work for 6 months and supporting us in our stressful moments. The thank you list could go on and on. So thank you to everyone who believed in us and fought for Period Dignity in Scotland and further afield.”

Lindsay Morgan, Placement Co-ordinator for the School of Arts and Creative Industries, said: “The student team working on the Bloody Big Project have blown us away with their passion, dedication and creativity. The new dispensers and menstruation stations will allow students to access plastic free products whenever they need them whilst promoting period positivity. Look out for the Bloody Big Documentary, released in April 2020, to see the students journey unfold.”
Study Design at Edinburgh Napier