Jo Vearey


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Jo Vearey is an Associate Professor with the African Centre for Migration & Society, University of the Witwatersrand. She holds an Honorary Fellowship with the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh, and a Senior Fellowship at the Centre for Peace, Development and Democracy at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. In 2015, Jo was awarded a Humanities and Social Science Wellcome Trust Investigator Award. Jo holds a MSc in the Control of Infectious Diseases (LSHTM, 2003), a PhD in Public Health (Wits, 2010), and has been rated by the National Research Foundation as a Young Researcher. In 2014 and 2015, Jo received a Friedel Sellschop Award from the University of the Witwatersrand for outstanding young researchers. She was a Marie Curie Research Fellow in 2013, at the UNESCO Chair on Social and Spatial Inclusion of Migrants, University of Venice (SSIM-IUAV), Venice, Italy.

With a commitment to social justice and the development of pro-poor policy responses, Jo’s research explores international, regional, national and local responses to migration, health, and urban vulnerabilities. Her research interests focus on urban health, public health, migration and health, the social determinants of health, HIV, informal settlements and sex work. Jo is particularly interested in knowledge production, dissemination and utilisation including the use of visual and arts-based methodologies.

Jo has a range of international collaborations, including an ESRC-NRF funded project with the University of Edinburgh, a WOTRO funded project with the VU University, Amsterdam on migration and sex work, and partnerships with the University of Massachusetts Boston and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine‘s Faculty of Public Health and Policy and Gender, Violence and Health Unit.

CV | Publications


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Towards a migration-aware health system in South Africa: a strategic opportunity to address health inequity

August 24, 2017 0 Comments

This article provides an overview of the associations between migration and health in South Africa, and calls for the urgent development of ‘migration-aware’ health systems.

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Examining the use of participatory visual and narrative methods to explore the lived experience of migrants in Southern Africa

August 10, 2017 0 Comments and

In this paper, we explore the opportunities – and challenges – associated with visual research methodologies.

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Negotiating the city: Exploring the intersecting vulnerabilities of non-national migrant mothers who sell sex in Johannesburg, South Africa

August 3, 2017 0 Comments and

This article explores the intersecting vulnerabilities of non-national migrant mothers who sell sex in Johannesburg, South Africa – one of the most unequal cities in the world.

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Work and wellbeing on the urban periphery

The latest maHp research collaboration with Security at the Margins (SeaM) sought to understand the labour and health/wellbeing conditions that informal artisanal small-scale mining (ASM) communities on the periphery of Johannesburg reside in (download the full report here).

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Beyond the single story: creative research approaches with migrant sex workers in South Africa

This article shares insights into why we need to think differently about ways of doing research with marginalised migrant groups – including migrant sex workers in South Africa.

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Giving Birth in a Foreign Land: Exploring the Maternal Healthcare Experiences of Zimbabwean Migrant Women Living in Johannesburg, South Africa

In order to inform future research, an exploratory study investigating the maternal healthcare and help-seeking experiences of migrant women living in inner-city Johannesburg was undertaken.

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Urban Health in Johannesburg: Migration, Exclusion and Inequality

March 27, 2017 0 Comments

Cities of the global south—including Johannesburg—are associated with unplanned and unmanaged urban growth; poor urban governance (which is predominantly reactive rather than proactive); migration and mobility; and the resultant pressure on access to adequate services, including water, sanitation, housing, and healthcare.

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Moeketsi Modisenyane

Moeketsi Modisenyane is the Director: International Health Relations and Support at the National Department of Health, South Africa.  Moeketsi is currently working with various academic institutes, civil society, regional and international organisations and partners in securing the right to health for migrants in the South Africa and the SADC regional.

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Health systems and migration

South Africa, like the rest of the Southern African Development Community, has a high prevalence of communicable diseases, an increasing non-communicable disease burden, and diverse internal and cross-border population movements.  However, migration-aware responses are currently lacking.  This research explores the ways in which migration and mobility affect health systems, and suggests ways to improve responses to the movement of people.  

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HIV, mobility and migration

December 6, 2016 0 Comments

In this research project, the role of contemporary population mobility in mediating the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan African (SSA) is explored and recommendations for action to assist in strengthening responses to HIV – including the call for migration-aware programming – in the region will be made.

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Sex work is work

Sex work – the consensual sale of sex between adults – is an important livelihood activity for some migrants in South Africa. In this research area, we explore intersections between sex work, migration, health and well-being.

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Exploring The Migration Profiles of Primary Healthcare Users in South Africa

South Africa’s public healthcare system responses seldom engage with migration. This exploratory study investigates migration profiles and experiences of primary healthcare (PHC) users.

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Queer Crossings

December 2, 2016 0 Comments and

Oliveira, E., Meyers, S. and Vearey, J. (eds) (2016) Queer Crossings.  MoVE and ACMS: Johannesburg

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The Sex Worker Zine Project

December 2, 2016 0 Comments and

Oliveira, E. and Vearey, J. (eds) (2016) The Sex Worker Zine Project. MoVE and ACMS: Johannesburg

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Izwi Lethu

Schuler, G., Oliveira, E. and Vearey, J. (eds) (2016) Izwi Lethu. MoVE and ACMS: Johannesburg.

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Migration and sex work in South Africa: key concerns for gender and health

December 1, 2016 0 Comments

Richter, M. and Vearey, J.  (2016) Migration and sex work in South Africa:  key concerns for gender and health.  In: Gideon, J. (ed) Gender and Health Handbook. Edward Elgar Publishing: UK

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‘Know me! But, remember that this is only part of who I am’: a participatory photo research project with migrant women sex workers in inner-city Johannesburg, South Africa

December 1, 2016 0 Comments and

Oliveira, E. and Vearey, J. (2016) ‘Know me! But, remember that this is only part of who I am’: a participatory photo research project with migrant women sex workers in inner-city Johannesburg, South Africa.  In: Arnold, M. and Meskimmon, M.  (eds) Homeland:  Migration, Women, Citizenship. Liverpool University Press: Liverpool

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Mobility, migration and generalised HIV epidemics: a focus on sub-Saharan Africa

December 1, 2016 0 Comments

Vearey, J. (2016) Mobility, migration and generalised HIV epidemics: a focus on sub-Saharan Africa. In: Thomas, F. (ed) Handbook of Migration and Health. Edward Elgar Publishing: UK

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Understanding healthcare and population mobility in southern Africa: The case of South Africa

November 24, 2016 0 Comments

Migration provides opportunities for health and economic benefits, and has the potential to positively and negatively affect health systems. This paper outlines the authors’ current research and existing responses to migration and health in southern Africa.

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Research ethics in practice: lessons from studies exploring interpersonal violence in different contexts

November 10, 2016 0 Comments

Studies researching interpersonal violence (IPV) are associated with a range of ethical challenges. In this article, lessons are drawn from three case studies exploring the experiences of different groups of survivors and perpetrators…

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