‘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

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

Abstract:
In August 2010, a ten-day participatory photo research project entitled, ‘Working the City: Experiences of Migration Women in inner city Johannesburg’ , was conducted with eleven migrant women sex workers in inner-city Johannesburg.  The project formed the basis of a research study that sought to explore self (re)presentation and the influences of urban space on representation.  ‘Working the City’ involved collaboration between Sisonke Sex Worker Movement , Market Photo Workshop (MPW) , and the African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS)  at Wits University, and culminated in a month long public exhibition at the Market Photo Workshop Gallery in Johannesburg.  Since this initial exhibition, ‘Working the City’ has traveled throughout South Africa and beyond as both an example of a research study that utilized a visual methodology, and as an exhibition that encourages  public engagement with the ‘voices’ of a highly stigmatized, marginalized and under-represented urban group – migrant women who sell sex.

About Elsa Oliveira

Elsa Oliveira is a researcher and PhD student at the African Centre for Migration and Society.

Since 2010, Elsa has been involved in a range of research projects that makes use of participatory visual and narrative methods. These projects aim to engage in research that explores the lived experiences of multiple migrant groups, with a specific focus on issues of sexuality and migration.

Elsa was one of two ACMS staff that launched the MoVE (methods.visual.explore) project. She is interested in exploring the ways in which research outputs can be disseminated into wider public forums and in the ways in which research can support social justice movements.

As part of maHp, Elsa will assist in coordinating visual research projects and undertaking research exploring visual methodologies for investigating migration and health in southern Africa.

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