MoVE method:visual:explore

MoVE method:visual:explore

MoVE focuses on the development of visual and other involved methodologies to research the lived experiences of migrants in southern Africa. Our approach aims to integrate social action with research, and involves collaboration with migrant participants, existing social movements, qualified facilitators and trainers, and research students engaged in participatory research methods.  This work includes the study and use of visual methods – including photography, narrative writing, participatory theatre, collage – and other arts-based approaches in the process of producing, analysing, and disseminating research data. These approaches to research facilitate story-telling and self-study, incorporating various auto ethnographic approaches. Central areas of investigation relate to issues of social justice in relation to migration, with a specific focus on sexuality, gender, health, and policy.

Coordinators:  Elsa Oliveira and Jo Vearey


MoVE projects

Narratives in a Time of Crisis (2022)

Narratives in a Time of Crisis is a MoVE (method.visual.explore) project that uses citizen journalism as a participatory (arts-based) research strategy to prioritize the perspectives, needs and concerns of international and domestic migrants involved in sex work in South Africa. The project invited a small group of individuals to share their stories of love, hope and hardship following one of the world’s harshest Covid-19 lockdowns.

Some thoughts about the Bua Modiri workshop encounter

In this blog post, maHp/ACMS artist and visual researcher Quinten Williams reflects on the recent Bua Modiri workshop encounter through the notions of combinations, expanded knowledge practices, and place-making.

Woman is the thread: maHp intern covers the Mwangaza Mama book launch

maHp intern Elena Olivieri blogs about the launch of the Mwangaza Mama project book.

Bua Modiri (2019)

Bua Modiri is Setswana for “speak out worker”. The name was chosen by a group of sex workers during a Sisonke meeting. Participants in this project were asked to focus on messages specific to their occupation.

Mwangaza Mama (2019)

Mwangaza Mama is a creative storytelling project that was undertaken in collaboration with a small group of cross-border migrant women living in Johannesburg. Inspired by previous MoVE work, the main aim of the two-year project was to learn more about migrant women’s everyday experiences of the city by including them in the production of knowledge about issues that affect them.

Sex Worker Poster Project (2017)

The Sex Worker Poster Project took the multiple stories generated through the Sex Worker Zine Project as the starting point to create advocacy messages in the form of posters. The zine stories provided an entry point to guide the conceptualisation of advocacy messages related to aspects of participants’ lives. Posters, however, are very different communication mechanisms to zines. While zines offer page sequences through which nuanced messages can emerge in a relationship of image and text, posters need to be a bit more direct in getting their


“Before you judge me, know my story!” The 14 sex workers involved in the KNOW MY STORY project took pictures, created collages, and wrote their stories, asking their audiences to listen to what they had to say about themselves, their lives, their struggles, and their reasons for selling sex. The project forms part of a larger ethnographic study on the experiences, health practices, and well-being of sex workers in Soweto, South Africa. Inspired by projects conducted by the African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS)

Everyday Mayfair (2017)

Everyday Mayfair is a participatory research methods project in which Somali migrants explore, through the production of maps, photography and storytelling, their migration journeys from Somalia to Mayfair, Johannesburg, their present relationship with the city and their future hopes and dreams of resettlement in other parts of the world.

Metropolitan Nomads: A Journey through Joburg’s Little Mogadishu (2014)

This project takes a close look at the everyday life of Somali migrants in Johannesburg, where collective stories of migration and survival interweave with individual desires and hopes of
seeking a better life outside a country shattered by decades of internal conflict.


#artsmethods provides spaces for dialogue between the multiple stakeholders involved in developing, undertaking and sharing visual, arts-based research projects.

Stitching our [HIV] Stories (2016)

Stitching our [HIV] Stories – activist quilts by members of Sisonke, the South African national sex worker movement.

Sex Worker Zine Project (2015)

Zines were produced by 24 men, women, and transgender persons who live and sell sex in the Gauteng, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga provinces of South Africa.

Izwi Lethu (2015 – ongoing)

Izwi Lethu – Our Voice – is newsletter produced by sex workers living and working in the Gauteng Province of South Africa.

Queer Crossings (2014)

Queer Crossings is a multimodal visual arts, narrative and poetry writing project conducted with lesbian, gay and bisexual asylum seekers and migrants.

Equal Airtime (2014)

Equal Airtime is a culmination of visual and narrative work produced by twenty migrant sex workers during two, three-day workshops. The workshops were held in Musina and Makhado – two small towns in the Limpopo Province, South Africa.

Volume 44 (2014)

Volume 44 is a participatory photography project with migrant sex workers in Musina (Limpopo Province) and Johannesburg (Gauteng Province).

Working the City (2010)

Working the City was a ten-day participatory photo project with eleven migrant women who live and sell sex in Hillbrow, an inner-city suburb of Johannesburg, located in the Gauteng Province, South Africa.

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