In October 2010, an exhibition entitled "Working the City: experiences of migrant women in inner-city Johannesburg" was held at the Market Photo Workshop (MPW) in Johannesburg. The month-long exhibition was the culmination of a participatory photography project which involved collaboration between Sisonke Sex Worker Movement, the MPW and the African Centre for Migration and Society (ACMS) at Wits University.
The project worked with eleven migrant women involved in sex work in Johannesburg inner-city. The women were trained in basic photography and editing skills. Under the mentorship of students from the MPW, the women created posters that displayed their photo stories, captions and narratives of their experiences. This project contributes to an ongoing body of research that is being undertaken with women involved in sex work in inner-city Johannesburg.
In this blog (click to view) we share some of the images selected and displayed at the exhibition, along with the accompanying captions that were written by the photographers. We hope that this visual project will contribute to an increasing body of knowledge relating to the experiences of migrant women involved in sex work and how they represent themselves, perceive and experience the city. Importantly, we see this methodology as a way of ensuring that the voices of urban populations are heard, with the aim being to influence policy and programmatic responses to address the needs of inner-city residents.
Since 2010, the exhibition has been displayed at a range of local and international conferences, including the International Conference on Urban Health, Minas Gerais, Brazil; Es'Kia Graduate Colloquium, Johannesburg, South Africa; International Association of Forced Migration Studies, Kampala, Uganda; 1st International HIV Social Science and Humanities Conference, Durban, South Africa.
[This press release was received from the University of Witwatersrand's African Centre for Migration Society]