Whose voice, who cares?: Reflecting on a decade of participatory arts-based research with diverse migrant communities in three South African provinces.
(University of the Witwatersrand)
Joanna Vearey (Wits University)
Paper short abstract:
Drawing on a decade of work, we consider the ways participatory arts-based research have (and not) enabled us to translate our feminist values in meaningful ways. We also consider the challenges, benefits, and dilemmas of what it means to seek to support the audibility of participants' voices.
Paper long abstract:
Since 2006, the African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS) has been involved in a wide range of participatory arts-based research projects with diverse migrant communities in rural and urban areas across southern Africa. As the co-founders of the MoVE (methods:visual:explore) project, housed at the ACMS, we are committed to exploring collaborative forms of knowledge production and the ways participatory methodologies might be used to generate more respectful research, engagement, and dissemination "with" rather than "on" those whose lifeworlds are under investigation. Our feminist practice is premised on the idea that research should be driven by a strong social justice agenda, with a commitment to sharing outputs that are produced during the research process. To date, MoVE projects have involved partnership with migrants residing in informal settlements, Somali migrants and refugees, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBTQ+) asylum seekers, and migrant women, men, and transgender persons involved in sex work. These and other MoVE projects have culminated in various research and advocacy outputs, including public exhibitions, engagement with officials, the development of accessible materials, and free downloadable E-Books. In this presentation, we take a reflexive step back on nearly a decade of work to consider the ways participatory (arts-based) research have (and not) enabled us to translate our feminist values in meaningful ways. We also consider the challenges, benefits, and dilemmas of what it means when seeking to support the audibility of participants' voices.
"Who do we write our research for?" Sharing reflections on decolonising engagement and access to research outputs in the field of African studies