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WP 1

Working Women

Participatory theatre and the production of cultures of equality
with and by sex workers in South Africa

“Our lives are dissected and analysed in rooms that we are denied access to. Too often, people who sell sex are positioned as the perpetual ‘objects’, with our stories told through the lenses, voices and perspectives of others.”

– Sisonke, from the exhibition “I AM WHAT I AM – PLACES, FACES AND SPACES.”

Posted on SWEAT Facebook Page - 5th April 2018

Image Title: N/A, Image Credit: SWEAT

 
 

Key Research Questions

WP 1 uses participatory theatre to engage with and learn from existing initiatives among sex workers to challenge systems of sexual violence and raise the aspirations and self-confidence of women who undertake sex work in order to sustain themselves and others. 

We ask:

  1. To build research capacity and capabilities of interdisciplinary, feminist, queer and critical race researchers in the package.
     

  2. To create new collaborative partnerships between academics, NGOs, sex workers, and the public in South Africa with regards to sex work, gendered inequalities and wellbeing.
     

  3. To create a research space wherein sex workers feel safe and enabled to narrate and convey their varied experiences of intersecting inequalities and resultant impacts on their wellbeing.
     

  4. To use participatory theatre, narrative and audio-visual methods to elicit the relationships between sex workers’ everyday lives, intersecting inequalities and existing practices and strategies that challenge such inequalities.
     

  5. To build pathways to impact and enable the sharing of creative and critical cultural competencies through audio-visual representations, narratives and participatory theatre.

Work Package Objectives

  1. To build research capacity and capabilities of interdisciplinary, feminist, queer and critical race researchers in the package.
     

  2. To create new collaborative partnerships between academics, NGOs, sex workers, and the public in South Africa with regards to sex work, gendered inequalities and wellbeing.
     

  3. To create a research space wherein sex workers feel safe and enabled to narrate and convey their varied experiences of intersecting inequalities and resultant impacts on their wellbeing.
     

  4. To use participatory theatre, narrative and audio-visual methods to elicit the relationships between sex workers’ everyday lives, intersecting inequalities and existing practices and strategies that challenge such inequalities.
     

  5. To build pathways to impact and enable the sharing of creative and critical cultural competencies through audio-visual representations, narratives and participatory theatre.

Researchers

Yaliwe Clarke
University of Cape Town

Sara Matchett

University of Cape Town

Phoebe Kisubi

University of Cape Town

Ishtar Lakhani

Sex Workers Advocacy Task Force

Yasmin Gunaratnam

Goldsmiths, University of London

Bev Orton

University of Hull

Key Outputs

  • Publicly-accessible archive of SWEAT’s ‘creative activism’
     

  • Academic symposium and publications on ‘working women’
     

  • Production of performance materials
     

  • Public theatre performance(s)
     

  • Arts management documentation of the setting up the theatre company
     

  • Contribution to the Global Museum of Equalities and GlobalGRACE online course

For further information about WP 1, please contact Yaliwe Clarke <yaliwe.clarke@uct.ac.za> or Yasmin Gunaratnam <y.gunaratnam@gold.ac.uk