Visualizing Voices of Women

Friday, July 18, 2014: 6:15 PM
Room: 315
Oral Presentation
Vivian Wenli LIN , School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong
There has been a gendered shift in migration from men to women in the past several decades. This feminization of migration is particularly noticeable with the exodus of Asian women leaving their countries - to serve as nurses in the United States, as domestic workers in Hong Kong or the Middle East, as hostesses or sex workers in Japan. A precious commodity and valuable export for their countries, these women are compelled to migrate throughout the world, duty-bound to abandon their families in search of economic opportunity. Migration patterns have been studied and established regarding this gendered phenomenon. However, the main objective of my research is to explore the global feminine experience using the methods of visual anthropology and portraiture by working directly with individuals. What are the personal stories behind these women, and how can offering the means of self-expression contribute to their empowerment and to their collective experience? The act of creating self-portraits will offer these women a chance to express themselves creatively and visually while gaining technical skills. The long-term objective is to contribute to their sense of empowerment and awareness of their rights as women and as workers through this process of self-reflection. Through an intimate process of gaining trust and access to different communities of migrant workers, I carefully build and cater a specific format for each group that will encourage them to share their stories. Local and migrant sex workers in Hong Kong will visualize their own voices by participating in making media themselves. This paper will examine the results of this study and the effects of these personalized narratives and the role it plays on the awareness of gender and migration at large.