For the last six months I have been working on, amongst other things, a participatory photo project with communities who are key to the HIV epidemic in India, Ecuador, Cambodia.
Through the project, community members participated in workshops where they were given cameras and training in how to use them effectively. With their new equipment and knowledge they were asked to photograph their lives and experiences before coming together again at a second series of workshops to edit their photographs for both local and international publications and exhibitions.
Participants in all three countries, which have relatively contained HIV epidemics, were either gay or other men who have sex with men, commercial sex workers or people living with HIV/AIDS.
Silence and invisibility compound the stigma and discrimination that these groups face. It makes it harder for them to claim their rights, and limits our capacity to understand their experiences and needs. We’re hoping that the project will help change that.
We are also working on ways in which the amazing work that people produced can be used in their own countries.
In addition to the exhibition's Brighton run we are having a book and exhibition launch in London on Thursday November 16 which will be followed by a one day conference on issues associated with the HIV epidemic for highly marginalized groups in developing countries. Both events are free and open to the public and the details for both of them can be viewed by clicking here.
It's a very exciting project which I'm immensely proud to have been involved in and I'm looking forward to seeing how people react to the book and exhibition.