Unheard Voices, Hidden Lives


Last week saw the culmination of months of work with launch of the Unheard Voices, Hidden Lives exhibition and book in both Brighton and London.

The images and text which form part of the exhbition and book are the result of a participatory photo project, which involved representatives from community-based organisations of men who have sex with men, sex workers and people living with HIV from the International HIV/AIDS Alliance’s Frontiers Prevention Project in India, Ecuador and Cambodia.

Participants met at workshops where they were given cameras and photographic training by experienced professional photographers. With their new equipment and knowledge, they were asked to use photography to tell the story of their lives and those of their communities. The results are really incredible stories and images. 

The publication of the book and the opening of the exhibitions in both Brighton and London coincided with an international end of project meeting of the Frontiers Prevention Project. Over 30 indviduals including community representatives and staff met for three days at the Alliance secretariat to reflect on the experiences of the project and to identify lessons which can be applied to future work aimed at building community capacity among populations key to the HIV epidemic.

We also met in London on Friday to share some of those lessons and experience with an external audience of donors and other non-government organisations.

It was a pretty big week. On Thursday I also appeared before Westminster's International Development Committee, which is currently conducting an inquiry into marginalised populations and emerging epidemics. I spoke to written evidence which we'd submitted earlier. It was a pretty successful session, some of which mad eits way on to the BBC's Today in Parliament radio programme.

But the most significant thing that happened last week was that we brought to life in photos and testimonies the lives and experiences of people who are often silent and invisible in the form of Unheard Voices, Hidden Lives, and I'm very pleased and even a little proud to have been part of making that happen.


Unheard Voices, Hidden Lives:

The Book 

On-line gallery

In the Observer 

Brighton Launch