Welcome to the Sex Work Research Hub Newsletter, December, 2018. There is so much exciting research taking place around the country that it has been hard to keep up with it all. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this edition, it was a real privilege to showcase all the achievements in a newsletter. We intend to make it a regular publication and to use it to keep you in touch with news and developments which relate to the SWRH, and its members. We are keen to respond to the interests of our members and look forward to your feedback and comments on this edition.
♦Feminist Emergency conference at Birkbeck 22-24th June 2017 the organisers invited a panel on Sex Work as follows:
This panel reviews the 2017 Home Affairs Select Committee report into Prostitution and the government response to it, from the perspective of those involved or interested in the industry. Voice will be given to critical reflection on the interrelations of race and feminist concerns with sexual labour, as well as evaluating the type of work that sex work might be, and the relationship between feminisms and activisms, in the service of social justice for sex workers. Chaired by Julia Laite (Birkbeck) and organised by Katherine Angel (Birkbeck) there were three panel speakers, Laura Watson (English Collective of Prostitutes), Angela Dimitrakaki (Edinburgh College of Art) and Maggie O’Neill (University of York). Laura in turn invited the fabulous Empower collective from Thailand
to join the session with a performative feminist ‘intervention.’ Wearing doctor’s coats and stethoscopes the collective dealt with the feminist emergency by handing out information and support and care to the audience. The presentations and discussions highlighted various feminist readings and representations of sex work, activist, academic and practical/material with a clear focus on social justice, citizenship, status recognition and the decriminalisation of sex work.
♦Heidi Hoefinger and Nicola Mai (2017) Sex work, migration and trafficking in NYC– Preliminary findings from the Sexual Humanitarianism study, Society for the Study of Social Problems 67th Annual Conference (panel: Challenging and Resisting Neo/Liberalism in Sexualities Activism and Research); August, Montreal, Canada
♦Several members of the SWRH presented at the annual British Society Criminology conference in Sheffield early July. The following papers got some interesting feedback and much support:
♦SEX, WORK, LAW AND SOCIETY UPDATE …report from Mexico June 2017
The Sex, Work, Law and Society Collaborative Research Network (CRN #6) held its inaugural sessions at the annual Law and Society Conference in Mexico City June 20-23rd 2017. CRN #6 was the brainchild of Menaka Raguparan, a PhD Candidate at Carlton University in Ottawa. Coordinators include: Prof. Chris Bruckert University of Ottawa, Raven Bowen PhD Candidate, University of York UK; and Dr. Tuulia Law Sessional Assistant Professor, York University, Toronto, and joining us this year, Dr. Tamara O’Doherty Lecturer, SFU, Vancouver.
The June conference comprised seven sessions, with sex work researchers from around the world presenting on migration, trafficking, regulation, the experiences of third parties, tropes, and the political economy. In additional to the enlightening presentations, we hosted a dinner with special guests representing Casa Xochiquetzal, a home for active and former elderly sex workers. With the generous donations from CRN attendees, we contributed 14,516.91 pesos to support the work of this tenacious sex worker organization. Please view the event Storify for pictures and conference tweets.
Upcoming Events and Conferences
Almost one year after submitting the report, Peer Talk: hidden stories [funded by Northern Rock and managed by A Way Out in Stockton] was launched in the North East. Durham University researchers (Maggie O’Neill and Alison Jobe) were commissioned to undertake oversight of the research, train the community /peer researchers, design the research and research tools, gain ethical approval and lead the analysis and write up of the report in collaboration with the research team. The research team included Colleen Bilton, Kelly Stockdale, Hannah, Cath and community co-researchers who did not want to be named. The research complements participatory research undertaken by Changing Lives and Mary Laing and Adele Irving at Northumbria University in Tyne and Wear, also funded by Northern Rock.
Peer Talk: hidden stories sought to provide an evidence base to inform service provision, knowledge, policy and practice in Teesside and specifically to:
Community co-researchers interviewed women selling sex about their experiences, needs and support, and the key issues affecting them. The researchers were instrumental in producing research to help us to better understand the lives and needs of women and to further develop services to support women in Teesside.
The community co-researchers undertook 9 interviews with escorts selling sex from flats and on-line; 17 interviews with women who were, or who had recently worked selling sex on street; and 21 interviews with stakeholders.
How We Did It
The research was conducted using participatory action research methods. The community co-researchers were trained in participatory methods, designed the research and research tools in collaboration with the University research team, A Way Out and Barnardos SECOS project staff and volunteers. Twelve people completed this training: five current or former sex workers, five project workers and two A Way Out volunteers. The community co-researchers were supported in the process by research buddies. They conducted the interviews together. Research buddies were project staff or volunteers who also undertook the participatory action research training.
Get in touch with Maggie firstname.lastname@example.org or Alison Jobe email@example.com if you would like a pdf copy of the report whilst the project web site is being updated.
We have just embarked on a small project with Public Health Wales which seeks to reanalyse the Student Sex Survey to look at student attitudes to sex work and we are also working with them on the development of a training package which looks to educate professionals about the harms associated with the stigmatising of sex work. We are hoping that sex workers will want to get involved in this project with us so that the messages they want to get out to professionals can be embedded into training. So, if you would like to know more please email Debbie Deborah.firstname.lastname@example.org
That’s all from us for now!
Debbie Jones, Tracey Sagar, Jordan Dawson, Marije Van Stempvoort and Sam Geuens PXL University College (I know he isn’t strictly one of the Welsh gang )
Please regularly check this blog for up-to-date news and items
Finally, to welcome new Board Members of the SWRH: