Media, events and publications
Migrant women matter
On the eve of the 10th International Domestic Workers' day, over 100 people joined Marissa Begonia and Mimi Jalmasco of the Voice of Domestic Workers, The Independent's Social Affairs Correspondent May Bulman, and Ella Parry-Davies of Home Makers for an online panel discussion about how and why migrant domestic workers' voices must be amplified in the UK. The event was part of the British Academy Summer Showcase. Click play to watch a recording of the discussion.
Guided soundwalk in Holland Park
Members of the public joined this guided soundwalk in Holland Park to hear from soundwalk maker Ann, who remembers the park as the place she decided to escape from abusive employers. Fellow domestic workers Helen and Yvette also shared experiences of activism and campaigning for workers' rights. The event took place as part of the British Academy Summer Showcase.
Listen to the experts! Domestic workers fight tied visas in the UK
Media portrayals of migrant domestic workers rarely tell us about their everyday victories, their witty defiance of employers’ disrespect, or the sisterhood and joy that comes with organising as activists. This article for OpenDemocracy draws on the soundwalks to argue that domestic workers must be seen as experts in the struggle against exploitation, abuse and modern slavery.
A Dialogue on the Possibilities of Anti-Racist Walking
'The Afterlife of a Walk: A Dialogue on the Possibilities of Anti-Racist Walking' is a transcribed conversation between Sharanya Murali and Ella Parry-Davies that explores the possibilities and limitations of walking 'with' as a practice of anti-racism. Sharanya references the soundwalk 'COVID bayanihan,' observing, 'There was no direction in which care came to an end. It reminded me that the task of caretaking, or anti-racist caretaking is never finished.' The dialogue is published in the journal Contemporary Theatre Review (30.4). Please get in touch via the contact form if you would like to access it and don't have an institutional subscription.
Modern Heroes, Modern Slaves?
This research article for the journal Anti-Trafficking Review critiques how state, humanitarian and media agents portray migrant domestic workers from the Philippines as modern heroes (bagong bayani) or modern slaves. It listens to the Home Makers soundwalks - especially Amara's 'we are workers' - to hear how migrant domestic workers choose to identify themselves.
Home Makers shortlisted for Times Higher Education Award
Home Makers has been shortlisted for the Times Higher Education 'Research Project of the Year' award. Nicknamed the Oscars of UK universities, the award "recognises outstanding work across a wide range of university activity – in academia and the professional services – reflecting the reality of how they operate, and the interwoven nature of so much of what they do."
AUB students listen to the soundwalks
Thirty undergraduate Gender Studies students at the American University of Beirut listened to a soundwalk made by Sara and Rose that retraces the route of a Labour Day march for migrant workers' rights. Students were asked by their professor Dr Kathryn Maude to write letters that were passed to Sara and Rose.
One student wrote, 'I’m sorry to hear that you have gone through these terrible experiences; just know that those experiences do not define your worth. We as Lebanese students are as determined as you to abolish the kafala system. We have faith that one day, your rights will be restored. In the meantime, keep fighting for your rights until you get them. Your stories are very touching and thank you for sharing your words.'
Soundwalk September 2020
Home Makers has been programmed in this year's Soundwalk September, an annual festival of soundwalks taking place around the world. Under the constraints of the pandemic, the 2020 festival is hoping to offer outdoor experiences for individuals, as well as on-line talk shops, plus interactive projects. The festival has been going since 2017, founded by Andrew Stuck of the Museum of Walking, Geert Vermeire of Made of Walking, and the locative app developer Babak Fakhamzadeh.
Coming out Crip and Acts of Care
This BBC Radio 3 'Essay' draws on the Home Makers soundwalks to tell a story of political marches and everyday acts of radical care; of sledgehammers and bags of rice; of the struggles for justice waged by migrant domestic workers. Ella Parry-Davies explores how “coming out crip” – or, publicly acknowledging her own disability for the first time – reveals our blindness to health inequalities, like those faced by many migrant domestic and care workers.
Home Makers is programmed in the International Online Theatre Festival 2020
Curated as part of a selection of 25 productions in the official programme, including work by Berlin's Schaubühne and Moscow's Stanislavski Electrotheatre, the festival's Artistic Directors note: "these soundwalks invite us to visit different places or just to close our eyes and let ourselves be guided by the voices of the migrant domestic and care workers, who encourage us to reflect on the power of a voice and a story coming from the heart. Home Makers leads us to rethink our definition of theatrical space and, perhaps, the limits of performance and the paradox of presence in absence. The voices in Home Makers seem to ask us: In a world where you can be anything, can you be aware of unheard stories and acknowledge the steps of those who stood in this place before you?"
Soundscapes: Memory and Meditation
Can soundwalking be therapeutic? This art therapy session for the Filipino Domestic Workers' Association workshop series Curating the Mind used soundscapes and silence to connect with memories of places and journeys. It explored how deep listening to sounds in our imagination and the world around us can offer a form of meditation.
In this podcast interview with Andrew Stuck, founder of the Museum of Walking, hear about the ambiguity, complexity and unfairness of government immigration policy facing migrant domestic workers in the UK, as well as how recording and co-editing soundwalks develops an intimacy rarely found in ethnographic research.
Interview for @CSSDLondon
"Revisiting the site where it was recorded is not so much about “putting yourself in the shoes” of the speaker, because I’m not trying to create an illusion of identification – but if you could go for a walk with that person, this is what it might sound like."
In this interview for the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama's blog, Ella Parry-Davies reflects on making the soundwalks as part of a long term research interest in transnational migration.
Time to Listen
This article for The Theatre Times reflects on the labour-intensive process of making soundwalks, particularly challenging for domestic workers who are so often denied time away from their work. In a virtual world of clickbait, listicles and soundbites, the soundwalks seem to demand a lot of attention. We’re not apologizing.
The realities of domestic worker activism
Migrant domestic workers are often portrayed as victims of abuse and exploitation - but can this narrative be counterproductive? This blog for the Arts and Humanities Research Council went viral in the Philippines, reaching almost 9,000 readers. It explores how migrant worker struggles can be undermined by a focus on victimisation, and looks instead at the stories told by domestic worker activism.
Communities are stepping up for migrant women, now what about politicians?
This opinion piece in The Guardian covers the fight to save the Old Bath Community House in Hackney, east London, as a centre for Filipino, Chinese and Vietnamese migrants and refugees.
"This week the mayor of London announced his commitment of £35,000 to crowdfund the re-opening of the Old Bath Community House in Hackney. The centre aims to support refugees and migrants through legal advice, women’s empowerment and a social hub. 'We’re going to build a home here," say community leaders, 'where everyone will be welcome.'"
BBC Radio 3 Arts and Ideas
Are domestic workers "part of the family"? Hear about two domestic workers who shared stories of escaping from abusive employers as part of the Home-Makers project. How do women working in the home deal with the intimate inequality of their work, and negotiate their rights? Listen from 13:00.
"What is performance doing here?" Find out more about researching the experiences of migrant domestic and care workers in this School of Advanced Studies blog.
Free Thinking Festival
Hear more about Home-Makers in a discussion at the BBC's Free Thinking Festival, recorded at the Sage, Gateshead as part of a New Generation Thinkers panel. What forms of agency do domestic and care workers have in how their experiences are represented through the soundwalks, and why is sound important as the key medium of expression? Listen from 10:22.