Expelled from the earth: victims and survivors of violence in Mexico

Lunchtime seminar Friday 6 May 2016 12.30 - 13.30 ACMS Seminar Room

The African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS) will present a lunchtime seminar by Dr. Margarita del C. Zárate Vidal entitled 'Expelled from the earth: victims and survivors of violence in Mexico'.

The biography of the presenter is below.

This seminar will consider the ways in which drug trafficking and government policies of securitisation have led to an increasing wave of violence and the loss of many young lives in Mexico. It will also explore categories such as survivors and victims, which are used both by the members of organisations challenging different forms of violence and widely within the social sciences. In doing so it will examine the meaning of appealing to emotions (especially anger), suffering, the call for visibility for victims of violence, and the demand for “dignified justice”.

ACMS Seminar Room, via Room 2191, SE Wing, Second Floor, Senate House, Braamfontein East Campus, Wits University.

» » »

"The glue that binds": instrumental and contingent solidarity in the (re)construction of migrant communities in Johannesburg

Lunchtime seminar Tues 10 May 2016 12.45 - 13.35 ACMS Seminar Room

The African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS) will present a lunchtime seminar by Dr Pragna Rugunanan entitled '"The glue that binds": instrumental and contingent solidarity in the (re)construction of migrant communities in Johannesburg'.

The biography of the presenter is below.

This seminar will reflect four years of ethnographic fieldwork researching how new migrant communities (re)construct space and place in the suburb of Fordsburg, Johannesburg. Post democracy, South Africa has been host to a large influx of migrants from Africa and South Asia. Established as a white immigrant community in 1888, Fordsburg has undergone several iterations of community. Since 1994 a diverse range of ethnic groups from Somalia, Ethiopia, Egypt, Morocco, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and Malaysia have claimed a place of belonging in the suburb.

Considering how communities are forged through education, religion, conflict, co-operation, reciprocity and solidarity, the seminar will examine how people cope in the face of adversity and how communities are forged and contested within a tangled web of power relations and rank ordering of migrant groups. Community denotes a space or ‘place’ where we root ourselves, where we belong and it is this attachment to place that shapes our own personal identity in community. Rugunanan will address the question that if solidarity is the glue that binds migrant communities, then to what extent does this hold true for diverse migrant communities in an enclosed space.

ACMS Seminar Room, via Room 2191, SE Wing, Second Floor, Senate House, Braamfontein East Campus, Wits University

» » »

Unlocking the closet: coming out narratives of gay, lesbian and bisexual Muslims in Belgium

ACMS Lunchtime Seminar: Tues 12 April at 12.30 pm

ACMS invites you to a seminar on coming out narratives of gay, lesbian and bisexual Muslims in Belgium. 

It will be presented by Dr Wim Peumans, a post doctoral fellow at ACMS.

In this seminar, based on ethnographic research on transnational migration, same-sex sexualities, and religion in Belgium, the presenter will look at multiple and ambivalent ways in which lesbian, gay and bisexual men and women with a Muslim background navigate silence and disclosure in the negotiation and performance of sexuality in everyday life, specifically within kin relations. 

Date: Tuesday 12 April 2016

Time: 12.30 to 2.00 p.m.

Venue: ACMS Seminar Room, via Room 2191, South East Wing, Second Floor, Senate House, Braamfontein East Campus, Wits University.

» » »

Call for applications: field researchers for 'Social Cohesion Community Profile' project

Closing date for applications: Sunday 20 March 2016

ACMS is seeking to immediately hire ten experienced full-time researchers to explore social cohesion in various communities in the provinces of Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, North West and Limpopo. The duration of the positions will be between one and two months, in the period 1 April to 31 May 2016.

All the information about the call for applications is in a downloadable PDF.

For further information, please contact Jean Pierre Misago by emailing

» » »

[Watch] Unravelling the Mediterranean migration 'crisis': reflections from the field

ACMS Lunchtime Seminar: Tues 8 Mar 2016 at 12.30 pm

ACMS hosted its first lunchtime seminar of 2016 which was on the current migration ‘crisis’ in the Mediterranean. It was presented on Tuesday 8 March 2016 by Prof. Heaven Crawley and Dr. Katharine Jones, from the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, at the University of Coventry.

The presentation drew on the preliminary findings of an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded research project which explores the experiences of migrants crossing the Mediterranean which was conducted through interviews with 500 migrants and refugees in Italy, Greece, Malta and Turkey.

It considered some of the reasons why so many people have embarked upon the dangerous journey to Europe, what happened to them on the way and their hopes for the future. It also reflected on the reasons why the European policy response has led to a humanitarian and political crisis which threatens not only the lives of refugees and migrants but also the future of the European Union itself.

» » »

MoVE exhibition and publication launch

plus Visual Methods Symposium

Please join us on Wednesday 9 March at 6pm at the South African Workers Museum in Newtown in Johannesburg, for an exhibition and publication launch showcasing new work from our MoVE (Method.Visual.Explore) project. 

You are also invited to our two-day Symposium: visual methods in action: research, advocacy and activism on Thursday 10 and Friday 11 March will will also be hosted by the Workers' Museum in Newtown. Download the programme here.

More info:

The project will launch an exhibition and publication that showcases visual and narrative research conducted in 2014 and 2015. Come and learn more about Method. Visual.Explore (MoVE) and experience the exciting work that has been produced by LGBTIQ migrants and asylum seekers in Johannesburg, and migrant men, women and transgender persons who sell sex in South Africa.

Follow MoVE on Facebook.

More info:

Symposium: visual methods in action: research, advocacy and activism

As part of a British Academy Newton Mobility Grant, ACMS - in partnership with our associate researcher EJ Milne of the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at the University of Coventry - will host a two-day symposium entitled visual methods in action: research, advocacy and activism. 

Speakers include photographers, project participants, academics and civil society actors who have developed and used visual and arts-based methods in research, advocacy and activism. 

Space is limited, please RSVP

» » »

Fully funded PhD position - 'Sex on the move: mobile and migrant clients of sex workers in South Africa'

Joint PhD between ACMS and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam


Contents of the research project 
South Africa is associated with historical and contemporary population movements and a high prevalence of communicable diseases – including HIV. Whilst sex work provides an important livelihood activity for some, all aspects of sex work are criminalised in South Africa, presenting multiple vulnerabilities to adults who consent to the sale of sex. This includes multiple forms of structural violence – such as barriers to healthcare, stigma, exclusion from protective policies - and direct violence from the police and clients. In the case of non-national sex workers – who may have an irregular documentation status - this also involves fear of immigration officials and potential deportation. Recent research indicates that sex work and migration trajectories are strongly interlinked, and that the majority of sex workers are working outside of their province or country of birth. However, little is known about the movements, motivations and practices of migrant and mobile clients. Whilst the body of research on sex work in South Africa is increasing, it has – to date - focussed on the experiences of sex workers in urban contexts; very little is known or understood about the ongoing migratory trajectories of sex workers and their clients. As a result the migratory trajectories, mobilities and behaviours of these clients – such as truck drivers, seasonal farm workers, miners, taxi drivers – remain unknown. Current responses to sex work in South Africa fail to engage with migration and mobility of both sex workers and clients. This means that programmes are oriented to relatively sedentary populations and population movement is excluded from ongoing policy discussions and the regulation of sex work. This not only has public health implications but wider impacts in relation to the protection and rights of mobile and migrant sex workers. Thus, focussing this research on mobile clients will on the one hand provide needed empirical data and on the other hand make this population more visible. This will ultimately contribute to developing ways to make clients more aware and responsible in their encounters with sex workers. The proposed topic provides an opportunity for a doctoral student to develop an innovative research project exploring the migrant and mobile clients of sex workers. Building on previous work that has engaged with involved methodologies and partnership with a sex worker-led movement, the doctoral student will be encouraged to think creatively about ways to engage with mobile and migrant clients of sex workers.
» » »

Oral history project: Call for contributions from writers

Whose Country is it Anyway? Telling Transformation & Xenophobia

This project, coordinated by Loren Landau and Tanya Pampalone, will use oral history to explore the politics of mobility, difference and transformation among South Africa’s dynamic and diverse population.

Through both print and various digital formats, extended biographies will tell the stories of immigrants', migrants' and long-term residents’ struggles for physical and financial safety amidst tremendous precarity. In spaces where the government is frail or disinterested, access to land, housing, health and safety are increasingly negotiated outside of formal legal systems. It is in these spaces where battles for justice and rights now occur. This project will tell the stories of those in the fight. 

Through first person narratives and digital media, the project will explore the meaning of rights – as principle and practice – among populations whose voices are rarely heard. It will reveal the aspirations and ethics informing interactions across generational, social and international boundaries: how historical struggles shape contemporary perspectives and how those once persecuted and oppressed now exclude or incorporate ‘others’ within their communities. 

Find out more by downloading a PDF of the call for contributions document.

» » »

ACMS is seeking a communications intern

Closing date for applications: 31 January 2016

ACMS is seeking a communications intern for three months next year via our partnership with the Migrating out of Poverty Research Programme Consortium at the University of Sussex.

More information (including how to apply) is available here.

This internship would be of interest to a recent graduate wanting to combine their research interests in migration with obtaining some experience in research uptake work. Selection will be based on demonstrated experience and skills in the areas of work identified. 

The internship offers a modest living allowance for three months, as well as reimbursement of the cost of a direct airfare and pre-departure expenses for a successful applicant based in a province outside of Gauteng or from a foreign country.

South Africans and SADC citizens with permission to reside, study or work in South Africa are particularly encouraged to apply.

» » »

Zine workshop

Since 2010, the MoVE Project at the ACMS has been involved in a range of collaborative visual and narrative research projects that seek to explore the lived experiences of migrant sex workers in South Africa.  These projects, such as Working the City, Volume 44 and Equal Airtime not only engage in robust research but also produce an 'artifact' that is shared with public audiences. 
This year, the MoVE team along with our central partner the Sisonke Sex Worker Movement- conceptualised two projects that aim to make the reproduction of materials more affordable.  The Open Society Foundation funded the MoVE Project in collaboration with Sisonke to conduct a Gauteng based newsletter project called, Izwi Lethu and two zine workshops in the rural provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga. 
'Zines are self-published, small-circulation, often nonprofit books, papers, or websites. They usually deal with topics too controversial or niche for mainstream media, presented in an unpolished layout and unusual design. Everyone, from a major NGO to a teenager like you, can be an author (and also an editor, art director, and publisher) of a zine, and that’s part of what makes them so awesome.

Since the invention of the photocopy machine, zine-making has been one most popular forms of independent publishing, especially in underground communities. But it’s hard to generalize about zines, the same way it’s hard to generalize about culture. Not just hard—impossible. Because like all art and media, zines can be anything and everything. And they are'. lifted from here.

Please take a look at the Facebook album of the recently completed zine workshop held in Makhado, Limpopo with 13 participants from around the Province.  

The MoVe Team heads out to Nelspruit, Mpumalanga this Sunday (22 November) to conduct the last of the zine workshops for 2015.  The workshops take place over a course of two weeks and are facilitated by Elsa Oliveira and Quinten Williams.  Two participants from previous MoVE Projects conducted in collaboration with Sisonke support the facilitators and provide a crucial role in the process.  

An official exhibition where zines will be made available to the public will take place in early 2016.

» » »