Give the Joy Back

Women’s experiences and voices are vital in this research – their understandings and insights into their journeys. 

Women who took part in the participatory photography groupwork talked about how they noticed text and images as they travelled around their new area. They had all been forced to relocate due to domestic abuse, and were now in an area they didn’t know before. They had practical things to sort out, but were also starting to explore where they were.

Sometimes they spotted a place – a park, a shop – or an image – a poster, an artwork – that seemed to call out to them. Places or images that made them feel a little more welcome – a little more like they could begin to feel at home.

Week by week in the groupwork, women used their cameras as they made day-to-day journeys, or actually went out specially to look for images to share with the group.

As well as their individual images and captions about their experiences, women shared their insights and messages – including in posters from the groupwork.

Give the Joy Back
© Amy/Cordelia/Daisy/Marilyn/Solace Women’s Aid/Janet Bowstead

In this poster, women took a slogan from a poster as a message about how they were beginning to feel positive in themselves, but also that they could pass on their positivity to others. One of the ways of doing this was by making the posters that went on display in the women’s refuges and women’s centre – and are here on the project website. Women included images of light, of blue skies, of trees that refused to be hemmed in, and of the small steps they were taking forward in their and their children’s lives.