Dr. Julie Ham’s research is grounded in ongoing engagement with community-based organizations and international networks working for migrant rights, sex worker rights and social change. Through participatory and visual methodologies, her current research projects explore knowledge production and cultural production by migrants in Hong Kong, including migrant domestic workers, asylum seekers and ethnic minorities.
Two recent projects utilizing participatory and visual methodologies have explored migrant narratives and cultural production by domestic workers, asylum seekers and ethnic minorities. One project, Sustainable Sunday Couture (2017-2018), employed Jane Bennett’s (2001) concept of enchantment, to facilitate public engagement with an exhibition featuring gowns from upcycled materials that were created by Ms Elpie Malicsi, a Filipina domestic worker based in Hong Kong. The project examined domestic workers’ roles as cultural producers as well as the challenges experienced in showcasing their creativity in public spaces.
Another project, Visualizing the Voices of Migrant Women Workers, in collaboration with Voices of Women (VOW) Media involved the production of almost 50 videos scripted, directed and produced by domestic workers, asylum seekers and ethnic minorities in Hong Kong, and an in-depth analysis of the pedagogical role of rhythm in participatory arts.
The use of visual methodologies in public sociology and public criminology is also the focus for two new projects. A 3-year project (2019-2022), The Stories We Tell: Mobile Methodologies and Migrant Knowledges, explores decolonizing migrant narratives through participatory and visual methodologies. A 2-year project (2019-2021), Informal Creative Economies and Domestic Workers’ Encounters With the Good, the Bad and the Law in Hong Kong engages with crafting, DIY and craftivism communities among migrant domestic workers and the regulation of migrant workers’ creative and entrepreneurial activities in Hong Kong.
The projects above are a continuation of ongoing collaboration with community organizations and international networks, which also includes: (1) The Lives of Migrant Remittances (2017-2021), a research collaboration with international researchers in Canada (PI: Professor Denise Spitzer) and migrant worker organizations in Hong Kong, the Philippines and Indonesia; (2) Non-Chinese Sex Workers in Hong Kong and Emerging Sex Work Spaces (2016-2020), a collaboration with Action for Reach Out (AFRO), a sex worker support organization in Hong Kong; and (3) Globalized Labour Knowledges Between the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East (2016-2018), a collaboration on domestic workers’ experiences in the Middle East with the Asia-Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM).