Art with marginalised communities: Participatory video as a tool of empowerment and resistance for migrant domestic workers in London

Joyce Jiang, Tassia Kobylinska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In contrast to the dominant masculinised discourses on global cities, this project explores the feminised and private spheres of global cities—‘domestic work’ in London. Domestic work is of particular concern for London, given the concentration of domestic workers in the capital and the large numbers of migrants employed in the sector. In the polarised London labour market, migrant domestic workers are concentrated at the bottom end of the labour market and suffer from high levels of exploitation, but often face difficulties to articulate their social and political will and to intervene in public forums. Our participatory video project with 12 migrant domestic workers from The Voice of Domestic Workers, a grassroots campaigning and advocacy organisation in London, suggests that participatory art can play a significant role in supporting the voice of marginalised communities. It reveals the power of art as a voice of dissent and as a tool for advancing social justice. Our project also highlights the importance of shifting the attention from the object of art and art as end product, to the subject of art and art as a social process in which social relationships may be restructured, in order to better understand the potential role of art in helping oppressed groups to achieve social changes. The latter approach implies a stronger sense of agency regarding the ability of marginalised communities to participate directly in structural changes.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
Early online date14 Apr 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Apr 2020

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  • migrant domestic workers
  • domestic work
  • global cities
  • London
  • participatory art
  • marginalised communities

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