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The inaugural lecture of Prof Nicola Mai: 'Sexual Humanitarianism: Migration, Sex Work and Trafficking'

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Time: 7.00pm - 9.00pm
Venue: Room 0001, John Galsworthy Building, Penrhyn Road campus, Penrhyn Road, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2EE
Price: free

The inaugural lecture of Prof Nicola Mai: 'Sexual Humanitarianism: Migration, Sex Work and Trafficking'

Join us for the inaugural lecture of Professor Nicola Mai.

In the last 30 years migrations flows have increased and diversified. Neoliberal politics and policies have come to include gender and sexuality within the criteria of eligibility for humanitarian protection, while restricting access to labour markets in the global north. In this paradoxical context humanitarian protection initiatives such as anti-trafficking and asylum have thus become strategic borders granting (and more often denying) both human rights and access to the labour market to migrants that they address as vulnerable on the basis of ‘Northcentric' victimhood, vulnerability and gender/sex scripts. However, contrary to prevailing myths and moral panics only a minority of migrants working in the sex industry are trafficked. Professor Nick Mai will examine the relationship between migration, sex work, exploitation and trafficking by drawing on original research findings. In adopting a migration studies perspective and a participative approach he will reappraise concepts such as trafficking, slavery and exploitation through the lens of how they are understood and experienced by migrants.

Nick Mai is an ethnographer and a filmmaker working as Professor of Sociology and Migration Studies at the Department of Criminology and Sociology of Kingston University London. His academic writing and films focus on the experiences and perspectives of migrants working in the sex industry in order to live their lives. Though experimental ethno-fictions and original research findings Nicola Mai challenges the humanitarian politics of representation of the relation between migration and sex work in terms of trafficking while addressing the dynamics of exploitation and self-realisation that are implicated.

The inaugural lecture will include excerpts from Nick's two recent film-installations 'Samira' and 'Travel', representing the experiences of humanitarian border crossing of an Algerian transsexual refugee living in Marseille and a Nigerian victim of trafficking living in Paris, respectively. These two film-installations were produced in the context of the recently completed Emborders art-science project questioning the effectiveness and scope of humanitarian initiatives targeting migrant sex workers and sexual minority asylum seekers in the UK and in France. Between 2014 and 2015 the Emborders filmmaking/research project gathered and analysed the migration, asylum and work experiences of migrant sex workers and sexual minority asylum seekers through a combination of semi-structured interviewing, ethnographic observation and participative ethnographic filmmaking (ethnofiction).

The project and its experimental ethnographic film-installations aim to make an epistemological, political and artistic intervention highlighting the inherently fictional nature of any narration of the self in the context of humanitarian borders. By using actors to reproduce real people and real life histories the project pushes the boundaries of ethnographic filmmaking to protect the identities of the original interviewees and to problematises what constitutes a credible and authentic reality in scientific, filmic and humanitarian terms.

You can view a trailer of Samira here.

You can view a trailer of Travel here.

Followed by a drinks reception.

Booking is essential to attend this event.

For further information about this event:

Contact: Lucy Williams, Events Officer, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Email: l.williams@kingston.ac.uk

Directions

Directions to Room 0001, John Galsworthy Building, Penrhyn Road campus, Penrhyn Road, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2EE:

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