Women stories being told through Storytelling

Women stories being told through Storytelling

Kira Erwin

The Durban University of Technology (DUT) Department of Town and Regional Planning is hosting twenty Masters students and three staff (Dr Paula Meth Dr Philipp Horn and Dr Gabriel Silvestre) from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning University of the University of Sheffield, England, from 11 to 17 March 2019. Planning students from both universities are currently involved in a joint planning analysis project in Warwick Junction.

Kira Erwin, Senior Researcher at DUT’s Urban Futures Centre (UFC) gave a guest lecture to the students as part of the week’s events. She spoke on a collaborative partnership project between two civil society organisations such as the Democracy Development Programme (DDP) and the UFC, which uses artistic methods of storytelling, through collecting oral histories of migrant women, and community participating theatre. The research is aimed to facilitate critical discussions with relevant stakeholders on migrant workers and against xenophobia.

She gave more insight into the theatrical production which has more than 30 oral histories collected for the project titled: Migration and the Inclusive City, (funded by the Cities Alliance).

“Through focusing on the everyday experiences of migrant women in the city of Durban, the project aims to develop a participatory city – led policy framework around migration, and to challenge difficult stereotypes around migration in the city. These community dialogue sessions bring together diverse stakeholders from the state and civil society sectors, as well as migrants themselves, to collectively think through how the city of Durban can design a more responsive and inclusive policy framework for migration and against xenophobia,” she said.

She also added that the UFC has worked with the group of women, even training them up to go and interview other women.

“From these stories, we turned it into a play. Through this play, we are using theatre as a powerful story telling tool to instil empathy to encourage proactive responses and solutions from the audiences and stakeholders.

Sheffield student Joanna Zuzarte, said that she found the talk to be very informative and interesting. “To have actually walked through Warwick Junction has given me a more, clear perspective of what the women were highlighting in the production. It allowed me to experience and see what is happening with clearer eyes and the history from the women’s perspective is something I don’t read about in the newspapers. This sort of research based project, using theatre, is a powerful story – telling tool,” she said.

The international students will continue with more walks touring Durban and on Friday, 15 March 2019, DUT’s Len Rosenberg will give the students a presentation on the Warwick Junction.

Pictured: Kira Erwin, Senior Researcher at the DUT Urban Futures, gives a lecture on the theatrical production titled: Migration and the Inclusive City.

Waheeda Peters

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