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Investigating representations of gender-based violence

A researcher from Queen Mary University of London who uses street art and comics to understand social movements has been awarded funding by the British Academy to carry out research on gender-based violence in Nepal.

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Dr Charlotta Salmi, from Queen Mary’s School of English and Drama, will investigate representations of gender-based violence (GBV) in graphic art forms in Kathmandu and Pokhara, Nepal.

Visualising gender-based violence

Using interdisciplinary research methods, the two-year study will focus on how four types of violence (domestic abuse, trafficking, street harassment, menstruation-based discrimination) are portrayed in graphic print publications such as comics and public graphic expressions including murals, graffiti and street art.

The research will also examine how stakeholders, including activists and artists, use graphic art as an awareness-raising tool. The work aims to foster knowledge exchange via local research hubs. It will result in two creative initiatives with local arts and non-governmental organisations: an open-access digital archive of representations of gender-based violence and a series of workshops for 600 girls aged between 12 and 17.

“Gender-based violence is a persistent problem in Nepal, where nearly one in two women have experienced some form of violence in their lives,” said Dr Charlotta Salmi. “By analysing the use of street art and graphic narratives in development campaigns, we are hoping to engage more young women in the conversation around gender-based violence. We also want to understand how different contemporary art forms can best be used to combat attitudes and effect change.”

Supporting research in developing countries

Under its Sustainable Development Programme, the British Academy funding is designed to help tackle the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The programme supports researchers in the humanities and the social sciences working to generate evidence on the challenges and opportunities faced in developing countries.

Awards are worth up to £300,000 and fund projects which demonstrate innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to one or more of the programme’s key sub-themes of heritage, dignity, and violence.

Further information

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