“This whole process has been very good. All the categories we had to put photos under are all happening in real life. Just like the last person said, photographs speak for themselves. We are also speaking for ourselves. We have shown through our photos the inequality, the torment that is happening in our society. I learned to express a lot of things through this group activity, but we should have the courage to talk in front of any group not just here. Some of our friends have a really hard time expressing themselves, but through this session, with a photo, it’s a big deal that they were able to express themselves” (Krishna, a co-researcer)

Creative-Nepal.com hosts research conducted by sexual and gender minority peoples in Kathmandu, Nepal. Conceived as a component of a wider project exploring Sexual Subjectivities, Law and Development the aim of the project was to add visual depth and engagement to the research, and to offer co-researchers and collaborators in the project a means to creatively portray and explore their own life-worlds. In particular there was an intention to counter reductive representations of sexual and gender minority people in much development research and discourse, where the tendency is to describe sexual subjects in respect of presumed identity categories, often with assumed conclusions regarding sexual practice and vulnerability. Countering this mode of representation Creative-Nepal has sough to offer space for a different voice and vision.

Participants were given film cameras and a brief training on photographic methods. They were asked to take photos on a variety of themes related to their society, sexuality, government, law, the state, and social change in Nepal. Afterwards, participants discussed and arranged their photos in a variety of different ways as a means to explore insights that emerged from looking at the images in varied juxtapositions and creative synergies. The aim was to shed new insights into peoples experiences of risk, community, and legal recognition, among other themes. Working visually allowed for emotional engagements with the research, beyond words alone. Images often evoked uncanny associations and moved the research agenda beyond a purely rational register, to allow for creative insights to emerge.

Creative-Nepal is an ongoing project. The next addition to the project will include a selection of short stories in Nepali and English and further visual work with sexual and gender minority peoples elsewhere in Nepal.

Some more of the participants thoughts about the process are displayed in the photos below

For more information please contact either, Daniel Coyle (coyledanny@gmail.com), Paul Boyce (P.Boyce@sussex.ac.uk), or Chad Frisbee (chadfrisbie@gmail.com)

For confidentiality purposes, participants were asked to not take photos of people’s faces in order to preserve their anonymity as much as possible. People who are identifiable in these photos all consented to be a part of the project and have their images made public.

The views and opinions represented by the photos represent the views of the individual participants solely and not the opinions of any organization they may be affiliated with.

All photos contained on this site are copyrighted (2013) and may not be distributed, sold, or reproduced without the researchers’ prior written permission