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Women, mining and participatory photography

Women, mining and participatory photography (Mujeres, minería y fotografía participativa) is a participatory photography project about re-thinking Development in the context of large scale mining. This project was led by Prof Katy Jenkins, with the support of Dr Inge Boudewijn and Lexy Seedhouse, funded by a Leverhulme Trust Fellowship and also supported by the Latin American Mining Monitoring Programme (LAMMP)

In 2017 and 2018, the project engaged with 12 women from three community organisations in both urban and rural settigs in Cajamarca, Northern Peru. They were all active in social movements involved in contesting expansion of large-scale mining in the region. In this context of ongoing large-scale extraction, the research highlighted women activists' perspectives on the notion of ‘Development’ and provided a space for women to articulate and think through possible alternatives to extractives-led Development. 

Over 3 months, the women participants took photos and joined workshops and interviews to explore what Development means to them. With their photos and the words accompanying them, they show the ways of life, the types of food, and the landscapes they consider threatened by current and future mining projects. However, the photographs went beyond focusing on the impacts of large-scale mining, also highlighting three important themes, selected by the women participants themselves: Community, Wellbeing, and Alternatives to Extractivism. Selected photos were accompanied by captions and explanations provided by the photographers, and reveal their hopes for the future of their communities, and the importance they place on preserving, invigorating and valuing their histories, practices and traditions. 

The project's photographs were showcased in photo exhibits in Peru, Belgium and the UK. In Peru, this took place in March 2018 to celebrate International Women’s Day in the Pasaje de la Cultura, a main street in the centre of Cajamarca and in the Casa de Cultura for a further weeklong exhibition in Cajamarca. In Belgium, a selection of these images were exhibited in Antwerp, Brussels and Ghent in 2020, with events being organised by CATAPARoSa vzw, a feminist library, and Encuentro Belgian Latin America Network. In the UK, the photos were also showcased in 2018 in the Newcastle City Campus Library at Northumbria University, and are currently displayed in the Geography Hub of Northumbria's Faculty of Engineering & Environment, accessible for students, staff and visitors (2nd floor of Ellison Building B, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE18ST).  

You can find out more about the research and access photos and other resources by visiting the project's dedicated bilingual website (content available in English and Spanish).



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