DAY FOURTEEN: Due to (Covid-19)

How do we encapsulate the experiences and voices of those who occupy liminal spaces in society? Qri Kim writes about her project ‘Due To’, and the reconceptualisation of the Nomadian in her art.

Picture above: The Nomadian. Credits: Qri Kim. Reproduced by permission.

Qri Kim

We have lost our day to day normality, our intimacy, our generosity, and our sense of humanity. “Due to Covid-19” has become an indispensable sentence or comment in our conversation. We have found ourselves tacitly accepting the demands of social distancing. I would suggest that this agreement is based on our wish to be good citizens. But, how can we know if we are good citizens? How can we actually distinguish between being a good or a bad citizen? If we follow the standardised Good citizen guidance, would the pandemic be over? Could we then get closer to each other? I would ask: before Covid-19, how many times have we made excuses and drawn a line between us and our neighbours? 

Many countries have enacted laws for protecting minorities, calling for social change. However, some of the rules seem to result in making an ‘In-Between Minority’, a liminal group of individuals who cannot attain neither minority nor majority status. I call this group ‘Nomadian’.

In this project, I intend to focus on the Nomadian’s struggle straddling the line between two different worlds and to explore the question – How can art convey the experience of Nomadian liminality and struggles to those outside, that which cannot be articulated through language?

I intend to carve out the imagery of the frontier between outsiders and the minority by shaping the Nomad’s struggles into a line through a series of workshops held over 16 days. These workshops consist of writing sessions and forming lines using the mise-en-abyme[1] technique. Through these workshops, I tried to make sense of the Nomadian’s melancholy through their writing.

Picture above: Excerpt from the diary of Qri Kim’s participant from the 16 Day workshop. Reproduced by permission.

My project started with the LGBT community in South Korea, a country that is classified under Zone 2. There are no explicit anti-discrimination laws in the country and the constitutional and society in general are not ready to fully welcome the LGBT community. I think some LGBT Koreans are a good example of being nomadian as they are isolated at the border, excluded through hegemony, conventional norms, mainstream media, and bias.

In my art I prefer to use the term “learn” when regarding someone’s personal history and not to intervene in their narrative. I think that it is not possible to participate in another’s inner story, ever. What we can only do is learn and try to include minorities through our actions. My aim is to find possibilities to bridge the margin which already exist around us, through my conceptualising-line practice. I would like to name this project “Due to”. Below are stories of individuals in South Korea, who have been excluded, who sit at this boundary between mainstream society and those marginalised.

“Due to (the Covid-19 virus)” 

There is a serious problem of an anti-gay backlash in South Korea due to Covid-19. A man was infected with coronavirus after attending clubs in Seoul’s gay district, which was reported in the media. His reluctance to have a Covid-19 test brought about a 7th wave and placed the LGBT community in danger. He asked for the mercy of the law, however, unfortunately, he has got an actual prison sentence. He stated “I was extremely worried to test positive for the Covid-19 virus. I was in fear of the social and professional humiliation…”. 

“Due to (your changed sex)”

Byun Huisoo joined the army as a man but had gender reassignment surgery after suffering from gender dysphoria. “I will continue to fight until I am allowed to remain to serve in the army…” The Korea government employs mandatory conscription system for men; however, the government has not yet taken appropriate countermeasures.

My name is Jang. I am not a monster and I am not a prostitute. I am a transgender-bar owner in Busan. I have a lovely husband and his family accept me as a member of family. I am a Youtuber and communicate through/on social media. I can feel that society has been changing slowly. I am a bit of a plastic surgery addict… Through several surgeries, finally, I have got a proper women’s body. However, I still feel that I am in between male and female. Therefore, I try to renew my gender identity with surgery… There are a few colleagues working with me. Most of them need a lot of money to get gender reassignment surgery but their only choice of employment is low-paid bar work. Some of them are still undecided whether they get surgery or not. 

Yena is a famous trans-gender Youtuber. She used to be a popular academy teacher and she graduated from the top university in Korea. She was proud of her job and her previous students still remember her as a good teacher. Once she became Her, she lost her job. She could not find another job for a long time so that she often went without meals during the day. What she can only do is to become a Youtuber. She enjoys sharing her story with her viewers, however, still she wishes she could stand in front of students.

“Due to (being from South Korea)” 

“Citizenship and Immigration Canada has a list of ‘safe’ countries considered to be ‘non-refugee producing’. Individuals coming from these designated countries are given an expedited refugee process of three months and no right to appeal a negative decision to the Immigration and Refugee Board Appeals Division” (Fobear, 2017). Since South Korea is considered as a ‘safe’ country, LGBT South Koreans cannot be part of the expedited refugee process, leading to the ironic consequence of LGBT South Koreans remaining in danger of discrimination in their home country.

“Due to (Christian doctrine) 

Kim Wook-suk had spent years carefully and quietly trying to hide his sexuality. He was raised by a devout Protestant mother who taught him that being gay meant burning in hell. He listened fearfully in church as the pastor preached that homosexuality was a sin and encouraging it would bring disease. His mother, he says, kept trying to “save him”, but her actions meant he feared his own family at times. “Using people from her church , she tried to kidnap me multiple times to go through conversion therapy. I was forced to go through some of these therapies, however there were times I managed to avoid them and escape.” From the interview on ‘Gay in South Korea: ‘She said I don’t need a son like you’ (BBC,2019).

There are a lot of differentiated lines in our society and in our minds, and we are faced with lines every day. However, most of these are intangible so that we hardly can recognise them and disregard their significance. Through a re-conceptualisation of lines, I have attempted to visualise these social dissensus into a physical line. While society has tried to embrace difference and enacted rules to protect minorities, some of these rules have produced unintended forms of discrimination. Through my participatory workshop, I translated the struggles of an African gay participant into art. Using a rainbow image, I hope to pose the following question to viewers and readers:

  1. How can we quantify and measure the agony and pain experienced by minorities?
  2. How does one divide red and orange in a rainbow?
  3. How can one say that another is different?
  4. How does one judge the lightness of one sorrow over another?

[1] this is a particular technique in art and film to insert stories within a larger narrative, commonly overlapping with each other.

Qri is a PhD candidate at University of Edinburgh in Fine Art. Her research aims to shed light on the history of Korean comfort women, who were taken by the Japanese as sex slaves during the Second World War. She looks predominantly to archives and participatory workshops as her data collection method. You can follow her on Instagram @kim.qri

DAY THIRTEEN: A Women’s Trauma Recovery Centre: A Call to Action

While domestic and family violence is prevalent across Australia with a murder rate of one woman per week, there remains an absence of centres that offer support to women survivors over the long term. This post focuses on the establishment of a Women’s Trauma Recovery Centre, by the UNSW School of Public Health and the Illawarra Women’s Health Centre and their partners.

Picture above: Flyer for the Photographic Exhibition #voicesforchange

Patricia Cullen and Sally Stevenson 

Domestic and family violence is a public health emergency and occurs in epidemic proportions in Australia. One woman a week is murdered. One in three have experienced physical violence since the age of 15. One in six have experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner. 

But what is so often missed in the reporting of domestic violence, the reporting of cold-blooded murders, of vicious assault, of long-term abuse – all acts of violence akin to crimes of war is what happens after. What happens over time, in the years and decades after the abuse has stopped, or the women and children have managed to escape their own private conflict zone. 

Vicki Roach – survivor and advocate. Photograph by Sylvia Liber. Reproduced by permission

Research shows – clearly and without doubt – that left untreated, the traumatic consequences of domestic and family violence can have lifelong physical and mental health consequences. They are significant, long lasting and evidence-based; impacting women, children, future generations, our community, our economy and ultimately, our country. 

Research shows – clearly and without doubt – that left untreated, the consequences of domestic violence result in increased rates of heart disease, diabetes and chronic pain, increased rates of mental health disorders including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and substance use, and are overrepresented in prison.

Research shows  – clearly and without doubt – that it has a devastating impact on the development and wellbeing of children. 

But we don’t talk about that. And we certainly don’t provide adequate and accessible publicly-funded services that support women who continue to suffer the trauma and pain that the violence and abuse has embedded in their bodies and their minds – that remains long after the violent hands, the abusive and demeaning words and all the controlling behaviours of their intimate partners has stopped. We’d rather not think about it, we’d rather not pay for it, in fact as a society we’d really rather not be bothered about it. 

Women recovering from complex trauma and PTSD caused by family or intimate partner abuse require a range of support services depending on their circumstances: counselling, social support, parenting support, financial advice and support, and/or legal support. These services are most efficiently and effectively provided in one -safe- place, from a case managed team of professionals. 

There is no such service or centre available anywhere in Australia. 

There is nowhere in the public health system, or across the community service sector, where women can access integrated, comprehensive long-term support to recover from the health impact of complex trauma. 

And that’s why we – the UNSW School of Public Health and the Illawarra Women’s Health Centre – with our partners are campaigning to establish a Women’s Trauma Recovery Centre

This specialised Centre will offer a whole-of-organisation trauma sensitive approach that enables recovery from domestic and family violence trauma and helps to break the intergenerational cycle of violence. A range of holistic, and free, health, legal and psychosocial services will be provided. The Centre represents an investment that will provide significant financial and social returns to both the Commonwealth and NSW Governments, and the community. As a first of its kind in Australia, and designed to be easily replicated across the country, it will transform domestic, family and sexual violence response and recovery services

As part of our campaign during the 16 Days of Activism, we are holding a photographic exhibition: Resistance, Resilience and Recovery

‘Women resist violence, are fundamentally resilient – and have the right to recover from domestic and family abuse. We are calling on the community to support this right to recover.’

The exhibition is a community ‘call to action’ to support the establishment of Women’s Trauma Recovery Centre. The images here are from that exhibition, taken by award winning photographer Sylvia Liber.  

For more information, visit the Womens Trauma Recovery Centre’s website and Facebook

Dr Patricia Cullen is a Research Fellow and Co-lead Child and Adolescent Health Theme Early Career Fellow, at the National Health and Medical Research Council Population Health, UNSW. Sally Stevenson AM is the General Manager of the Illawarra Women’s Health Centre.

DAY TWELVE: City Lights for Social Change

To mark 2020 16 Days of Activism theme ‘Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!’ Australian academics worked with local authorities to turn their City orange.

Picture above: Civic Park in Newcastle, New South Wales being lit orange to mark 16 Days of Activism. Photo by Eddie O’Reilly, UON Marketing and Communications. Reproduced with permission.

Effie Karageorgos and Kcasey McLoughlin

In 1991 the Center for Women’s Global Leadership instituted the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, which has now spread to over 187 countries. It begins on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and ends on 10 December, Human Rights Day. In 2020, the University of Newcastle’s Gender Research Network has responded to the 2020 16 Days of Activism theme ‘Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!’ by turning Newcastle orange.

The Gender Research Network, established and led by Associate Professor Trisha Pender, has embarked on a Program in Gender-Based Violence research and activism in 2020, aided by a $70,000 University of Newcastle Faculty of Education and Arts Pilot Grant. Spanning sociology, history, law, literary, gender and cultural studies, the Gender Research Network aims to collaborate with local frontline services to tackle the urgent issue of gender-based violence.

The academic research funded by the project will cover legal conceptualisations of family violence, male clergy perpetration of sexual violence, media presentations of gendered and sexual violence in mainstream television and French and Australian media, the #MeToo movement and the relationship between historical Australian archetypes of masculinity and media representations of male violence.

Associate Professor Trisha Pender at the launch of the Newcastle 16 Days of Activism campaign to end violence against women, held in Civic Park, Wednesday 25 November 2020. Photo by Eddie O’Reilly. Reproduced with permission.

The impetus for this program has emerged from the alarming scale of gendered violence in Australia, with one woman murdered each week by an intimate partner. Gender-based violence is a pressing social and human rights issue that causes long-term physical and psychological effects and costs the Federal Government billions of dollars every year.

It is also a contentious issue in Australian society, with proposed legal reforms such as Victoria’s move to ban the public disclosure of names of sexual violence victims and New South Wales Labor’s push to criminalise coercive control causing widespread and impassioned debate from victims, victim advocates and researchers. The Program in Gender-Based Violence will not only address male perpetrators of violence against women, but also violence affecting LGBTIQ communities and children. It seeks to define how gender-based violence is reported and conceptualised within society.

A central facet of the Gender Research Network’s program in gender-based violence is the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women campaign. The Network was awarded a Newcastle City Council SBR (Special Business Rates) grant for ‘City Lights for Social Change’, which has created a permanent lighting infrastructure for Civic Park. This turned the park orange for the 16 Days in 2020, but will also create a safer public space at night for Newcastle residents and will be available for use by other social change campaigns in the future. In 2020, the University of Newcastle also committed to turning the NUspace building on its city campus orange, and the Newcastle City Hall’s Clock Tower will also turn orange for the 16 Days of Activism from 25 November to 10 December.

NUspace at University of Newcastle being lit orange to mark 16 Days of Activism, a campaign focusing on preventing violence against women. Photo by Eddie O’Reilly. Reproduced with permission.

The launch and vigil of 25 November took place at 8-9pm, featuring Associate Professor Trisha Pender, with the support of the New South Wales Police Force. Pender was joined by a range of speakers from community organisations, including ACON Health and Warlga Ngurra Women and Children’s Refuge, as well as Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon and City of Newcastle Councillor Carol Duncan. During the vigil, the names of the 45 women killed by violence in Australia in 2020 was read out by a group of domestic violence researchers and activists.

Image from the Newcastle launch of 16 Days of Activism campaign to end violence against women, held in Civic Park, Wednesday 25 November 2020. Photo by Eddie O’Reilly. Reproduced with permission.

The Gender Research Network’s contribution to the 16 Days campaign also included a webinar on the current push to criminalise coercive control in New South Wales. The session was facilitated by Dr Kcasey McLoughlin, Senior Lecturer in Law, and featured Laura Richards, prominent activist and behavioural analyst from the United Kingdom, Hayley Foster, Chief Executive of Women’s Safety NSW, and State Member for Shellharbour Anna Watson, who was responsible for introducing the bill to criminalise coercive control to the New South Wales Parliament.

The recording of the Coercive Control seminar of 30 November 2020 is available online.

Effie Karageorgos is a historian and member of the Gender Research Network at the University of Newcastle. Her research is in the social history of war, and specifically histories of masculinity and trauma. Her monograph Australian Soldiers in South Africa and Vietnam: Words from the Battlefield was published in March 2016. 

Kcasey McLoughlin is a Senior Lecturer in Law at Newcastle Law School and a member of Gender Research Network at the University of Newcastle. She is currently a visiting Scholar at the Australian Human Rights Institute (UNSW). Her research, broadly defined, concerns the gendered values that shape political and legal institutions and the extent to which law can be used as a tool for achieving equality.  

DAY TWELVE: Violence Unseen Reimagined – arts activism in the time of COVID-19

When the pandemic curtailed the travelling exhibition Violence Unseen, the organisers had to reassess. And they re-imagined and ‘digitally painted’ the images onto cityscapes.

Jo Zawadzka

Violence Unseen Re-Imagined is an online photography exhibition that aims to put unacknowledged and often unseen forms of violence against women on the map.  

The images used in this exhibition were originally created by the photographer Alicia Bruce, then re-imagined and ‘digitally painted’ onto the city landscapes by the visual artist Szymon Felkel.  

Before the pandemic curtailed the Violence Unseen exhibition’s travels, it was displayed in around 40 locations across Scotland, and seen by around 2000 people.  

However, with COVID-19 measures forcing a mass shift to online campaigning in recent months, our travelling Violence Unseen exhibition has taken on new significance and moved online. The Re-imagined exhibition features the Violence Unseen images in public spaces to convey the message that, whilst often hidden, violence against women hasn’t disappeared. In fact, it has been exacerbated by the pandemic.  

The forms of violence against women featured in the exhibition are not new, but some groups of women are more vulnerable to certain types of violence. This is especially true for women who face other forms of discrimination, such as women with learning disabilities, women who sell sex, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans women, and minority ethnic women. Moreover, we know that lockdown has acted as an enabler for perpetrators and made violence against women even less visible to the public eye, making getting this campaign seen by the public, even more important.  

Alongside the re-imagined images, we will be sharing links to research, articles and projects to help to broaden understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on violence against women. I would therefore like to spotlight three of our images here, as examples of our informative campaign. 

Picture above: Diane by Alicia Bruce/Szymon Felkel. Reproduced by permission of Zero Tolerance

Our first image features Diane Abbott with the backdrop of the houses of Parliament. This image is a significant representation of Violence Against Women in Politics and Elections (VAWIE). VAWIE was extremely prevalent during the run up to the 2017 snap election in which 45.14% of all abusive tweets were directed at Abbott, largely focussed on her gender and her race, largely in the form of threats of sexual violence.

Understanding intersectional discrimination is essential to understanding Violence Against Women and Girls, the different ways violence is enacted, and the varied impacts it can have on people who are multiply marginalised. 

Picture above: Margaret by Alicia Bruce/Szymon Felkel. Reproduced by permission of Zero Tolerance

The second image I want to focus on is of Margaret, very powerfully superimposed onto a Princes Street bus stop. This image discusses disabled women and carer abuse. Disabled women are twice as likely to experience men’s violence as non-disabled women, and 73% of disabled women have experienced domestic abuse. This image is captioned “How are you supposed to get anyone to believe you if everyone thinks he is a ‘Saint’ because of how he helps you?”, emphasising how much abuse towards disabled women goes unseen, diminished, and un-prosecuted.  

Picture above: Mridul by Alicia Bruce/Szymon Felkel. Reproduced by permission of Zero Tolerance

Mridul Wadhwa’s image has been ‘digitally painted’ onto the side of the Scottish Parliament building, thus placing a trans, migrant woman who describes how she is seen by the world as “outsider everywhere”, straight into the political sphere. 83% of trans women have experienced a hate crime, whilst migrant women’s experience of ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ can leave them more vulnerable to violence. This demonstrates another way multiple marginalisation can lead to increased exposure to violence. 

Visit virtual exhibition here

An accessible version can be found here

See also Day 10 Blog by Alicia Bruce

Please note that some of the content in this exhibition deals with sexual violence, abuse and exploitation which some people might find upsetting. Some of the women featured in the pictures are models. 

List of helplines for anyone who lives in Scotland is available here:

Jo Zawadzka is Campaigns and Engagement Office for Zero Tolerance, the Scottish charity that works to end men’s violence against women by promoting gender equality and challenging attitudes which normalise violence and abuse. Their work began in 1992 with a series of mass media campaigns designed to raise awareness and challenge attitudes about violence against women. Today their work continues to challenge the social attitudes and values which permit violence to occur. They take a practical, evidence-based approach targeting primary prevention of violence and promoting change. 

Throughout the 16 Days of Activism, Zero Tolerance will be sharing our seven images across their social media platforms. They will also be available for campaigning purposes – if you are interested in accessing their Violence Unseen Re-imagined resources, please contact Jo at  

You can find Zero Tolerance Scotland on Twitter @ZTScotland, and on Facebook and Instagram @ZeroToleranceScotland. Their website is

The photographer, Alicia Bruce can be found on twitter @picturemaking, instagram @aliciabrucephoto and her website at Szymon Felkel, the arts activist, can be found on instagram @szymon_felkel and at their website at

DAY ELEVEN: Witches of Scotland : A campaign to right the historic wrongs done to women

The Witches of Scotland Campaign aims to win pardons, memorials and apologies for the women who died in witch trials in Scotland between the 16th and 18th century.

Picture above: Witches Gestalt names, credits: andrewtcrummy, source: Creative Commons.

Claire Mitchell QC and Zoe Venditozzi 

The Witches of Scotland Campaign was set up in 2020 to highlight the terrible miscarriage of justice that was suffered by people, mostly women, between the 16th and 18th century that were accused convicted and executed as witches in Scotland. It seeks to obtain a pardon, an apology and a public memorial to commemorate all those in Scotland who were convicted or accused as witches.

Scottish lawyer Claire Mitchell QC set up the campaign. She is an advocate who specialises in appeals against miscarriages of justices. She knew that there had never been any attempt to address the wrongful convictions of women as witches.  As a result she decided to campaign for a pardon for these women, to highlight the wrongs done to them and to make clear that an allegation of witchcraft as a tool of persecution was wrong then and is wrong now.  She believes these women and men deserve justice. 

Much of the record keeping, especially in the earlier centuries, was very poor but from what is available it is thought that the people who were accused of witchcraft 84% were women.

The “satanic panic” that spread through Europe in at this time used the allegation of witchcraft as a tool of persecution against women.  Academics believe that the in Scotland approximately 5 times as many as the European average number of executions took place and it is estimated that of approximately 4000 allegations of witchcraft, 2500 people were executed as witches. 

“5. Witches Gates by Tom Ewing”, credits: andrewtcrummy. Source: Creative Commons.

The Witchcraft Act 1563 came into force in Scotland when Mary, Queen of Scots was still alive, but it was her son, James VI of Scotland (and later James the first of England) who legitimised the idea that witches lived amongst us. So obsessed was he with the idea that witches and demons were real and that they preyed on men and women that in 1599 he wrote the book “Daemonologie” which was a study of magic, sorcery and witchcraft. The ruling classes, the church and the common people all believed that the devil walked amongst us and corrupted those who were not godly enough. The reason why women were more likely to be witches than men is because that it was thought that women were “weaker” and more likely to succumb to the devil’s charms. It seems that the view that women were more likely to be witches than men was a universal one.

Unfortunately, it took very little and sometimes nothing at all to be accused of being a witch.

Allegations could be made up, or a woman could fall out with a neighbour and if the neighbour or her family or animals became unwell the suspicion would fall apon the woman as having cursed her enemy. After an allegation was made the woman would be interrogated. In Scotland the preferred method of getting confessions was to keep the woman awake and use sleep deprivation until she “confessed.”

Unfortunately, many so-called confessions were obtained this way. It was not enough, however, to confess to being a witch – what was also required was that you gave up the names of the women who were part of the witches group too. This meant that if you knew someone who was accused as a witch you would fear being called a witch too. If you confessed then under the Witchcraft Act 1563 the punishment was execution. This was done by first strangling the women and then burning her body to get rid of any trace of her, so the devil did not bring her back to get revenge. 

In some countries, they have apologised, pardoned and build memorials for those wrongly accused and convicted of witchcraft. Those that were convicted in the most famous witch trials, those held in Salem, Massachusetts, in the USA were all pardoned and there is a public memorial in the form of a garden where each of the 19 killed (15 women and 4 men) are remembered with their own bench-seat. In Norway there is a memorial in Finnmark to those women killed in one of the biggest witch trials in Scandinavia. 

Unfortunately, gender-based violence is not a thing of the past, and women are still wrongly being accused of witchcraft in some parts of the world (See Mayur Suresh’s blogpost from last year on Witch-hunting in East India). Women and children continue to suffer harm through witchcraft allegations. It is hoped that in carrying out this campaign it also sheds light on the use of allegations of witchcraft as a tool of persecution in the modern day against women and children.  

Author Zoe Venditozzi and Claire Mitchell QC host a weekly podcast which can be found on the website where the allegations of witchcraft and the reasons behind the allegations are discussed as well as updates on the campaign.