Embodied stories: African-Dutch women narrate (in)visibility and agency in the city of The Hague

b.e.bartelink@rug.nl / / / / / /

Inspired by her work in the Cultural Encounters project, team member Brenda Bartelink started a side project in 2018/2019. In her research on religious leaders she engaged with churches from the perspective of leadership, which is often – though not always- a male perspective and informed by the ideal type role models religious leaders want to be to their communities. The project Designing the Body focussed on working with women directly, centralizing African-Dutch women’s lived experiences. In collaboration with designer Gabriela Bustamante the project developed a creative methodology to elicit stories through engaging with Delft Blue design. Previous posts on this website has covered the various activities organized as part of the project.

The insights from the research project are described and analyzed in the article Embodied stories that was published in LOVA Journal in December. The article explores African-Dutch women’s embodied stories of agency. It builds on participatory research carried out in the city of The Hague in the Netherlands, in which African-Dutch women were engaged in the process of making visual and material objects, that elicited storytelling. Discussing how agency is embodied, the article demonstrates how a focus on the body and materiality opens up perspectives on women’s agency and empowerment that often remain invisible. It also argues that such embodied stories offer counter narratives to the more visible stories that are present in dominant discourses and interventions to empower women with migration backgrounds.

The full article is attached here:Bartelink et al. Embodied Stories LOVA Journal 41