A Room of Their Own – the book – is a visual narrative combining photographs, first hand testimonies and original art works. It was created through a series of collaborative workshops with Magnum photographer Susan Meiselas and women in refuge, in the Black Country, over 2015 and 2016.
A Room of Their Own shares women’s experiences of domestic abuse and the process of entering refuge alone, or with their children, to the collective life within, to then becoming resettled in their own home.
Susan Meiselas (b. 1948, Baltimore, Maryland) joined Magnum Photos in 1976 and has worked as a freelance photographer since then. She is known for her documentary work across a range of subjects and relationships over time, in particular, her coverage of human rights issues in Latin America.
I was invited by Multistory to photograph in the region of the Black Country, a multi-ethnic, post-industrial region in the West Midlands, UK. The moment I entered a woman’s refuge there, I felt connected to its mission.
We developed a collaborative project with the women who were willing to share their stories. We agreed that there would be no visual identification of the people or locations within the refuge shelter network. Some photographs have been redacted, pixelated or blurred for further protection.
This book follows the stages of the refuge experience from the time it begins in ‘a room of their own’. An empty room may offer the launch of a new life, but it can also represent resistance to the idea of settling, and speak to the desire to move on.