Using film to gain insight into market vendors' lives in Vanuatu

Date

2024

Authors

Lloyd, Murray

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The aim of this practice-led research initiative was to create an opportunity for women in Vanuatu to be heard. This aim was achieved through the production of an expository documentary film featuring women's voices. The film accompanies a dissertation that discusses the status of women in Vanuatu. Films can convey valuable knowledge, which can be shared with an audience. The purpose of the documentary was to provide an insight into the lives of women in Vanuatu and to highlight some of the challenges they face. Considered the heart of the city, Port Vila Central Market is dominated by women. However, their voices tend not to be heard by policy makers. The goal of this project was to give the women selling fresh produce and working at the market an opportunity to express their views in the film. Other creative outlets exist in Vanuatu, primarily Wan Smol Bag, which present theatrical productions that incorporate difficult social issues. Creating the film was an emotional experience for all involved, demonstrating how art can bring people together and create meaningful dialogue. Art plays a vital role in promoting understanding and empathy between people of different cultures and communities. This project demonstrates how art can provide a powerful platform to share stories, break down cultural and social barriers, and foster understanding. The MPhil thesis that accompanies the documentary film examines women's status in Vanuatu. To explore the current gender dynamics in the archipelago, the thesis investigates a wide range of problems faced by women in Vanuatu in the areas of politics, kastom and religion, health, education, and empowerment. A careful examination of the various issues at play is intended to assist the reader in understanding the complexities of gender relations in Vanuatu and to illuminate potential avenues for improving the status of women in the country. The thesis confirms that women typically have very little opportunity to be heard in Vanuatu. Despite the urgent need to deal with the issues negatively impacting upon women's lives, a lack of representation of women and generally low levels of power amongst women in Vanuatu remain significant barriers to bringing about meaningful change in the country. Therefore, it is essential for initiatives to strive to create a sense of empowerment amongst women so that they can become more involved in decision-making processes. This project represents one such initiative.

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Thesis (MPhil)

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