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This article offers a personal reflection of my journey into participatory arts-based research with sex work migrants in South Africa. It begins by sharing some background information of how my own experience as a migrant woman, and my layered (sometimes conflicted) identities, have continued to shape and influence much of my scholarly work, including my commitment to engaging in research that supports (or at least tries to support) social justice. Through this article, I offer an example of how the ‘personal is political’ is entwined in feminist values of research and engagement. Those who experience the issues under investigation must be considered equal partners in research processes. Collaborative forms of knowledge production can support social justice, particularly if efforts strive to shift the centre from which knowledge is traditionally generated and disseminated.

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