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Visualising Security: Feminist pacifist perspectives from WILPF UK members

As part of WILPF UK’s participation in the Rethinking Security’s Visualising Security
project, in the morning of the 27th May 2023 and for two hours, six of our members came
together in a Zoom call. The purpose of the workshop was twofold: first, to start a discussion
within WILPF UK about (in)security from a feminist pacifist perspective and reflect
collectively on what (in)security means to us in our everyday lives. Second, to include
WILPF’s unique feminist pacifist perspective on (in)security into the broader Visualising
Security project. Ultimately, the workshop helped us to learn about the multiple and
complex dimensions of (in)security,
to gain further knowledge on what feminist pacifism
can bring to the (in)security debate and to define where we, as WILPF UK members, stand in
the broader (in)security discussion. As WILPF Scotland’s member Janet Fenton pointed out
during our last AGM, as feminist and pacifist we should be very vigilant of certain
vocabularies being hijacked by states and militaries
alike, as it is the case of the security discourse even in its human security shape, thus we need alternative imaginaries
grounded on our strong feminist pacifist values.

During this discussion, we used a participatory arts-based method called Photovoice
that, in the specific context of the Visualising Security project, promotes the use of
photography as a way to:

• Talk about (in)security as it is experienced by people in their everyday lives
• Learn about people’s lived understanding of (in)security
• Give voice to those directly affected by (in)security policies
• Influence (in)security policies through the use of participatory visual storytelling

The workshop was divided into two halves. After introductions and an icebreaking
activity, the participants talked about the photos they brought to the workshop and shared
what those photos meant to them and in what sense they echoed their feminist pacifist
visions of (in)security.

In the second half of the workshop, participants dived in deeper in the (in)security
discussion and thought over different questions, among others:

• What (in)security means to us in our everyday
• How our feminist pacifist views influence our understandings of (in)security
• What a feminist pacifist perspective on (in)security looks like
• How and why to challenge (in)security frameworks
• Possible alternatives to (in)security frameworks

As an informative and surely inspiring note, some of the imaginaries that arose as
alternative frameworks to (in)security were: internationalism, care, inclusion, solidarity,
justice, cooperation, sisterhood, integrity, peace, freedom, human rights, community
and do no harm
, among many others. At the end of the workshop, participants picked other
participants’ photos and shared why these photos resonated with them and how they
echoed their feminist pacifist views. We finalised with a brief recap and wrap up where every
member shared what they learned and what their main takeaways from the workshop were.

The workshop was a very fruitful and inspiring conversation that took place in a friendly
and safe atmosphere, abundant in thoughtful comments, nurtured with care and respect for
each other and informed by our common but differentiated lived experiences of
(in)security and our shared feminist pacifist views.

As a next step, the transcriptions of the workshop and the participants’ selected photos
and captions will be shortly sent to Rethinking Security as part of WILPF UK’s contribution to
their Visualising Security project. At Rethinking Security they are planning to exhibit all the
images from all the participants online. They are open to suggestions and ways to support,
so If any of you have any ideas on how best to disseminate this visual discussion and/or
wish to continue the conversation about (in)security from a feminist pacifist
please let us know.

A big, big thank you goes to everyone who made it to the workshop and contributed to
the discussion in such a thoughtful and generous way. For those of you who couldn’t make
it but want to learn more about (in)security and WILPF UK’s participation in the Visualising
Security project, please do not hesitate to contact

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