In 2016, filmmaker Bex Devaraj and anthropologist Anne Lotter were given unique access to one of the biggest slums in Kampala, Uganda, where every day is a struggle for survival.

In this intimate film, six courageous women share their stories of heartache, hope and living with HIV. From polygamous marriage, to being bewitched, to dreams of driving a car, this documentary gives a voice to a community who’ve never had one.

‘Positive Women’ reflects the real power of film in hearing directly from the participants; their tragedy, fears and hopes, spoken with heartbreaking candour. The women’s compelling stories are told with humour, anger, resolve and defiance, leaving a sense of having lived alongside them and incorporated their social and material world in an enlivened bodily experience.

Before the film screening, anthropologist Anne Lotter, Assistant Professor at Richmond and a Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute, discussed the interface between visual anthropology and international development, to an audience of faculty and students affiliated with the IVAC and SPG research centres at Richmond.

The Q&A and discussion following the screening focussed on how anthropological thinking enabled the film makers to manage their ‘western’ expectations when working in the slums of Kampala. The attendees also considered how they might act in response to the challenges proposed by the film and such positive opportunities as internships and collaborations with the charity Project Le Monde were discussed.

A trailer for the film is available here.

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