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ICA Daily
Monday 13 April 2020
Institute of Contemporary Arts
Today’s ICA Daily is edited by members of Decriminalised Futures, led by activists and artists from SWARM (Sex Worker Advocacy and Resistance Movement), in partnership with Arika and supported by the ICA, exploring a wide range of topics that impact sex workers today.

Watch

Sex workers in Brazil resisting stigma and breaking standards of beauty and gender by creating their own fashion label DASPU (of the whores) and turning the streets into a catwalk. The film shows how DASPU turned into a platform for the political movement of prostitutes, feminists and LGBTQ+ people.
    
Objects of Desire is a sex worker-led collective and archive of sex worker stories told through objects. This is a short film on their exhibition at the Schwules Museum in Berlin last year with beautiful footage from the International Whores’ Day (Hurentag) parade. Explore the archive and read more about the collective here
    
To recognise 17 December 2018 – the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers – SWARM released this short animated documentary about the lives of sex workers in the UK. Produced in collaboration with Ada Jusic and Woven Ink, To Survive; To Live weaves together candid interviews from five people selling sex in austerity Britain. Setting aside the polarising optics that often surround discussions of sex work, the film gives an intimate insight into the hopes, fears and needs of a group whose voices are routinely silenced.

Read

As everyone’s life is thrown into turmoil, it’s right to focus on those at the sharpest end of the pandemic chaos. But, in the glut of articles about sex workers and coronavirus, the reasons for sex workers’ particular vulnerability is getting lost.

Most of the time the men were fine. Most of the time they were profoundly boring. I went to their warehouses or their apartments and put on whatever pleated skirt they’d bought for the occasion. I put things inside of me: cocks, knife handles, fruit, toys. Afterward I cleaned myself up in the bathroom and rinsed my mouth, got my money, and got a ride back to the station and took the bus home.

The US Justice Department act aims to address child sexual abuse online by threatening to allow more lawsuits against websites over user-created content and communication, unless they comply with new government speech guidelines. It would create a 19 person commission to set government control of online speech, which digital security experts believe is a thinly veiled attempt to mandate encryption backdoors. This means, in practice, ending encryption.

Listen

With Blair Buchanan from Decrim-Now, Kirstie Douse from Release, Chiara Capraro from Amnesty International, Emily Kenway, and Rain Watt from Transgender NI.
       In May 2019 SWARM hosted a three day festival involving panel discussions across a wide range of topics that impact on sex workers, and that connect and intersect with sex worker rights organising and broader struggles for justice. Conversations covered policing, prisons, disability, migration, criminalisation, austerity, health and much more. As part of the ongoing Decriminalised Futures project we will be releasing recordings of these panels over the next few months. You can listen to the opening panel on our soundcloud now, and keep checking back for more.

A DIY cultural community space broadcasting sex workers and allies, they have a new show every month and a recent one about COVID-19 and the impact on sex workers globally. Check it out.

Join

A five week online programme begins on 13 April.
Sex and Rage! is a festival delving into the parts of the mind and soul that are dark, deep, delicious or dangerous – the human experience is just so. The quest continues to further explore our individual imaginations towards collective healing and spiritual growth, seeing ourselves as part of a dynamic system – humanity – that is actively engaging in the evolutionary process of liberatory action.

Do

Donate and help build SWARM’s hardship fund for sex workers in crisis during the coronavirus pandemic. Donations go directly to sex workers in need and the fund is run by volunteers. If you are a sex worker and you would like to apply for the hardship fund you can email: mutualaid@swarmcollective.org

If you have an old phone you are no longer using or that only needs minor repairs to come back to life, send them to the Dialtone Project. This mutual aid project rehabilitates and distributes donated phones to sex workers so that they can use them for work – really helpful for communicating with clients, connecting with the community and keeping up to date with safety alerts.

Track of the Day

Remembering the English Collective of Prostitutes’ 12 day occupation of the Holy Church in Kings Cross in 1982 to protest against police violence, constant arrests, and racism.

If we work together we can never lose.


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Image: Juno Mac