Dr. Jill McCracken is Professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of South Florida and the Co-Director of Sex Workers Outreach Program Behind Bars, an organization that supports incarcerated sex workers and trafficking victims. Her research focuses on sex work and trafficking in the sex industry.
This workshop draws upon community-based participatory research theory and practice to demonstrate how centering the community in a research project improves the knowledge we co-create and decreases harm to marginalized participants. We begin by briefly outlining our project, Complex Rights and Wrongs, which explores how current legislative systems in the US can harm sex workers and trafficking victims. The project was created and led at all stages by current and former sex workers and trafficking survivors, including the research team and the participants, in order to gather the expertise of those who are most impacted by existing laws and policies. The rest of the workshop will teach attendees how to apply these principles to their own research. Attendees will share their research interests, goals, and key populations, which will be integrated into the training.
Workshop attendees will learn how to facilitate research projects that reduce harm and encourage healing. We will explain how harm reduction can be integrated into community-based participatory research and how these principles intersect other movements, including sex worker rights, anti-trafficking, anti-carceral, labor, LGBTQIA+, HIV/AIDS, reproductive justice, decolonization, migrants’ rights, among others. We will then show participants how they can create a rigorous community-based research project and demonstrate how these projects create better research because the questions are informed by the lived experience of impacted communities.
Participants will leave the workshop with: 1) An understanding of how community-based research and harm reduction practices are aligned; 2) A map of key harm reduction principles and how they can be applied to a variety of research projects that better center marginalized individuals and communities; and 3) Specific practices participants can incorporate into their own projects. Implementing these key practices and knowledge will empower attendees to create more effective, sustainable, and equitable research.