As opposed to more traditional ethnographic research methodologies, our team chose not to cast ethnic minorities as an unidirectional research subject. We avoided relying on interviewing or reporting to depict any given group. Rather, we invited participants to directly express feelings and open their inner selves via storytelling, drawing and creating artwork, without the necessity for their expressions to be analysed and interpreted by us. Instead, we hoped to collect the works and allow meaning to emerge from them.
Moreover, the research was regarded as an opportunity for dialogue and communication. Based on our own reflection and findings, researchers participated in parts of the participant’s creative work. When researchers visited different organizations, some target audience refused to accept the invitation because of distrust or ethnicity differentiation. This only confirmed to us the need to build trust and understanding by collective creation.
In the past year, we met a self-help group of Nepalese which served the community for translation; a social worker who is operating a non-profit organization with more than 2000 members; kids from Pakistan, Indian and Sri Lanka; a Pakistan community ambassador, Filipino domestic workers; and lamp artists from Turkey.
Throughout the process of communication, we gained a greater understanding of the importance of community and mutual support among Hong Kong ethnic minorities. Apart from understanding their daily challenges, we explored their specific situations by drawing, photography, writing, embroidery and making collages, while the participants recorded their own feelings and emotions, in an attempt to capture the changes and their changing hopes, fears and dreams during the pandemic moments.
Finally, we want to express our gratitude to the Faculty of Arts Research Impact Fund for supporting the research and the exhibition, allowing us to contribute to a greater understanding of this important aspect of Hong Kong society context. Many organizations assisted our research in the past year, including HKSKH Lady MacLehose Centre services for Ethnic Minorities Unit Kung Yung Koon; Fredie Hung Ethnic Minorities Service;, the YMCA of Hong Kong Overseas Domestic Workers Programme; the DOOOR arts space by YMCA of Hong Kong;, Hong Kong Unison; The Zubin Foundation; former district councillors Leslie Chan Ka-long, Issac Ho Cheuk-hin and Natalie Tsui Wai-fong; the Vice Chairman of the Yau Tsim Mong Leo Chu Tsz-lok; artists Alice Fu and Ella Wong; residents from Pok Fu Lam Village, Mr. and Mrs. Wong ... We thank you all for contributing ideas and dimensions for the research.