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UAL Research Online

Single Saudi Women in the Diaspora: A Photographic Study

Mansour, Wasma (2013) Single Saudi Women in the Diaspora: A Photographic Study. PhD thesis, University of the Arts London.

Type of Research: Thesis
Creators: Mansour, Wasma

The past decade has witnessed significant political and economic transformations in Saudi Arabia, many of which have affected the role and position of women. Various government initiatives have emerged during this time that support the development of Saudi human resources, the chief among them being the King Abdullah Foreign Scholarship Programme (KAFSP), which provides financial sponsorship for Saudi citizens, male and female, to pursue education abroad. The resulting high numbers of KAFSP-sponsored Saudi women living abroad, most notably in the United Kingdom (UK), without chaperones or male guardians, challenges many beliefs about the social restrictions imposed on Saudi women.

Within this context, the researcher, a single Saudi female residing in the UK, undertook a photographic study and examination of the interview responses (and, in four cases, detailed life narratives) of a convenient sample of single Saudi women living in London as students between 2008 and 2012. Backed up by a review of the historical, scholarly and artistic practice contexts for the study, the enquiry into the participants’ experiences is grounded in art practice, in that it is based on photography as the primary method of research and observation. The images produced in this study examine the participants’ chosen modes of representation in both public and private contexts. In the latter regard, the images and oral histories collectively reveal the participants’ homes as dynamic spaces that are permeated with memories and negotiations that bridge the gap between their past and present lifestyles. Collectively, too, the imagery, participant accounts and analyses demonstrate that the participants’ existence is a complex tissue of decisions through which they attempt to reconcile their identities as single Saudi women and as members of a diaspora, and hence as young persons navigating social worlds with norms that differ markedly from those of their homeland. In this context, geographical and social distance provide the participants with opportunities to renegotiate their previous social and gender roles, and the study captures, contextualizes and interprets these renegotiations.

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Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Communication
Date: September 2013
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2022 11:53
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2024 15:00
Item ID: 18403
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/18403

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