We are a collective of women who have taken part in a four year research project, which led to the production of our book, An Untold Story. In our own words and images, it tells our life stories, including the significant shared experience of working in prostitution on the streets of Hull. There is a lot we have in common, but there is also a lot of divergence between us, our experiences, and what we have to say about them.
We are not all of the original authors, and we are accompanied by some who do not have lived experience of sex working. What holds us together is the journey we’ve shared in putting the book together, and the desire to keep speaking up about the issues which we believe need to continue to be heard further and wider.
Background to the project
In 2013, the independent charity Hull Lighthouse Project which has now been outreaching to vulnerable women in Hull for over twenty years, was commissioned by one of its major funders, the Lankelly Chase Foundation to conduct a piece of qualitative research which investigated the narratives of women who had experienced street prostitution, with particular reference to their routes into this. Due to the funders open outlook and egalitarian approach we were able to let the project develop organically – leading to the participants of the project becoming its co-creators. They chose the medium of a book to convey their narratives; and An Untold Story was born.
Each author has taken a significant risk in order to open up her own very personal story; we are deeply grateful to one another for the mutual care and support we have each given and gained. Additionally, we could not have done without the help and support of Hull Lighthouse Project staff; the Lankelly Chase Foundation and Sara Scott of DMSS Research who was commissioned by Lankelly Chase to support the editing process. We are thankful for the advice and inspiration of Jude Habib from Sound Delivery, once again the Lankelly Chase Foundation and Paula Harriot as we navigated the public world of promotion and began to think about becoming an independent entity. This is enabling us to continue to present and promote our book and speak up about associated issues after the charity’s research project came to an end.