A powerful and mesmerising series of photographs is the unusual trigger for a research project by UTS Law academic Beth Goldblatt.
In partnership with Shirin Rai from the UK’s Warwick University, Beth looked at a ground breaking court ruling in South Africa which considered the rights of carers who tended injured mine workers from 32 gold mines.
The court recognised the unpaid work of these carers – usually women – and the unstated expectation of the companies that these women would take on the care of their loved ones. These were broken men sent home from the mines because they had contracted deadly diseases like silicosis and TB from the gold dust.
The class action has now reached a 400 million dollar settlement for compensation in South Africa and the ground-breaking case has potential application elsewhere in the world in promoting greater legal recognition of carers and their rights.
Photographer Thom Pierce captured images of the men with their carers in their home environment. Beth Goldblatt says the images were inspiring:
Looking at compensation claims through the lens of photography helps us to think about which forms of harm are recognized and which are not – and why. It also leads us to ask who is compensated for the harms done to them and who is not, and what happens when compensation is denied to those who must assume extra care responsibilities.
For further details about the series and those depicted in the photographs view the online exhibition.
Associate Professor Beth Goldblatt’s research concerns human rights and equality with a focus on gender and poverty.