A powerful exhibition exploring the issues facing Scotland's sex workers opens in Ayr this month as part of a national tour. The Inside Outside exhibition, a joint event from the Encompass Network and South Ayrshire Council, runs between Friday, 20 April and Sunday, 29 April 2018.
Taking place in the old Court House at Ayr Town Hall, Inside Outside Ayr is a multi-media exhibition of art, photography, video and audio installations based on and featuring the voices and stories of women involved in prostitution in Scotland. The exhibition aims to give people involved in the industry a voice to tell their side of the story. Councillor Laura Brennan-Whitefield, Chair of the South Ayrshire Multi-Agency Partnership (MAP) said she hoped the event would trigger constructive debate around a sensitive issue, "This fascinating exhibition goes behind the headlines to offer a candid look at the real lives of people with direct experience of Scotland's sex industry. "The exhibition offers people a unique opportunity to hear from women who have been involved with, are moving out of, or have completely exited the sex industry, allowing people to question where their own opinions come from. "I'd like to thank everyone working behind the scenes for organising this thought provoking exhibition and I'd urge anyone with an interest in finding out more to come along and experience Inside Outside for themselves." Inside Outside was co-ordinated by Linda Thompson from the Women's Support Project on behalf of the Encompass Network. Photographer Kathryn Rattray supported the women to take their own images which chronicled their background, journey in sex work and their struggles to exit it. Linda Thompson said the event was designed to dispel commonly held myths, "Inside Outside has been an incredible piece of work which highlights the reality of inside the sex industry, which many people don't get the chance to hear about. "The women were honest in telling their stories and we are privileged as outsiders to be allowed into their lives. These women have been and still are incredibly brave, having experienced violence and abuse. "They are also one of the most creative, insightful and warm groups of women I have ever been lucky enough to work with." Katie, one of the Inside Outside participants said the exhibition had been an empowering experience, "I think the idea of getting women to tell their stories in such an individual way and using our minds to create something so beautiful that is going to reach so many people is amazing, and shows why we shouldn't be ashamed of our stories – they are our stories. They have made us who we are." The Inside Outside exhibition runs from Friday, 20 April until Sunday, 29 April 2018 between 10am – 4.30pm every day (Including Saturday's & Sunday's). Entry is free although limited to those over the age of 16. Please note that some of the content in the exhibition deals with sexual violence, abuse and exploitation which some people might find upsetting. More information is available at www.insideoutsidescotland.info/External link