Photo Voice is a qualitative method used for community-based participatory research. It aims at revealing the perceptions of members on their community and shed light on the issues and resources the participants identify. It combines the use of photography and story telling which give deep insights into community’s understanding of their environment. It is based on a strong collaborative effort of community members and researchers or professionals in order to employ community action and social change.
In DEMO project, minority Israeli-Arab students at Sakhnin College were provided opportunities to cast light on their perceptions of their surroundings through Photo Voice. Participants were invited to capture photos of issues that they find concerning/requiring attention in their community. The aim was to create an exhibition which could be presented to key members of the community and to policy makers. Therefore, the students were asked to write descriptions on the issues at stake and to share their photos and descriptions with an audience. The exhibition of photos together with the descriptions are designed to highlight important issues for the community and finally affect change. The process aims to ignite in students the spark for social justice and activism.
Organizational requirements, equipment and materials
Students are provided with cameras and colour-printing facilities, as well as ultimate freedom to choose whatever problems they wish to highlight. Furthermore, students need time and support in describing which issues these photos address.
Approaches to securing the access and the collaboration of communities
During the process, students go out to their communities to documents the problems they encounter there. At the end of the process, key members and policymakers of students’ communities are invited to attend the walk-in exhibition where students present the outcomes of their working processes. By sharing the results of their Photo Voice projects they raise the awareness of the community to the highlighted issues and encourage community members to collaborate in order to improve the situation.
During the working process, each student takes photos of issues and challenges in his/her life and community (as members of a monitory group). Each student writes a reflection on the photo which is presented next to the photo. The combination of text and photo describes the issue at stake with the power of different media and touches different senses of the exhibition visitors. The text typically combines a description of why this issue troubles the community members and suggestions how to change the situation. Students’ Photo Voice projects are displayed at the end of the academic year in the college, and influential figures (policy makers, political representatives, media) are invited to hear the students’ voices. The whole project initiates a collaborative effort of those who are in power, students and researchers/professionals to affect social change.
Outcome of the project
Students PhotoVoice projects are included in the following Google Presentation:
Wang, C., & Burris, M. (1997). PhotoVoice: Concept, methodology, and use for participatory needs assessment. In: Health Education and Behavior, (24), 369-387.
Hayik, R. (2018). Through their eyes: Israeli-Arab students speak up through participatory documentary photography projects. In: Language Teaching Research Journal, 22(4), 458-477.
Nykiforuk, C.I.J., Vallianatos, H., & Nieuwendyk, L. M. (2011). Photovoice as a Method for Revealing Community Perceptions of the Built and Social Environment. In: The International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 10(2), 103-124
Sutton-Brown, C. A. (2014). Photovoice: A Methodological Guide. Photography and Culture, 7(2), 169-185. doi: 10.2752/175145214X13999922103165PhD
Name of the Workshop: PhotoVoice
Facilitator of the Workshop: Dr. Rawia Hayik