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What is photovoice?

___Photovoice is a type of participatory action research in which people – usually those with little power – use photographs and/or video to picture their environment and experiences and to express their thoughts about them

The goals of photovoice:

___To provide a voice for those who have none

___To instill critical consciousness

___To influence policy

Why should you use photovoice?

___The rewards of taking photographs are immediate

___Photography is both fun and creative

___Taking photographs or videos of familiar scenes and people can change participants’ perceptions about their social and physical environment

___Basic photography is easy to learn and accessible to almost everyone

___“A picture is worth a thousand words” 

___Images can be understood regardless of language, culture, or other factors

___Policy makers can’t deny reality when it’s staring them in the face

___Pictures, by creating a clear record of what exists at a particular point in time, can be used to hold policy makers and others accountable

___Photography and video provide a means for empowerment without requiring people to stand up and speak in public

Who should use photovoice?

___People who lack a voice in the community or society

___Children and youth in difficult circumstances

___Homeless adults and families

___People with physical and mental disabilities or mental health issues

___People with chronic diseases or medical conditions – tuberculosis, diabetes, heart disease, etc.

___Members of racial, ethnic, linguistic, religious or cultural minorities

___People whose way of life is threatened

___People who are discriminated against because of class, caste, way of life, or poverty

___The rural poor

___People who live in difficult or unacceptable conditions and want to change them

Some types of organizations that could benefit by using photovoice with participants: 

___Schools and other organizations that work with children and youth

___Orphanages, group houses, homeless shelters, and other living situations for those who need care

___Organizations that work with people whose needs and humanity are commonly ignored

___Community health centers and similar health providers

___Organizations that serve people with physical and mental disabilities or mental health issues

___Advocacy organizations or health and human service organizations that include advocacy in their mission

___International aid and refugee organizations

When might you use photovoice?

___When photovoice can change people’s opinions about themselves and their environment

___When a group’s situation needs to be publicized

___When a problem needs to be publicized

___When change is necessary, and photovoice can help sway policy makers

___When a community assessment is needed or in progress

___When you need to document the process of or gather data for an evaluation of an intervention or program

___When you need to hold policy makers or others accountable

___When you need to document a site, an event, or a way of life that is threatened or about to disappear

How do you use photovoice?

___Photovoice should be a participatory, collaborative process from the beginning

___Participants and staff need training

___Participants need support

___The project should result in some action

Putting together a photovoice project:

___Recruit participants, a mentor/facilitator, and staff/volunteers

___Plan the project with the community or group you’re working with

___Train participants:

  • Technical training
  • Training in ethical and safe photography in various situations.
  • Group-building and training in working in a group.

___Train staff and/or volunteers:

  • Technical training.
  • Group facilitation.
  • Basic counseling skills.
  • Structure and aims of the project.

___Get out and take pictures

___Work regularly in small groups to discuss and reflect on the experience and the pictures, and to choose each participant’s best photographs or video sequences

___Stage an exhibit of participants’ photographs or videos

___Take action

___Follow up


___Do it again