Student Researchers: A Glimpse at PhotoVoice

6/22/2016

In research, we ask questions. We follow some systematic method to arrive at a conclusion. It is how we are trained to conduct research.

What if, however, we asked a question and let others give us their answer? What if we made the participants researchers? What if we let them provide us living, breathing, dynamic answers that reflect the real-world?

This is the idea behind PhotoVoice. PhotoVoice allows researchers to pose questions and people living at the heart of the question to provide answers using photography and narrative.

PhotoVoice’s vision is for a world in which no one is denied the opportunity to speak out and be heard. PhotoVoice’s mission is to build skills within disadvantaged and marginalised (sic) communities. To achieve this, we utilise (sic) innovative participatory photography and digital storytelling methods. These skills enable individuals to represent themselves and create tools for advocacy and communication. Through this, and through developing partnerships, we deliver positive social change.”

Imagine the kinds of influence we could have and/or the cases that we could make if those of us in education were to turn a camera over to a student in a school in the urban core of Duval County and ask them to show us what makes learning difficult for them. Imagine the rich narratives we would get back empowering them to tell us the conclusion, the story, their truth. It would become undeniably clear the direction that policy makers, nonprofits, city officials, school districts, teachers, and parents should take to provide high quality education for all students. What kind of things do you think we would see?

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