Recently, Prof Naydene de Lange from the School of Educational Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Edgewood Campus), held a workshop here on campus on photovoice. Photovoice is a methodology mostly used in the field of education which combines photography with grassroots social action. The workshop was conducted on the 14th of August 2009.
One of the participants, Shan Simmonds, gave the following feedbeack after the workshop.
This workshop illustrated the power of visual data as a research methodology to provide the voiceless with a voice. Through the use of visual materials such as photographs, videos and illustrations, research participants are able to portray their personal insight and understanding behind certain issues. Visual representations provide stories which create the space for dialogue to evolve while participants share their stories behind the story being depicted. Data collection and analysis takes various forms and provides a valuable research method to actively engage in numerous sensitive issues under discussion. The use of photo-voice was demonstrated during this workshop giving us the opportunity to experience this research method for ourselves. Demonstrating this method first-hand highlighted particular elements pertaining to the camera technique, photo selection and ‘story’ behind the choice of photos. These elements further contributed to the development of self-directed learning and acknowledged the expressive potential of photographs related to fundamental but often sensitive issues. My research is positioned in human rights education in diversity (HREiD) which also recognizes very sensitive issues. In this breadth, I will most certainly consider a research methodology which emanates from visual participatory research in the future.