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  • Photography, Storytelling, and Community Connections: How to Develop a Photovoice Project

    A free Public Library Association webinar

  • Agenda

    • What Is Photovoice

    • Forced Migration Photovoice Project

    • Partnerships & Participants

    • How to Do Photovoice

    • Exhibit Opening

    • Developing and Marketing the Exhibit

    • From a Participant’s Perspective: Guest Speakers –Wamisho & TG

    • Resources

    • Contact Information

  • • Created by Dr. Caroline Wang and Dr. Mary Ann Burris in 1992

    • Participants are asked to record and reflect their personal and community strengths and concerns

    • Promotes critical dialogue and enhances knowledge about issues through group discussions of photographs

    • Reaches policy makers

    • This approach is used world-wide by many different groups

    What Is Photovoice?

  • Forced Migration Photovoice Project

    • Started in 2013

    • Grant-funded

    • Community history

    • Empowering story-telling

    • Out-reach initiative

  • Forced Migration Photovoice Project

    Ibrahim, My New Homeland — A Bright Present and a Hopeful Future, 2016

    Mario, Chicago at Night: Colorful Reflection of the City in the Chicago River, 2013

  • • Who are your participants? Who are your partners?

    • What is the focus of your project?

    • What types of cameras will you use?

    • How often will you meet? How long will each session be?

    • Where will you meet?

    • What will you do with the photos and stories?

    Forced Migration Photovoice Project

  • Partnerships & Participants Key Partners: • Community organizations: Our project grew out of an existing partnership between

    Chicago Public Library and Heartland Alliance • Photography experts: Invite photographer or photography student to give feedback and


    Who Participates: • Refugees, political asylum seekers and others forced to migrate due to persecution in

    their home country

    When selecting participants to join your project, consider the following: • Identify any barriers to participation • Create an environment that builds trust

  • Photovoice Introductory Session

    • Informed consent

    • Camera instruction and safety

    • Connect to community history

    • What do you want to name your project?

    Photographer, Maryan, 2013

    RLVCC 1.753 Summerdale residents in 1888

  • • Create a welcoming and safe atmosphere

    • Encourage descriptions and discussion among group members

    • Photovoice “PHOTO” questions (adapted for this project)

    • Describe your Picture.

    • What is Happening in your picutre?

    • Why did you take a photo Of this?

    • What does this photo Tell us about your life?

    • How does this photo provide us an Opportunity to learn about your

    experiences in Chicago?

    Photovoice Discussion Sessions

  • • Handling difficult topics that emerge

    • Timekeeping – set timer on phone

    • Make time to process with group leaders, incorporate input from


    • Photographer provides feedback on composition and strength of image

    • Ask each participant to select their favorite photo after each session to

    help them start thinking about which photo they will choose for the exhibit

    Photovoice Discussion Sessions

  • Photo Selection, Story Writing and Public Speaking

    • Ask lots of open-ended questions

    • Be supportive of all photos and stories to not influence their decision

    • Encourage them to write in the language they find it easiest to express their ideas

    • Practice public speaking before the exhibit opening

  • Exhibit Opening • Create a safe way for participants to share their

    story with the community

    • Conduct a dress rehearsal to prepare all speakers

    • Invite past participants to come early and meet the new participants

    • Acknowledge and thank past participants for attending in opening remarks

    • Celebrate!

  • Exhibit Opening

    • If journalists attend, ask them to check-in with you at event upon arrival.

    • For Thank You packets for participants, we include the following: • Thank you letter • Public transportation passes • Framed photo of their exhibit photo and

    a photo of them taken at the exhibit opening

  • World Refugee Day Celebration, Chicago, 2015 and 2016

    Community Art Exhibit at Alderman Pawar’s Office, 2017

    Developing and Marketing the Exhibit

  • Developing and Marketing the Exhibit

    Uncommon Ground on Devon Restaurant, 2018

  • Wamisho, The Beauty of Summer in Chicago, 2016

    Wamisho’s Photovoice Experience

  • TG’s Photovoice Experience

    TG, Behind the Building, 2014

  • Resources

    • Online Exhibit, Picturing a New Life in Chicago, Forced Migration Photovoice Project, Chicago Public Library

    • Video of 10 Composition Tips from Steve McMurray

    • Wang, Caroline and Mary Ann Burris. “Photovoice: Concept, Methodology, and Use for Participatory Needs Assessment.” Health Education & Behavior, vol. 24, no. 3, 1997, pp. 369-387. Accessed 25 Aug. 2018. 9%20methodology.pdf

  • Contact Information

    • Mary Black, MS, OTR/L Occupational Therapist, Heartland Alliance, Marjorie Kovler Center •

    • Nancy Joyce Callahan, Hospitality Training Program for Refugees and Asylees, Heartland Alliance, Refugee and Immigrant Community Services •

    • Julie Lynch, Librarian, Chicago Public Library, Sulzer Regional Library •