Evaluating Pedagogy and Praxis in Participatory Visual Methods for Social Justice: A Facilitated Workshop
Facilitator: Sarah Switzer, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, Canada
Visual methods are increasingly used to explore issues related to social justice. Given their focus on the co-production of meaning, researcher self-reflexivity and the ethics of representation - participatory visual methods (PVMs) are often evoked as having a strong application for social justice research. However, while literature exists on the overall design of PVM projects, the specificities of what happens within and across PVM workshops and the role of the facilitator in shaping projects is seldom explored or critically evaluated. This is particularly important given projects’ scope and breadth, especially in the context of social justice research where the goal of projects is often to intervene in larger systems of domination, and interrupt power dynamics between researchers and community members.
Using photovoice as a case study, this workshop will invite participants to self-reflexively explore the pedagogical structure of our projects, and the ways in which the facilitated design of sessions may or may not serve larger social justice aims. For example, how are sessions designed in ways to actively encourage participants in the co-production of meaning at all stages of the project, from design to dissemination? How does the way in which we approach photography as a creative practice pre-figure the ways in which communities may be able to represent themselves? How does the design of prompts shape the process?
Through critical discussion, we aim to map beginning points to a larger framework for critically assessing participatory visual research.