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Using Photovoice & Participatory Video with Youth. Julie Tritz CYFAR Conference Baltimore, MD May 21, 2009. Workshop Overview. Photovoice & Participatory Video Background and history Methodology Practical considerations. Common Ground Stem from documentary productions

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Using photovoice participatory video with youth l.jpg

Using Photovoice & Participatory Video with Youth

Julie Tritz

CYFAR Conference

Baltimore, MD

May 21, 2009

Workshop overview l.jpg
Workshop Overview

  • Photovoice & Participatory Video

    • Background and history

    • Methodology

    • Practical considerations

Background photovoice participatory video l.jpg

Common Ground

Stem from documentary productions

Participatory in nature

Collective investigation, education and action

Participants behind the camera

Power of images

Political aspect



Time developed


‘Western’ vs. ‘Developing’ contexts

Background:Photovoice & Participatory Video

Overview of project l.jpg

European Union project

Implemented both methods over 2 years

Delivery mode: day camp

Two high school youth groups and one adult group

Two facilitators

Overview of Project


County Kerry

Photovoice l.jpg

Photovoice is a method that

enables people to define for

themselves and others,

including policy makers,

what is worth remembering and

what needs to be changed.

Caroline Wang


  • Objectives

    • Enable people to record and reflect their community’s strengths and concerns

    • Promote critical dialogue and knowledge

    • To reach community leaders and policy-makers

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First Phase

  • Conduct Training

    • Keep it simple

    • Learn by doing

  • Define Themes

  • Take Pictures

    • Set parameters on no. of photos taken, amount of time

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Second Phase

  • Select top 3-5 photographs

  • Utilize photographs for discussion

    • S = What do you SEE here?

    • H = What is really HAPPENING?

    • O = How does this relate to OUR lives?

    • W = Why does this problem or strength exist?

    • D = What can we DO about it?

  • Write short paragraph describing each photo

  • Identify issues, themes, theories that emerge from the photographs

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Cell phones and other

techonology are

important to us. Many

times adults do not

understand this. We

understand there are

times when we cannot

use them and that

they are a privilege

but we also

want people to respect

our interests.

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Transportation is huge

problem for us living

in a rural area. The bus

is ok but it doesn’t run

often nor is it on time.

The train is the same. We

love where we live but

getting around to do

things is difficult

without a car.

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Third Phase

  • Prepare exhibition

    • Decide on venue and who to invite

      • Individual to give reaction to exhibition or panel

    • Prepare photographs and mounts

    • Set up exhibition

  • Reach community leaders and policy-makers

    • Advocacy and raising awareness*

    • Tangible change

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Participatory Video

  • Participatory video:

    • Empowers – teaches soft skills and positive attitudes

    • Engages people in a fun and interactive way

    • Amplifies voices via sharing strengths and concerns

  • Involves three phases: pre-production, production and post-production

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First Phase

  • Embrace a spirit of learning as compared to a need for perfection

    • Keep instruction simple

  • Decide on genre – documentary or drama

  • Decide on the topic/ focus

  • Storyboard the Idea – identify who is doing what?

    • Sound

    • Interview/ Interviewee or Actors

    • Best to rotate roles

  • Shoot the video

    • Sound check (i.e. wind, busy road)

    • Batteries fully charged

    • Make sure you’ve hit ‘record’

    • If 2nd camera, film ‘behind the scenes’

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Second Phase

Two Options

  • Paper edit

    • Group looks at the footage and decides what to keep/ delete

    • If doable, review footage immediately – builds ownership and interest.

  • Group edits around a computer with appropriate software

    • Positive: inclusive; lives up to participatory nature of the method. Youth exposed to editing software

    • Down-side: time-consuming

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Third Phase

  • Screening the video(s)

    • Consider the audience

      • Community leaders

      • Politicians

      • Board of Directors

      • Family and friends

    • How many screenings and where

    • Encourage participants to organize and emcee the screening

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Practical Considerations

  • Group Size & Facilitators

  • Useful Tools/ Activities

  • Costs and Funding

  • Equipment

  • Editing

  • Exhibitions & Screenings

  • Power and Ethics

  • Planning a day camp

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Group Size & Facilitators

  • Ideal group size is 10-12

  • Two facilitators

    • Project management

      • Pre-development meetings important

    • Technical side

      • See if technical school/ university has students

    • Thorough understanding of participatory research

    • Safety

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Activities to Get Started

Name Game

Bring in favorite photo/ short family video

Disappearing Game

Tools to Develop Themes/ Topic

Community Mapping Exercise

Neighborhood/ Suburb/ Town/ County

Discuss strengths/ weaknesses


Interview one another with set questions

Other activities for camp setting


Only themselves

Using anything but themselves

First memories

Favorite space


Team-building/ energizers

A fieldtrip to a local photographic exhibition

Useful Tools

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What type of equipment to use l.jpg



Very accessible

Limited number of photographs

Low cost/ time consuming

Anticipation of ‘waiting’


High quality


Many photographs


Participatory Video

Equipment checklist

Mini DV camera

Microphone (s)


Extra batteries if no electrical outlet

Flipchart paper for Storyboard

Rain location, if outside

What Type of Equipment to Use?

Editing l.jpg


No editing

Adobe Photoshop or other editing program

Participatory Video

Facilitate a paper edit

View footage and group decides what to keep/ delete

Chooses background music and other graphics

Editing Suite


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Exhibitions & Screenings

  • Discuss potential change early on

    • Set realistic expectations

  • Encourage involvement of community leaders at early stage

    • Give clear instructions as what you’d like invited guests to do

  • Prepare group for questions and responses by audience

  • Involve youth in preparation

  • Determine your venue(s)

    • Equipment needs – projector, microphone

Funding l.jpg

Rent vs. Purchase Equipment

Once off project, a pilot project or long-term

Spent $1,000 on four digital cameras with memory sticks

Area business - sponsor a camera

Rented video equipment


Flip chart paper, paper, pens, construction paper, notebooks

Recording tapes, DVDs, extra batteries

Exhibition & Screenings

Size of exhibition/ length of video

Spent $1,000 for 50 photographs – foam mounted

Copies of DVDs



What to charge participants?


Adobe Youth Voices


Evaluation l.jpg

  • Evaluation of the process not strong

  • The three phases and overall guidance; participants asked:

    • What would I not change

    • What I would change

    • Discussion points

  • Open to other methods

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Power & Ethics

  • What responsibilities does one have when using a camera?

  • What is an acceptable way to approach someone when you want to photograph or video them?

  • What types of situations or images would you want to avoid capturing?

  • What happens to the photographs/ videos after the project?

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Points to Ponder

  • Gaining consent/ permission

  • Intrusion into one’s private space

  • True but embarrassing facts

  • Placing someone in a false light

  • Making profit at someone else’s expense

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Planning A Day Camp

  • Hit the ground running

    • Have a Plan B i.e. what if it rains the week of your camp

    • Hold informational meeting prior to camp to discuss objectives and expectations plus logistics

    • Limit technical training; maximize ‘learn by doing’

  • Complete the first two phases during camp

    • Exhibition/ screening will require additional meetings

  • Keep participants in mind

    • Length and timing of activities

    • Day camp: Give ‘homework’

  • Schedule breaks, energizers and keep it fun

  • Factor in evaluation time

  • Remember safety and ethical concerns

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Additional Resources



  • (NGO in Oxford, England doing Participatory Video)

  • Kay, A. (2000) Art and community development: The role the arts have in regenerating communities. Community Development Journal, 35 (4): 414-424.

  • Wang, C.C., M.A. Burris, and X. Yueping (1996) Chinese village women as visual anthropologists: A participatory approach to reaching policymakers, Social Science Medicine 42 (10): 1391-1400.

  • Wang, C.C. (1999) Photovoice: A participatory action research strategy applied to women’s health, Journal of Women’s Health 8 (2): 185-192.

  • Wang, C.C., J.L. Cash, and L.S. Powers (2000) Who knows the streets as well as the homeless? Promoting personal and community action through Photovoice, Health Promotion Practice 1 (1): 81-89.

  • Wang, C.C. and Y.A. Redwood-Jones (2001). Photovoice ethics: Perspectives from Flint Photovoice, Health Education & Behavior 28 (5): 560-572.

  • Wang, C.C., S. Morrel-Samuels, P.M. Hutchison, L. Bell, R.M. Pestronk (2004a) Flint Photovoice: Community Building Amount Youths, Adults and Policy-makers, American Journal of Public Health 94 (6): 911-914.

  • White, S. (Ed) (2003) Participatory video: Images that transform and empower, (pp. 63-101). New Delhi: Sage Publications.

  • Google ‘participatory video’ for additional resources.

Thank you l.jpg

Thank you


Julie Tritz

[email protected]

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“Picture This: A Snapshot of Health in California”courtesy

  • Location – Co. Contra Costa, San Francisco Bay area

  • Who was Involved?

    • Contra Costa County Health Department

    • 60 participants recruited from selected areas

  • Objective

    • Enable people to depict their perceptions of their strengths and concerns

    • Increase their collective knowledge through group discussion

    • Educate other community leaders about issues that emerged

Slide43 l.jpg

Itmay not look like they serve great food here, but they do.

You can come here and see the same old faces. It is a community spot where people get together and respect each other.

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This is a picture of a park behind my house. I don't trust my kids

going there. There are bottles and trash. The signs went up last summer, supposedly the city has no more money to take care of the park.

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People died on this highway–this is Highway 4. Last week a

mother and her little boy got killed. This is a major highway here and the city is too cheap to make it two lanes each way. Someone died here because someone won't fix the road.

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What did they do with photos?

  • Education/ Disseminate

    • Community health fair

    • Exhibition at the Co. Health Department

    • Invited exhibition at state-wide conference