McCauley Photovoice Project
Exploring the neighbourhood through photography.
Photovoice is a social tool that is used globally to let communities explore the physical space in which they live, through photography. Community members’ photos are curated around a theme and are used to document the reality, the joy, and the challenges that they face. Each photo is a starting point for participants to talk about what they were thinking when they took the picture. Dialogue starts and from there, common narratives arise. This data is used to help in policy making decisions that directly affect the community.
Since becoming the Neighbourhood Connector for McCauley, I have spoken with many residents asking their views of our community. A consistent theme I hear, is that we feel we don’t have a voice in the things that happen in or to our community, and we don’t have a voice in how we are perceived by the broader community. For anyone who feels that way, Photovoice is an excellent way to articulate and celebrate what brings us joy, but also an opportunity to discuss what causes discomfort and what can be done to bring about positive change.
On May 6, the partners responsible for initiating this project invited the community to celebrate “Our McCauley” at the Edmonton Intercultural Center (old McCauley school). Many residents came out to enjoy games, story circles, and guided tours, as well as eat delicious cultural food, make friends, and also importantly, learn about Photovoice and how we as residents could use this tool to connect with and advocate for our neighbourhood and the community groups within it.
Throughout the summer, a group of residents, including myself and my nine-year-old daughter, met at the Edmonton Intercultual Centre. After eating delicious food and discussing our theme for the session, we explored the neighbourhood armed with digital cameras and curious eyes.
During the first session, we were encouraged to photograph whatever stood out and resonated with us. The session after, we captured images that brought us joy and in the session after that, we snapped pictures that brought us discomfort.
After discussing our images, we curated the the collection down to a series of photos (with photographers’ captions) that most resonated with our group. The gallery was displayed at an outdoor exhibition at McCauley’s Fall Fiesta on September 16. We asked viewers to interact with each picture and put a coloured sticker on it, corresponding to how it made them feel – either it brought them joy, discomfort, or to designate if it was an issue that needed positive change.
The photos we are displaying in this article were the most interacted with, and the ones that we wanted to share with you today. How do they make you feel? Do any of the images resonate with you? We want to hear your thoughts!
Photovoice is an ongoing project and we want as much community input as possible. If you have ever been discouraged because you didn’t know how to contribute to the community conversation, this is the opportunity you have been waiting for! We are holding “pop-up” Photovoice sessions that anyone can participate in! You don’t need photography experience – just a willingness to share your perspective. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
We are also holding an ongoing Photovoice challenge for readers of Boyle McCauley News. Send in your HIGH RESOLUTION photos sharing your story, along with a caption as to what you were thinking when you took the photo. Keep in mind that if there are visible faces in your photos you must have the subjects’ written consent to have their images shared. We will be selecting a photo to be featured in the upcoming issue of Boyle McCauley News, and the residents whose photo is selected will receive a $20 gift certificate to a local business!
To share your thoughts on these photos or to submit your own photos, please email email@example.com.
Here are some examples of photos showing Joy and Discomfort and Change. Community members are encouraged to interpret the photos and draw their own conclusions from them.