Friday, January 13, 2023: 3:45 PM-5:15 PM
Encanto A, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
Cluster: Adolescent and Youth Development
Rebecka Bloomer, PhD, University of Louisville
The social justice youth development (SJYD) framework pivots away from attempts to create a generalizable approach for working with all youth, instead focusing on young people experiencing inequities and identity-based oppression. SJYD emphasizes the need for youth to understand root problems that undergird inequities and seeks opportunities for collective action toward change. Youth development occurs within broader social, environmental, and political contexts that impact the youth development process. SJYD centers youth voice, youth empowerment, and the establishment of equity-focused, non-hierarchal relationships through youth-adult partnerships (Y-APs). Y-APs engage youth and adults in democratic, equitable relationships focused on social action. Community-based participatory research methods (CBPR) require participants and researchers to work together to define a problem in the community, investigate the problem, and create and carry out solutions. Photovoice (PV) is a CBPR method often employed with groups facing inequities stemming from historical exclusion rooted in identity-based political and social marginalization. Historical exclusion of those with marginalized identities further restricted available social and political capital. PV provides space for participants with limited Ã¢â¬ÅvoiceÃ¢â¬ï¿½ to bring attention to important issues within their lives or communities by taking pictures and engaging in critical reflection and dialogue. In accordance with SJYD, PV hinges on fostering democratic relationships, critical consciousness growth, and social action for policy change. Y-APs between academic researchers and youth collaborators serve to continually assess potential power imbalances and maintain youth voices within each stage of the PV project. A primary goal for researchers engaging in PV is to create environments that amplify participant voice concerning their perceptions and concerns and subsequently disseminate findings with people in power through exhibits. This symposium focuses on investigating how PV techniques may be implemented with youth possessing historically excluded identities or facing identity-based oppression in a manner that honors participantsÃ¢â¬â¢ experiences and voices, minimizes risks, and maximizes potential benefits. Each of the included PV projects were embedded within existing youth development programs serving youth between the ages of 11-20 years old at nonprofit organizations in the United States and Vietnam. Researchers approached PV projects as supplemental programming with youth participants, using aspects of SJYD and youth development principles to create Y-APs. The research teams emphasized youth engagement, equity, and nurturing critical consciousness development throughout the collaborative process. Despite this intentional emphasis, researchers experienced challenges within their respective projects related to critical consciousness building. PV conceptualizes critical consciousness development through participants processing pictures in group dialogue. This conceptualization assumes that the opportunity to engage with others about their experiences fosters broader understanding of underlying systemic-level factors and fails to account for the impacts of power and privilege around knowledge creation. Furthermore, the time allotted for the picture taking and dialogue portion of PV may be insufficient to properly engage collaborators. Participants identified systemic and structural-level factors impacting their experiences with oppression (e.g. racism, stigma). Even so, youth proposed change through primarily micro-level change efforts. Without progression in critical consciousness towards global awareness and critical action, PV may be harmful and unethical practice.
* noted as presenting author
See more of: Symposia