Session: Engaging Youth in Photovoice Methods: Minimizing Harm and Maximizing Benefits (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

141 Engaging Youth in Photovoice Methods: Minimizing Harm and Maximizing Benefits

Friday, January 13, 2023: 3:45 PM-5:15 PM
Encanto A, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
Cluster: Adolescent and Youth Development
Symposium Organizer:
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 “voice� 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 participants’ 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
Youth Cultivating Change: Photovoice with a Community Agriculture Program
Aishia Brown, PhD, University of Louisville; Rebecka Bloomer, PhD, University of Louisville; Shakeyra Elmore, University of Louisville
"Not Strong Enough to Protect Children": Using Photovoice to Identify Systems Risks Among Youth Orphaned Due to HIV/AIDS in Vietnam
Lesley Harris, MSW, PhD, University of Louisville; Rebecka Bloomer, PhD, University of Louisville; Sara Williams, MSSW, University of Louisville; Thang Nguyen, MDS, Cooperation and Development (CESVI); Victory Osezua, PhD, University of Louisville; Doroty Sato, University of Louisville; Kyoungmee Byun, phd; Marion Hambrick, University of Louisville
Creating Youth-Adult Partnerships for Critical Consciousness Building in Ost Spaces: A Photovoice Project
Rebecka Bloomer, PhD, University of Louisville; Aishia Brown, PhD, University of Louisville; Sara Williams, MSSW, University of Louisville; Jessica Callahan, BS, University of Louisville
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