Applications of Photovoice: From Community Planning Initiatives to Water Literacy Studies

Wednesday 12:00-12:30pm PT / 1:00-1:30pm MT / 2:00-2:30pm CT / 3:00-3:30pm ET Online
Poster Session Part of Posters


Meghan McCarroll, University of Denver

Inspired by feminist theory, empowerment education, and social constructivism, photovoice is a research methodology aimed at documenting the lived experiences of participants through the art of photography. Photovoice participants' document their thoughts and perceptions about their surroundings through cameras, and in doing so reflect on place-based strengths and issues, engage in constructive conversations, and share their voices with local policymakers. The methodology was originally developed within the public health field but has expanded to local planning initiatives, research, and education. A review of photovoice projects across the world also reveals reoccurring contributions to the water management field. Specific projects have highlighted the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) field, promoted community participation in water resources management, and deconstructed the hydrosocial cycle for planning purposes. The value emerges from the inherent experiential nature of water and its frequent association with space and place.

The possibilities for using photovoice in environmental education and research are exciting. This poster shares how photovoice has been used in Denver, CO to represent youth opinions on neighborhood change and gentrification, addressing road safety along one of Denver's most dangerous streets, and providing community input into the development of neighborhood planning initiatives. Additionally, I highlight a proposed study to use photovoice in researching water literacy on a college campus. Water literacy, which refers to the application of one's water-related knowledge to create sustainable water behaviors, is influenced by associative learning processes that occur during life experiences. The project will reveal how young people, who are just starting to pay their own water bill, associate their experiences of water with their own water use. The results can then be used to shape not just how educators teach water topics aimed at increasing water literacy, but also how water managers communicate with their newest group of voters and decisionmakers.

Presentation Media

Applications of Photovoice Poster (Acrobat (PDF) 17.1MB Jul9 20)

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