The New Roots Photovoice Gallery is the culmination of a collaborative research project between the International Rescue Committee and its participant “co-researchers” in the New Roots program. Through their own photographs, refugee and immigrant farmers explored the question “How has New Roots affected my life?” co-researchers then collaboratively synthesized hundreds of images into the most important and valuable themes and their associated stories. A final exhibit of the artwork and captions will be on view at the CitySpace Gallery (100 5th Street on the Downtown Mall) beginning Tuesday, January 22 until Wednesday, January 30.
“I gain so much joy working with new friends whom I now consider my family,” says Elizabeth Ndolo, a Photovoice co-researcher, reflecting on the impact the program has had for her. Co-researchers, community partners and other stakeholders meet for a private viewing of the gallery. The goal is to provide the IRC New Roots program with insight into their work through a participatory and community driven process using the universal language of photographs. The project is made possible by the NoVo Foundation and the UVA Humanitarian Collaborative.
What is Photovoice?
Photovoice is a participatory action research (PAR) method that involves individuals taking photographic images and participating in group dialogue as a means to deepen their understanding of a community project, issue or concern. The visual images and accompanying stories are the tools used to reach policy and decision-makers through community project sessions, websites, public exhibits and other outlets. It was first pioneered in community-based participatory research with marginalized populations in the mid-90s by Caroline Wang and Mary Ann Burris. In contrast to "photo elicitation," an approach where interviewers use photos as symbolic reference points to guide discussion, Photovoice puts cameras in the hands of people, who take photographs of their lives to capture both positive and negative aspects of their lives and experiences. These images combine with narratives to share points of view which are often hidden or underrepresented. Participants become “co-researchers” whose images build the context and set the focal point for discussion.
Follow the IRC’s New Roots Program on Facebook to learn more about their work.