Using photovoice to develop critical awareness of tobacco environments for marginalized youth in California
Dr. Alfredo Ortiz Aragón writes: “This article clearly achieves its set purpose of going beyond reporting findings from a PhotoVoice project, to shedding more light on the process through which participants develop critical awareness—drawing significantly from the participants own accounts of their transformative experiences. Echoing comments from one of our reviewers, the examples presented clearly supported the participants’ experiences in increasing their critical awareness of surroundings, negative perceptions of the community, and other key themes that emerged. The document flow was particularly strong—from the introduction, project context setting, explanation of the PhotoVoice Process, results, reflection and discussion. This article really makes PV accessible as a pragmatic practice that can be very effective when used wisely.”
Photovoice is used widely for engaging community members in action research aimed at reducing health inequities. Photovoice methodology can help to raise participants’ critical awareness regarding the root causes of community health problems, thereby encouraging them to take action to address these root causes. We report on our experiences using photovoice as part of a tobacco prevention project with multi-ethnic youths in an under-resourced Northern California community. Through an iterative cycle of action and reflection, facilitated by staff from academic and community partner agencies, photovoice activities enabled the youths to connect smoking behaviors they observed at their school with low student morale and student officials’ lack of engagement regarding students’ tobacco use. The photovoice process helped youth participants to develop an action plan, which involved raising critical awareness among their peers and school staff through workshops and strategic meetings. Despite challenges, photovoice was an effective way to engage youths in community-based research and to foster their sense of collective efficacy in addressing structural determinants of inequities.
We invite you to learn more about this experience by reading our article HERE. Free 30-day access is available for this article beginning 8 January 2018.
After you’ve had a chance to read this piece, please share your thoughts, ideas, or experiences with our community in the comments below so we can continue this discussion!
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