Participatory photography workshop in Sierra Leone for SLURC 12-16 February, 2018
Part of the role of the DPU Media & Communications Officer is to further embed the use of digital media in research and teaching. One aspect of this has been to utilise participatory communications for social change methodologies as part of action-learning initiatives. To date, DPU Media and Communications Officer, Alexander Macfarlane, has been involved in two workshops that have used participatory video (in Rio de Janeiro and Lagos). This workshop would be an opportunity to build on this experience with video, and to apply it to photography as a participatory communications tool. This short activity therefore fits within the wider communication based activities that the DPU has facilitated in the past and hopes towards building a methodology in this field.
There is great potential for a greater inclusion of photographic and other visual materials in contributing to ongoing activities of the Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre (SLURC). The concept of the workshop would be for Alexander Macfarlane to work closely with SLURC’s Communication Officer (Alfred Sinnah) and former SLURC intern (Alexander Stone) to undertake a participatory photography engagement with a small group of participants from two Freetown communities.
The workshop would aim to sit alongside the ongoing SLURC research on ‘The Role of Action Area Plans for Inclusive City-Making in Freetown’, and will attempt to explore the issues identified by participants from two selected communities in which the research is being undertaken. Workshop participants would use photography as a tool to reveal the experiences, needs and aspirations of the communities, with the intention to consider the way in which images can be used as a way of doing a diagnosis, and how photographs can capture challenges that could then feed into neighbourhood plans. The photographic task undertaken by participants would therefore relate to the diagnosis phase of research project, and the visual outputs could help to trigger dialogue during the main diagnosis.
A further aspect of the workshop would be to identify existing networks of people living in communities that are using media and communications, such as citizens’ journalists. The workshop would therefore act as a community communication diagnosis in order to identify existing communication networks in the communities, and to consider how photography could fit into these.
The workshop would culminate in an exhibition of the photographs taken by participants, as well as a panel discussion in which members of the mainstream media would be invited to participate. The panel discussion would reflect on the way in which the informal settlements of Freetown are portrayed through the mainstream media and the influence this in turn has on city-wide planning process in order to better represent the needs and aspirations of residents of informal settlements. There would therefore be a space for the photographer participants and representatives from the mainstream media to together reflect on the power of imagery and the possibility of community-based photography or media initiatives in challenging dominant narratives and mainstream media discourse.
The workshop would involve around ten participants who would ideally have an interest in learning basic visual literacy and photography skills, as well as a desire to learn how to use photography as a documentary tool. Participants would be selected from two communities in which the research project exploring the role of action area plans will be taking place.
Learning Objective 1
To build the capacity of SLURC Communication Officer to continue to use photography as a communication tool, and to consider how participatory photography and other communication for social change methodologies can be utilised as a research activity.
Learning Objective 2
Participants will develop a stronger visual literacy and basic photographic skills in order to consider how they could continue to use the medium to identify community issues, challenge representations and to influence processes of social change.
Learning Objective 3
To build the capacity for the DPU Media & communications Officer in order to continue to develop a DPU communication for social change methodology, and thus feeding into future research, engagements and teaching. The workshop would therefore supplement previous engagements in Rio de Janeiro and Lagos.
SLURC participation in the international conference on urban risk and development stakeholder meeting: Data, knowledge and capacity.
- ABOUT US
- Urban Health (Scoping of Urban Health Systems in Freetown Informal Settlements)
- Urban Livelihoods and the City Economy (Urban Livelihoods and Gender in Freetown Informal Settlement)
- Urban Vulnerability and Resilience (Urban Humanitarian Response and Empowerment)
- Urban Vulnerability and Resilience (Profiling Urban Risk)
- RESOURCE UNIT
- Six interns from Sierra Leone join the DPU/SLURC