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Photovoice--Letting communities tell their stories

PhotoVoice’s allows everyone the opportunity to speak out and be heard. It engages people who know communities best and creates a dialogue for community engagement and cohesion

Photo of Alexis Cooke
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Photo voice is a participatory method that is commonly used in public health, and community development that allows people to represent their communities through pictures. It simply involves placing cameras in the hands of people so they can explore and share their perspectives on family, community, and their futures.This method has been used in various different countries and can be done with video, pictures, painting and even comics. In this way communities are able to create their own narratives and are able to tell their own stories, this empowers people and brings communities together.

As Singapore is growing and changing people can create images of their communities--the good, the bad, the new and create their own narratives. Theses images can then be used to create a community dialogue, engage with policy makers and spark change.

Photovoice: "is not simply the shuffling of information around, but entails people reflecting on their own community portraits and voices and on what questions can be linked into more general constructs or can be seen to be interrelated. It is a method that enables people to define for themselves and others, including policy makers, what is worth remembering and what needs to be changed" (
This can be especially important for communities trying to combine old and new across many generations

An example of photo voice is a project called Street Vision in Vietnam. Vietnam and  Singapore both are dealing with combining new and old and issues of rapid urbanization and a growing population of youth. Street Vision was a project that allowed street youth in Vietnam to tell their own stories so they did not become invisible. (

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Photo of Meena Kadri

Great stuff, Alexis! I've long been a fan of the Photo Voice method for research – so it's great to see your example from Vietnam of how it might empower locals and think about how it could be adapted and used elsewhere.