PhotoVoice Exhibition Helps Celebrate 10 Years of CPPA
"Photovoice: Engaging Communities in Public Policy
Research through Photography"
Friday, October 3, 5-7 p.m.; Campus Center, 10th floorOn Friday, October 3 the Center for Public Policy and Administration will kick off its 10-year celebration with a reception. On view will be a PhotoVoice exhibition of photographs taken by Hungarian Roma (Gypsy) youth on issues of environment, health, and community development and by Williamsburg, MA fifth graders on experiences with locally grown food in the Fertile Ground school garden.
PhotoVoice research places cameras in the hands of community members so they can document their concerns and perspectives. It is one of several new methodologies under development in the Emerging Methods Workgroup at UMass Amherst. Krista Harper, assistant professor of anthropology and public policy, established the PhotoVoice lab earlier this year. The Fertile Ground project was developed and conducted by CPPA graduate student and Fertile Ground director, Catherine Sands, Prof. Harper, and Lee Ellen Reed, an undergraduate anthropology student.
The exhibition on view is a melding of two projects facilitated by Harper. The first, "Across the Bridge: Environment and Health in a Hungarian Roma Community," is a PhotoVoice exhibition of work by six young photographers springing from a research collaboration between Professor Harper, Judit Bari (community development facilitator, Pakiv European Roma Fund), and members of the Sajó River Association for Environment and Community Development, a grassroots Roma civil organization based in northern Hungary. Using the PhotoVoice method, a team of young people documented and discussed issues of environment and health in their community. This project mobilized the visual power of photos to encourage broader community participation, to network with other civil organizations, and to draw the attention and commitment of policymakers at all levels; the photos were presented to the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (UNCESCR) in Geneva in May 2007.
The second, "Snap Peas," exhibits photos taken by Western Massachusetts 5th graders through a partnership between the Williamsburg Elementary School and Fertile Ground. Fertile Ground is a grassroots initiative that empowers children and their families to make healthy life choices, teaching them how to grow and cook with fresh vegetables, and building communities one relationship at a time in school gardens and on farms. Undergraduate intern Lee Ellen Reed worked with Fertile Ground Director Catherine Sands and Professor Harper coaching fifth grade students on documenting and reporting about Fertile Ground garden and local foods educational programs during Spring of 2008. The students selected photos for display and discussion, based on their perceptions of the value of learning to grow and eat healthy whole foods.
The exhibition, Made possible by the Center for Public Policy and Administration, the College of Behavior and Social Sciences, the Sajo River Association for Environment and Community Development, the UMass Amherst PhotoVoice Research Lab, Fertile Ground, and the Williamsburg Elementary School, is free open to the public. Photos will be on display from noon, Friday 10/3 through until 7 p.m. Saturday, 10/4. For more information send an email to Krista Harper or call 413.577.0661.
Read more about the CPPA tenth anniversary.
September 29, 2008