KOTA KINABALU 30 January 2013 – Photovoice workshop was conducted for the first time in Sabah and perhaps in Malaysia by Dr. Paul Porodong and AP Dr. Kntayya Mariappan at Universiti Malaysia Sabah’s campus.

Photovoice is a method mostly used in the field of community development, public health, and education which combines photography with grassroots social action. Participants are asked to represent their community or point of view by taking photographs, discussing them together, developing narratives to go with their photos, and conducting outreach or other action.

It is often used among marginalized people, and is intended to give insight into how they conceptualize their circumstances and their hopes for the future. As a form of community consultation, photovoice attempts to bring the perspectives of those “who lead lives that are different from those traditionally in control of the means for imaging the world” into the policy-making process. It is also a response to issues raised over the authorship of representation of communities.

Photovoice, also known as Participatory Photography, was developed by Caroline C. Wang of the University of Michigan, and Mary Ann Burris, program officer for women’s health at the Ford Foundation, at the time headquartered in Beijing, China.

In 1992, Wang and Burris created “Photo Novella,” what is now known as Photovoice, as a way to enable rural women of Yunnan Province, China, to influence the policies and programs that affected them. They report being strongly influenced by the efforts of Nina Wallerstein and Edward Bernstein who had adapted the ideas of Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed to health promotion and education. It has since been used among refugees in San Diego seeking in-person medical interpretation options, homeless adults in Ann Arbor, Michigan, community health workers and teachers in rural South Africa by Dr. Claudia Mitchell et al., and with brain injury survivors by Dr. Laura S. Lorenz of the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. Photovoice is often used as a tool to engage children and youth, giving them an opportunity to communicate their concerns and coping strategies to policymakers and service providers

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