Photo-voice project, November 2013

Stories and photos are an important way to create dialogue and explore different perceptions on the places we live. In November 2013, University of Queensland student, Marian Reid, spent three weeks with MHI in Lospalos for her Masters in Communication for Social Change practicum. Her first project was to deliver a workshop for MHI staff in story gathering and photovoice. The training was designed to bring a new perspective to the research and documentation work that MHI has been doing, by training staff members in how to take powerful photos that tell a story, how to develop stories and how to construct interview questions that can shape a story. This approach was followed up with exercises in Photovoice as a way to facilitate story telling and the technique of using photos to explore community issues.

MHI staff spent three days practising their photo and interview skills, venturing into the community to gather a story on a community topic they found interesting. The stories that came back were then developed into slideshow digital stories using software Final Cut Pro. The stories were told in Tetum, and explored the boiled egg sellers of Lospalos, why women sell vegetables at the illegal market places, and how young women today balance traditional family work with going to school.

Marian then spent time collecting stories for MHI on the importance of cultural practice in development. She interviewed a cross-section of community members from Lospalos, including leaders, a cooperative innovator, dancers, a potter, a weaver, and MHI staff to learn more about how people place cultural practice in their lives at a time of transition and modernisation. The stories and photos will be shared through MHI over the coming months, and returned to the people of Lospalos who gave their time, personal insights and their knowledge.

Read more about Marian's project here

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