Global Public Health
Volume 11, Issue 5-6, 2016
Special Issue: Participatory Visual Methodologies in Global Public Health
Participatory visual methodologies in global public health
Claudia M. Mitchell & Marni Sommer
This Introduction serves to map out a range of participatory visual approaches, as well as critical issues related to the use of participatory visual methodologies in global health. In so doing, it offers both an overview of these innovative practices in global health and a consideration of some of the key questions that researchers might ask themselves in design and implementation.
Research as intervention? Exploring the health and well-being of children and youth facing global adversity through participatory visual methods
Miranda D’Amico, Myriam Denov, Fatima Khan, Warren Linds & Bree Akesson
Global health research typically relies on the translation of knowledge (from health professionals to the community) and the dissemination of knowledge (from research results to the wider public). However, Greenhalgh and Wieringa [2011. Is it time to drop the ‘knowledge translation’ metaphor? A critical literature review. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 104(12), 501–509. doi:10.1258/jrsm.2011.110285] suggest ‘that while “translation” is a widely used metaphor in medicine, it constrains how we conceptualize and study the link between knowledge and practice’ (p. 501). Often the knowledge garnered from such research projects comes from health professionals rather than reflecting the lived experiences of people and communities. Likewise, there has been a gap in ‘translating’ and ‘disseminating’ the results of participatory action research projects to policymakers and medical practitioners. This paper will look at how using participatory visual methodologies in global health research with children and youth facing global adversity incorporates the multiple functions of their lived realities so that research becomes a means of intervention. Drawing from a literature review of participatory visual methods as media, content and processes of global health research, this paper raises practical, theoretical, and ethical questions that arise from research as intervention. The paper concludes by exploring what lessons emerge when participatory visual methodologies are integrated into global health research with children and youth facing global adversity.
From informed consent to dissemination: Using participatory visual methods with young people with long-term conditions at different stages of research
Cecilia Vindrola-Padros, Ana Martins, Imelda Coyne, Gemma Bryan & Faith Gibson
Research with young people suffering from a long-term illness has more recently incorporated the use of visual methods to foster engagement of research participants from a wide age range, capture the longitudinal and complex factors involved in young people’s experiences of care, and allow young people to express their views in multiple ways. Despite its contributions, these methods are not always easy to implement and there is a possibility that they might not generate the results or engagement initially anticipated by researchers. We hope to expand on the emerging discussion on the use of participatory visual methods by presenting the practical issues we have faced while using this methodology during different stages of research: informed assent/consent, data collection, and the dissemination of findings. We propose a combination of techniques to make sure that the research design is flexible enough to allow research participants to shape the research process according to their needs and interests.
Beyond engagement in working with children in eight Nairobi slums to address safety, security, and housing: Digital tools for policy and community dialogue
Claudia Mitchell, Fatuma Chege, Lucy Maina & Margot Rothman
This article studies the ways in which researchers working in the area of health and social research and using participatory visual methods might extend the reach of participant-generated creations such as photos and drawings to engage community leaders and policy-makers. Framed as going ‘beyond engagement’, the article explores the idea of the production of researcher-led digital dialogue tools, focusing on one example, based on a series of visual arts-based workshops with children from eight slums in Nairobi addressing issues of safety, security, and well-being in relation to housing. The authors conclude that there is a need for researchers to embark upon the use of visual tools to expand the life and use of visual productions, and in particular to ensure meaningful participation of communities in social change.