Using photography with staff and pupils of One Arm Point Community School, in Adyaloon, Australia. The project helped key community members to use photography and digital storytelling to share their perspectives with their school and the wider community.
Lauren Parr and Tom Elkins
‘Our World Now’ is a project developed with PhotoVoice and Curtin University, which took place in January and June 2023.
The project looked at the context and circumstances of children attending One Arm Point Community School, working with community members to design and deliver a programme of ongoing engagement with pupils and embed new ways of exploring and communicating their perspectives. The project took place over two trips, one to explore how the programme could run, and the second to provide stakeholder engagement and training in participatory photography for key community members.
Access to culturally appropriate health and wellbeing digital learning resources and online participation is needed to ensure that the children of the Bardi Jawi community of One Arm Point in Ardyaloon in Western Australia’s Kimberley region are included in our digital society. The increasing digitisation of essential health and education services means these children need to have the skills to thrive in a digital world.
Working in partnership over the past three years, Dell Technologies, Curtin University, the Department of Education and the Ardyaloon community have launched Asia Pacific’s first-ever Solar Community Hub to address this need. Made from refurbished shipping containers, equipped with Dell technology and solar powered, the Hub and this PhotoVoice Project will assist the Bardi Jawi community of One Arm Point and the children at the school to have a genuine say in the design and delivery of learning resources to improve their wellbeing.
Telethon 7 funded Curtin University to deliver a participatory photography program with the Bardi Jawi community of OAP and school. The program aims to improve health outcomes by strengthening social and emotional wellbeing through creativity and cultural connectedness. Through partnering with PhotoVoice, areas for intervention that foster social inclusion to improve health and wellbeing are identified. The program will increase social connection and inclusivity, and, for students, reduces school absenteeism.
An initial period of consultancy took place in January 2023, which help to plan the ‘on country’ engagement, which subsequently took place in June 2023. During this second phase, community meetings and workshops took place over a one week period with staff and key community members, who contributed to a new resource on using participatory photography in the Community School. It also worked on the design of workshops which would contribute to a wider research and engagement programme, and finally delivered a community exhibition which showcased images prompted by the theme ‘a story about your community you’d like to share’.
These images were presented at an assembly within the community school, subsequently attended by a range of classes. This gave researchers the opportunity to share the future plans for using participatory photography in the upcoming research activities with students. A further exhibition of the images was held for other members of the community, who were able to take copies of the participatory photography practice guide which was developed through this project.
All attendees of the workshops strongly agreed that they enjoyed the workshops, and all stated that they either agreed or strongly agreed that the they were able to better support students to take photographs and write captions which help them tell a story.
We acknowledge the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the lands on which we work. We give respect to the Elders – past, present and emerging – and through them to all Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We honour their continuing connection with land, place, waters and community. We celebrate these shared places of learning.
The ‘Our World Now’ practice guide is available here (PDF 8.5MB).
“The facilitators were fantastic, understanding and knowledgeable. I loved how everyone was encouraged to share and a safe space was fostered. Food was also great”
“I have always wanted to do photography, always. My whole life I have had an interest in it. I am so proud seeing my work on the walls and so amazed I have a camera to take and capture so many more comments. Wow, just wow”
“Photography is something anyone can do and probably the best way to demonstrate imagination in living colour. It’s for all ages and I believe the youth will really benefit from being able to not only build skills, but engage on country with the places they love.”
Header Image : © Chichi 2023 | PhotoVoice | Curtin University | ‘Our World Now’ | Australia