In the years since PhotoVoice first became a charity, the context we’re in has changed dramatically. The landscape for how charities work and operate both in the UK and internationally, the way funding is secured, even the way photographs are taken and shared is dramatically different to how it was in 2003.
Now, as PhotoVoice approaches its 15th year, the team, board, our friends and advisors have all contributed to a new strategic direction. We believe this will strengthen and secure PhotoVoice’s unique position in the charity sector, as well as encourage and promote the ethical use of photography for positive social change.
From 1st April 2017, we have been working to achieve a new vision and mission. Our vision is for a world in which everybody has the opportunity to represent themselves and tell their own story.
Our mission is promote the ethical use of photography for positive social change, through delivering innovative participatory photography projects. By working in partnership with organisations, communities, and individuals worldwide, we will build the skills and capacity of underrepresented or at risk communities, creating new tools of self-advocacy and communication.
PhotoVoice is a world-expert in the use of participatory photography. Our projects have delivered genuine change across the globe throughout our history, and we will continue to do so.
While we are the experts in our methodology, our organisationals partners are the experts in issues or the communities we are working in. Crucially, individuals are the experts in their own stories and circumstances. By bringing this expertise together through our projects, and through genuine partnership, we will collectively address the challenges and issues that we all share a stake in.
Our new strategic direction will be based on three areas of work:
1) Developing projects using participatory photography
We’ve a rich portfolio of projects in our history, which you can read all about online. We’re going to continue to expand our methodology, its use, and how it can be used to achieve positive social change through a variety of projects, with demonstrable and positive social change as the outcome.
By social change, we mean more than just helping to build skills in photography and communication in individuals. Though this is at the heart of our approach, we want to design and deliver projects that put the right people in the room (virtual or literal) to understand what needs to change, who can deliver that change, and how individual perspectives – shared through photography – can contribute to that.
2) Promoting the ethical use of photography
Many NGOs and other media sources are using photography well, but some continue to use images which may miscommunicate, damage or even exploit the communities and individuals they are working with. We will celebrate where photography is being used responsibly, and challenge where it’s being done less so. We also want to share the stories of others – individuals and organisations – who are using photography for social change, so others can be as inspired as we are about their work.
3) Sharing our expertise with others
We run a very popular and acclaimed public training course, and increasingly help organisations to develop their own participatory projects. We’re going to expand this engagement with new academic partnerships, consultancy services, and new resources for members and others to develop their own ethical and participatory photography projects.
We’ll be communicating more about these approaches over the coming weeks and months, and all of us in the team are excited about this streamlined approach. Our members will benefit from new exclusive material and discounts (so why not join today?), and we will be announcing new partnerships and projects as they are developed.
So this is PhotoVoice – we believe in the power of photography for positive social change. We hope you’ll be part of our journey.
Featured Image: © Kate Watson 2017 | PhotoVoice | Zimbabwe Red Cross | ‘Picturing Progress – Food Security & Livelihoods’ | Zimbabwe