A picture is worth a thousand words — especially if it gives a voice to someone who might not be heard otherwise.
Robert Henry, Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Calgary, is speaking at Brock University Monday, Jan. 15 to share his experience of how photography and photovoice methods have shaped his research on Indigenous street gangs.
Photovoice is becoming a frequently used research method that engages research participants by having them document their experiences from their own perspectives through photographs.
A Métis scholar originally from Prince Albert, Sask., Henry uses photovoice to explore the ways in which Indigenous men and women engage in street lifestyles, where, as he describes it, “the street gang becomes a site of survivance, challenging settler colonialism.”
“Photovoice is a grassroots approach to photography that empowers participants to share information and tell their stories through pictures,” says Nicole Goodman, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and organizer of the speaker series in which Henry will present.
Goodman says there are many benefits to this type of research method, ranging from increased awareness and reflection for participants to possible policy influence and change.
“The impacts and benefits are bigger than those that often result from traditional social science research methods, which typically solely benefit the agenda of the researcher,” she says.
Henry, whose research areas also include Indigenous masculinities, Indigenous and critical research methodologies, and youth mental health, frequently works closely with community partners. A collection of narratives from his PhD research, Brighter Days Ahead, was published in 2014.
“Henry’s use of photovoice in the context of Indigenous gangs is community-based and participatory, treating men and women previously involved in these organizations as equal research partners instead of research subjects,” Goodman says.
“Social science can learn a lot from this approach to research.”
Henry’s talk, part of the Department of Political Science Speaker Series, is jointly sponsored by the Departments of Political Science, History and Sociology, and McMaster University’s Indigenous Research Institute.
What: Re”imagin”ing Indigenous Gang Involvement Using Photovoice Methods
Who: Robert Henry, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Calgary
When: Monday, Jan. 15, 10:30 a.m.
Where: Plaza 600F, Brock University