Practicing Cultural Humility: CBPR and Photovoice

Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) is a practice that pulls straight from the notion that people with lived experience have expertise to offer. CBPR functions as a method by which we can institutionally ‘listen’ to marginalized communities and, with their permission, compile their stories as evidence in research. In CBPR, researchers partner with communities to identify and combat issues. Ultimately, it is a more equitable method of research and advocacy because it is guided by community members’ lived experience. It’s just one method of acknowledging lived experience as expertise.

Photovoice is a great tool for CBPR. Photovoice is a process by which people can identify, represent, and enhance their community through photography. Final projects exhibit a single-page layout of a photo and short written piece.

In their article, “Photovoice: Addressing youths’ concerns in a juvenile detention facility”, Jenna Osseck et al. write about a program in which youth had the opportunity to share their feedback on the center and its programming. “Youth documented the following strengths: family was valued whether or not the relationship was healthy; the center’s structure added stability; participants’ talents helped them cope; and staff were supportive.” 

This juvenile detention facility fostered a space in which youth were able to advocate for improvements to their facility, as well as their own outcomes, through CBPR. What if we all did that with our work?