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In the early 1990s Dr. Caroline Wang, a professor and researcher with the University of Michigan School of Public Health, developed PhotoVoice as a creative approach to building more inclusive communities.
Dr. Wang says that PhotoVoice “creates opportunities for those who are marginalized; it allows them to actively participate in enhancing their communities by giving them a chance to tell their stories and have their voices heard. It equips individuals with cameras so they can create photographic evidence and symbolic representations to help others see the world through their eyes.”
PROCESSIn 2014 Compassionate Touch Network adapted the PhotoVoice model to give voice to the individual and collective experiences of individuals living with serious mental illness and named it “Untold Mind.”
Over the course of two months, individuals learn to use their cameras to capture images that hold meaning for them. Each person is then supported to build the narrative that reflects how the photo speaks to his/her personal story.
The shared goals of Compassionate Touch Network and the participants are to:
- Give an opportunity to speak and be heard
- Break through the isolation and stigma surrounding mental illness
- Honor the value of each person’s experience
- Generate more compassionate communities