Fostering Change Youth Photovoice Project
2015, SCY piloted two youth photovoice projects aimed at increasing youth voice, participation, and action in their communities. Photovoice is an innovative method, which uses photography to tell stories and work towards social change. The objectives of photovoice are to:
- Help those who are often unheard gain a voice, enabling them to record and reflect on their experiences and their communities’ conditions
- Promote critical dialogue and knowledge about personal and community issues through photography
- Bring about change that will improve conditions and lives by reaching and influencing policy makers (Wang and Burris 1997)
The emphasis on social change in this method led SCY to explore further opportunities to engage youth in advocating for their rights using Photovoice. As such, in 2016 SCY began to work on a part of the Vancouver Foundation’s Fostering Change initiative aimed at improving policy, practice, and community connections for young people transitioning from foster care to adulthood.
This project involved the recruitment of 2 groups of youth transitioning out of foster care to participate in the project to express their stories and become agents for change in their communities. These groups were hosted in New Westminster and Abbotsford. Participants learned about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, metaphorical photography, leadership, grassroots social movements, communication, and social media.
With ongoing support from the project coordinator, youth took photos that represented issues related to their transition from care to adulthood and their rights, selected their best photos, and created quotes that expressed the idea in each photo. Youth helped organize photo exhibits and gala events to which local decision makers were invited. Discussion panels were held at these events, during which youth presented the issues that they, and others in their situation, have been experiencing and the solutions they identified during the workshop sessions.