Community engagement through participatory media

Community engagement through participatory media

Dr Alastair Van Heerden, a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) Sweetwaters Office, posed interesting questions at the opening of the Amazwi Ethu: Speaking Back exhibition held at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.  What qualifies as photography art? Would it have been better to show images taken by professionals?  It was clear from the exhibition that amateur photographers are equally, if not more capable of conveying important messages about their perceptions and experiences of the world. Amazwi Ethu is one of the outcomes of a photovoice research project implemented by the HSRC Sweetwaters office. The aim of the project was to allow young people from the Sweetwaters community to raise their concerns and experiences through photography.

As research engagement specialists, Jive Media Africa was contracted by the HSRC to assist in the production of a series of community engagement events to profile this research to a wider audience. This included a public exhibition of photographs at the Centre for Visual arts (CVA) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), a community meeting in Edendale and the production of aprinted catalogue.