Rapid photovoice as a close-up, emancipatory methodology in student experience research: the case of the student movement violence and wellbeing study

SOURCE: International Journal of Qualitative Methods
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
TITLE AUTHOR(S): T.Luescher, A.W.Fadiji, K.Morwe, T.S.Letsoalo
DEPARTMENT: Equitable Education and Economies (IED)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 12007
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/16042
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11910/16042

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In this paper, we critically reflect on our conceptualization and operationalization of 'rapid photovoice' as a close-up, emancipatory, action research methodology which has multiple, intersecting social-justice goals; and consider the methodology's potential for helping to achieve such goals. We first consider photovoice in relation to its typical use in public health research, as well as in prior research into student experiences of higher education. We then consider our pragmatic redesign of the methodology as rapid photovoice (RPV), which we conceptualized in response to the goals, parameters, and constraints inherent in our project, which studied student movement violence and wellbeing. In the third part of the article, we describe and discuss our operationalization of RPV in this study on four university campuses in South Africa. In the fourth section, we reflect on some of the ethical considerations arising from the topic and the methodology. In the final section of the article, we critically assess the interim outcomes of our use of RPV in terms of (1) psychologically empowering students to reflect on traumatic experiences in a safe space and enhancing their self-awareness of wellbeing, wellbeing resources and coping strategies; (2) the politically emancipatory potential of photovoice to represent student experiences authentically and with immediacy to higher education policy role-players, and (3) its ability to co-create artifacts of collective memory that provide authentic empirical material for making trustworthy knowledge claims.