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PROJECTS Culture Caribbean Jamaica - Photovoice: My Island through My Eyes

Jamaica - Photovoice: My Island through My Eyes

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Photovoice projects have been done all over the world, from the villages of rural China to neighborhoods in the United States. Photovoice projects have covered many themes such as safety on school grounds, children dealing with violence in communities, and women's health issues. The photographs that are produced through photovoice projects document actual realities that people see and deal with on a daily basis.

Who's involved?

Project leader: Andrea Edwards, Kemarley Walker, Kevin Williams, Leslie Spaulding, Kelly Lynch

Lead organisation: The Blue Mountain Project

Other organisations: Hagley Gap Youth Community

Timeframe: September 2006 - December 2007

Objectives:

  • To give the youth of Hagley Gap, a rural Jamaican community in the Blue Mountains a visual voice through the use of photography.
  • Give the older youth a chance to be positive role models for all the youth in the community.
  • Create leadership roles and let the leaders be a part of teaching and educating the younger youth on community and how to create a positive and safe place to live.
  • Create social change through empowerment of youth in their community.
  • Create awareness that the youth should work together.
  • Give youth a chance to be artists and to bring art to their community.
  • Have an exhibit of photographs to bring about community involvement.
  • Make children aware that they are the future of their community and their nation.
  • Give youth that have no access to computers knowledge about technology and a chance to learn how to use computers and cameras.
  • Create a positive activity with the youth’s findings from their photographs and begin making changes in the community.
  • Have youth lead and educate the community on AIDS and HIV through photography, posters and an AIDS awareness day.

Activities

  • Purchase digital cameras and organise 16 workshops over 6 weeks for local youths. The workshops will teach photography skills and have group discussions on community issues and how the youth can act as social activists within their community and bring about positive change. Throughout the workshops the youth will take pictures and create a story of what they see are happening in their lives and in their community.
  • Purchase a laptop and organise a basic workshop for youths on how to use the Internet, obtain an e-mail address and create word documents. The laptop will be donated to and remain in the Hagley Community Library for use by the youth.
  • The youth leaders will train other youth participants on basic computer skills and create step-by-step guidelines (in the form of a booklet)  that will teach youths how to use the computer and create a simple document.
  • Organise a photo exhibit at the 'Back to School' party to be held at the Community Center.
  • Organise a photo exhibit and clean-up campaign centered on the recent event of 'Hurricane Dean'
  • Create posters and plan an AIDS awareness day for the youth to educate what they know and have learned about staying safe.
  • Implement a positive change activity in the community that will be decided by the youths after the photo exhibit.
  • Publicise all the activities through local radio, television and newspapers;
  • Results:

    'My Island Through My Eyes' has become bigger then we ever thought. The exhibit of both Kelly’s documentary photographs and the youth participant's photographs have been on display in three different art exhibits. At this time we are working on planning our final exhibitions of our Hurricane Dean Community exhibit and a celebration exhibit/dinner in Kingston, Jamaica. As a group we decided that the youth participants of this project should be able to see their photographs and their message being made outside their community in a bigger exhibit. The photographs represent them in their community; their photographs are personal, public and community art. With a bigger opening and a bigger gallery outside their mountain community will show the youth participants what it's like to have your work on display for a larger viewing audience. This final exhibit will get the youth out of their community, give them a chance to celebrate all the work they did and make them feel proud." - Kelly Lynch

    Downloads: 

    Final Report [PDF 85Kb]

    Photovoice in the press:

    6 February 2008
    Mountainous Terrain by Camille Gillman
    (Extract) Mountainous terrain, feelings of compassion, rainbow of smiles and an overall culture experience of life, was the trip taken at Kelly Lynch’s photography exhibition, "My Island through My Eyes." She took us on a journey to the town of Hagley Gap, Jamaica, where we saw images taken by her students from their everyday lives. >> Full article [PDF 521Kb]

    Gillman, C., 2008, Mountainous Terrain. The 1851 Chronicle (Lasell College’s Student Newspaper), 2(3), p.6