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Adapting participatory visual methods to online and hybrid settings with diverse communities

Updated: Mar 20, 2023

COVID-19 has impacted community-based participatory initiatives requiring methodological innovation as project teams adapt collaborative, in-person project and knowledge translation designs to take place online. Further, hybrid designs, that combine online and in-person participation options, are gaining popularity as pandemic restrictions relax. Participatory Visual Methods (PVM) are often engaged in projects with diverse and racialized communities as they are inclusive, support self-expression and social connection. Although many project teams have adapted PVM, such as photovoice and digital storytelling to online and hybrid environments, little is known about the contexts and practices that support or impede their success. While PVM activities are often designed as catalyst events to stimulate engagement and prioritize local knowledges in subsequent codesign collaborations, less is understood about the critical bridge between “imagining” and “doing.” As online methods are increasingly engaged in public health initiatives, research training/resources are vital to ensuring arts-based projects stay connected to their community-based and social action foundations.

The goal of this 2-year project, funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR), is to explore how participatory visual methods, specifically photovoice and digital storytelling, have been adapted to online and hybrid platforms to support community-based research and related social change agendas. This study seeks to answer the overarching research question: What are the promising practices for adapting in-person, participatory visual methods to create online and hybrid environments that support co-design, ongoing community collaboration, and social action? To address the study’s overarching research question, the following objectives will be embedded in three study phases:

Phase 1: Gather and synthesize best practices, innovations and observations from national and international methods experts from countries including Canada, Australia, the US, and UK engaging online/hybrid photovoice and digital storytelling designs in community-based research.

Phase 2: To deepen contextualized understandings of adapting to online and hybrid digital storytelling, photovoice initiatives, gather and organize frontline observations and insights with members of local Trillium Health Centre project teams: 1) community members contributing lived experience and insider, local knowledge); 2) community partners and; 3) academic researchers.

Phase 3: Co-design eLearning modules and a resource list, informed by integrated methods experts’ and local knowledge findings related to photovoice, digital storytelling and community engagement to support best practices for online/hybrid participatory visual methods adaptations when working with diverse communities.

Trillium Health Partners, under the leadership of Dr Elizabeth Mansfield, is leading this study. CCBR is a key partner on this study and is delighted to join this team!

Together, with Trillium Health partners, and other team members, CCBR will :

  • Contribute to study design and delivery via team and working group meetings during phase 1 and 3

  • Play a leadership role in integrating findings into module development and knowledge translation efforts coming out of the study

We are excited to partner on another impactful project with Trillium Health Partners. For other projects, we’ve worked on with Trillium Health Partners see here.


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