As a trainer and educator I run numerous training courses on participatory and collaborative practices and approaches in photography. These are based on extensive experience of running participatory projects, providing project consultancy, and ongoing research. The field of participation and collaboration has expanded rapidly over recent years in photography, generating new models of expanded and shared authorship.
Collaborative and participatory practices put photography into the realm of the social, engaging groups around political and representational narratives. Participatory projects can become a means to resist or challenge histories of photography complicit in exoticising, dominating and objectifying others. Participatory projects foreground the complex relations between visibility, communities, the public and change. They value the plural over the singular, and can generate new and multiple encounters between photographers, photographs, events and audiences. The questions raised along the way – around process, consent, trust, ethics, aesthetics and context – make participatory and collaborative works some of the most rich and interesting in contemporary photography.
I regularly run a training course for the international charity PhotoVoice; I teach collaborative and participatory approaches on the BA and MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography; and I delivered numerous bespoke courses for a variety of organisations, especially with health professionals. The courses cover aspects of the following:
- Defining the field of participatory photography.
- Analysing the participatory potential of the photographic medium
- Visual literacy – what is it? How to do it?
- Understanding participation – towards new approaches
- Facilitation skills and practices
- Exposure and risk
- Creating safe spaces
- Informed consent – procedures and practices
- Working with text
- Participatory editing
My courses cover practical, theoretical and ethical frameworks for planning, delivery and publisicing participatory projects.