Exposed: Using Photography to Expose the Social Impacts of Poverty and Racism in Black Creek

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This presentation is a photovoice project by the residents of Black Creek. Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services

Transcript of Exposed: Using Photography to Expose the Social Impacts of Poverty and Racism in Black Creek

  • 1. eXposed using photography to expose the social impacts of poverty and racism in Black Creeka photovoice project by residents of Black Creek

2. Acknowledgements About Exposed Photovoice Project The Exposed Photovoice project is a community- false sense of safety and security. Photo-researchers This project would not have been possible without thebased, arts-informed research project conducted in also captured the neglect and disinvestment in successful collaboration and support of numerous community 2008 by the Income Security, Race and Health (ISRH)the Black Creek area by government agencies and members, advocates, volunteers and organizations. Our warm research working group of Toronto. The main goal oftheir failure to provide adequate garbage collection thanks to our generous funders: Metcalf Foundation, Thethe project was to use an arts-based research method services and properly maintain public spaces and Wellesley Institute, Toronto Arts Council, and the Ontario Artscalled photovoice to expose the social impacts offacilities in the neighborhood. The deteriorating Council. Thank you to Black Creek Community Health Centrepoverty on low-income families. The project wasand substandard condition of housing in the for providing child care and meeting space, and to Working located in Black Creek a low-income area located inneighborhood is also highlighted through the Women Community Centre for their support in recruitmentthe north-west inner suburb of and narratives. Photo-researchers also made and arranging space in Seneca College to hold our weeklyinnovative use of photos and narratives to express photovoice sessions. Special thanks to Mohamed The Exposed photovoice project was led by Ruth what certain signs in the neighborhood mean to Abdelrahim, Community Outreach Worker for the ExposedWilson and Dr Yogendra B. Shakya from Access them, capture hidden borders, and geographical Photovoice project, who provided invaluable support during Alliance and Dr Sarah Flicker from York University.expressions of the inequalities and discriminations the recruitment, data collection and dissemination phasesWe recruited 14 residents of Black Creek to be photo- that they face. of the project. Rodrigo Moreno lent his photography skills researchers for the project. Each photo-researcher was to the project, teaching community members photographicprovided with a digital camera and received training inThis photobook captures the diverse perspectives techniques and acting as a mentor throughout the dataphotographic techniques and in photovoice method.that different residents have about important collection process. Seon Kyen (SK) Kim and Jiha KimRenowned Toronto photographer Rodrigo Moreno issues such as gangs and safety or different generously volunteered their time and analysis to the projectprovided the photography training and mentoring, landmarks in the community. For example, several as facilitators and offered valuable feedback and support to serving as Photographer-in-Residence for the project., photo-researchers perceived York University as an the photo-researchers. Over a period of 9 weeks, the 14 photo-researchers institution that does not try to connect with the Blacktook photos related to the research project, analyzedCreek community despite its geographical location. Our special thank you to Theon Harrichand (Access Design)and discussed their photos in the weekly photovoiceIn contrast, another photo-researcher talked about for doing such beautiful layout and design for this photobook. group discussion sessions, and wrote narratives forhow every time she sees York University it brings her Theon also provided valuable support in project evaluation,relevant photos. The title of project exposed was also a sense of hope and joy because her son is currently data analysis and writing. selected by peer researchers involved in this project. studying at the university. In fact, we found that the photovoice sessions provided a creative platform for Finally, wed like to give special recognition to all of theNote: All text accompanying theThis photobook is a compilation of some of the key inter-generational and inter-community dialogue on photo-researchers. This book is a reflection of their artisticphotos consists of words fromphotos and narratives produced by these 14 photo-key issues that affect the community. visions, thoughtful analysis, and courage to expose the socialproject participants, from one-on- researchers. The photos and narratives produced by impacts of poverty and racism in Black Creek. We dedicate thisone interviews, group discussions or the photo-researchers offer a nuanced, multilayered, More importantly, as a way to challenge the negative photobook to them.written narratives. Text attributedand rich picture of the everyday realities of living inportrayal of Black Creek by mainstream media, all to Photo-researcher is taken froma low-income neighborhood in Toronto. For example, the photo-researchers expressed strong interest The photo-researchers involved in this project include: either a group discussion or anphoto-researchers combined photos and narratives in using photovoice to document community anonymous interview. to document everyday challenges associated withstrengths and community knowledge in Black Creek. Ann Moses, Anne Marie Chow, Anthony Harvey, Brian Durson,safety and security issues associated with living in a This photobook thus begins with the section on Celena Knight, Dorigen Appiah-Kubi, Htay Win, Muznalow-income neighborhood. The photos and narratives community strengths. Rehman, Rui Zhao, Safy Abouzaid, Samira Ahmed, Say Les,highlight that increasing surveillance cameras, police Sha Me Ri, and Stanley Muddah. presence and private security companies provide a3 3. What is Photovoice?Photovoice is an arts-based research methodI would say that, my eyes have opened even more that combines the visual documentation powersso to photo, to print, to words that I see. Like there of photography with the explanatory insights ofare some things that obviously grasp you and some reflective narrative. Arts-based research methods like things you pay no attention to. But I found that I have photovoice are gaining popularity among researchersa heightened sense now of paying attention to every for many reasons. First, using arts-based methodsadvertisement. Everything that I see now I feel like like photovoice can make research more accessible, I have to rethink about, wonder, you know, is that creative and fun. Second, combining photos and really it? It has opened my eyes and I also ask my narratives can help to produce high-quality findings kids as well. Before commercials was that time that that cannot be captured by conventional methodsyou go to the washroom; now were discussing the of research. Third, arts-based research methods like commercials: what does that mean? Its just opened photovoice facilitate sharing findings more widely inour eyes to think more outside of the box of whats accessible formats (such as exhibits and photobooksgoing on around us our surroundings. You know what like this one). Also, there is a growing track record of to take in, what to leave out, whats good for us, and photovoice research leading to positivewhats not. So that was my enlightenment and Ive service or policy change. For example, another brought that unto my kids and now they reflect it photovoice project conducted by Dr Sarah Flicker withback to me that theyre aware now. Before when I was youth in social housing in Toronto documented howtaking some photos I used to take a lot of photos of lack of good lighting in the hallways and premises oflike babies or babies with their mom and stuff and their buildings made the building unsafe; this finding then that was just it. Oh yeah, that baby looked cute led to Toronto Community Housing Corporation in the picture and that was kind of it, but now its (TCHC) to add more lights within TCHC housinglike this whole world of advertisement and things out premises.there, messages you know and stuff so now Im just Shamore aware I have more of an awareness of my whole We believe that photo-researchers from this Exposedenvironment. photovoice project have managed to capture important findings about the everyday realities and -Photo-researcher challenges of what it is like to be a person of color living in a low-income neighborhood in Toronto.My Story We will be sharing these findings widely, and using these findings to mobilize relevant service and policy I am a Karen from Burma. I was born in Burma but I was brought up in a Karen refugee camp located on the Thai-Burma improvements on issues that have been highlightedborder. I dont remember my life in Burma since I was very young when we came to the camp. I spent by whole life in the camp by the photo-researchers. In our evaluation of the before coming to Canada. One day a resettlement worker came and announced the opportunity for this workshop. So I joined photovoice project, photo-researchers mentionedthe project. In the future, I want to be a photo journalist reporting the news about Karen people to the world. Millions of Karens many benefits from being involved in the project. Theare now suffering inside of Burma and not many people know about it. This project inspires me to become a photo journalist. following are some quotes from photo-researchers regarding their experience being involved in the-Sha Exposed photovoice project.4 5 4. About the Income Security, Race and Health Why Black Creek?Research Working Group The Black Creek area is a composite of four Canadian census data, in addition to many other studies identity and in their experiences of inequality andneighborhoods (Humber Summit, Humbermede, highlights that, compared to people from European discrimination. Racialization is the process by which Black Creek, Glenfield-Jane Heights) located in the backgrounds, people of