PhotoVoice Community Engagement

Rebuild at Heitzman Recreation Center

Administered by Philadelphia's Managing Director's Office, Rebuild

is a program funded by Philadelphia's sugary beverage tax that is investing in neighborhood parks, rec centers, and libraries. Kensington-based community organization IMPACT Services was selected to lead Rebuild plans at Heitzman Recreation Center, which included deep community engagement.

 

I served as a consultant leading a PhotoVoice project with teenagers at the center. Over three sessions, we talked about how photos can tell stories, making compelling photographs, and conditions at Heitzman. Teens were given disposable cameras and asked to photograph aspects of the center that they liked, parts that could be improved, and features at other recreation facilities that they'd like to see come to Heitzman. The cameras were processed, and teens returned to group the photos into "like," "improve," and "wish list" categories. They then hosted an open house for the community to give additional feedback via comment cards.

Check out Rebuild's write up on Heitzman here.

Philadelphia Collaborative for Health Equity

The Philadelphia Collaborative for Health Equity was established by Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals in early 2019 to further understand the health needs of Latinxs in Eastern North Philadelphia.

 

I was approached to facilitate six PhotoVoice workshop sessions with over 60 teens to help them answer the questions "what helps you be healthy in your community?" and "what prevents you from being healthy in your community?" With students from Esperanza Academy Charter School, Providence Center, and HUNE, I hosted student-led dialogues about how the built environment impacted their health choices and how they could convey this through photos. 

Using TJUH-distributed digital cameras or their own phones and cameras, students took hundreds of photos, participated in ethnographic interviews hosted by TJUH, and hosted a community exhibit at Taller Puertorriqueño. Most recently, the photos were on display at Philadelphia's City Hall in March 2020.

Check out Business Insider's write up on P-CHE here.

© 2019 by Maggie Loesch

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