Participatory Exhibition: Supporting Disaster Resilience Through Social Participation: The EnRiCH Youth Photovoice Project
The EnRiCH Youth Research Team, based out of the University of Ottawa, is a youth-led, participatory initiative that promotes youth engagement in disaster risk reduction (DRR) among high school and university students. A sub-section of our team, dubbed the EnRiCH Photovoice Youth Research Team, engaged in a Photovoice project focused on the role of youth in DRR, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, we explored questions such as: What does capability and engagement mean to youth in the context of DRR? Our team met nine times in 2019 and 2020 to take photos and engage in in-depth discussions about 1) the need for social change to improve DRR and climate change; 2) improved communication techniques and more accessible communication strategies in disaster contexts; 3) youth capabilities and the potential power of youth contributions to DRR; 4) how to leverage capabilities using art as a knowledge mobilization tool; 5) youth perspectives on public health issues during the COVID-19 pandemic; and 6) the youth experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photos and transcripts were analyzed using a participatory qualitative thematic analysis process, in preparation for a digital public Photovoice exhibition. While youth are often regarded as a vulnerable group in disasters, they are aware and passionate about DRR and climate change issues, and want to be included. They have important suggestions for some of DRR’s most pressing problems, including disaster education, climate change action, and mental health literacy in COVID-19.
The goal of the EnRiCH Youth Research Team is not only to engage youth in DRR, but to also promote intersectoral and intergenerational collaboration between youth and stakeholders in disaster research and practice. As such, this proposed participatory activity will take two forms:
- Youth participants and researchers from the EnRiCH Photovoice Youth Research Team will present their research to stakeholders in the form of an online Photovoice exhibition.
- Following the presentation, the youth will co-host a participatory problem solving exercise, in collaboration with The Canadian Red Cross, to promote inclusive stakeholder engagement and solution-oriented dialogue about DRR.
The objectives of this participatory Photovoice exhibition are to:
- Give youth a platform for their voices to be heard and demonstrate to stakeholders how youth can be empowered by contributing to issues that support community resilience.
- Promote engaged dialogue between different stakeholders about how to mobilize opportunities for youth engagement in DRR.
The Canadian Red Cross has been an important collaborator for the EnRiCH Youth Research Team for several years, including the development of this Photovoice exhibition. Together, we aim to use this participatory Photovoice exhibition to move beyond discussions, to actionable, innovative, and collaborative youth engagement strategies in DRR.
This exhibition will provide an opportunity for youth to connect with stakeholders in academia, managers, students, policy makers, and other stakeholders in the field of disaster management. This will be a space for knowledge translation, collaboration, participation, and intersectoral information exchange to promote an all-of-society approach to disaster risk reduction.