Trialing a youth led participatory photovoice and digital research approach

Project: Research

Project Details

Project Description

Given the scarcity of youth participatory research, and that young people are rarely consulted about the issues that impact on them, the following research project trialed a youth participatory approach in inclusive education.

The project produced a series of 5 open-access brief research reports about collaborating with youth as active stakeholders in research. We hope to share the knowledge gained in using a collaborative and participatory approach with young people, parents, educators, researchers and policy makers.

The series includes the following reports, each building on the previous:
● Brief Report 1: Collaborating with youth as active stakeholders in research
● Brief Report 2: Establishing an active Youth Reference Group
● Brief Report 3: Assent process, group partnership building and visual ethics
● Brief Report 4: Participatory workshops in action
● Brief Report 5: Joint Dissemination and Communication: Youth informed stakeholder exhibition

The research briefs include the strengths, challenges and lessons learned about collaborating and engaging with youth participation in this research project. The briefs provide an overview on the theoretical underpinnings, ethical visual considerations, ways to establish an active Youth Reference Group, implementing
youth led participatory workshops themselves, and critical dissemination and communication of the research findings.

The overall aim of the report series is to share the steps taken in the youth centred pilot research project. We used a qualitative, visual methodology of participatory video, art (drawing, painting) and photovoice to explore youth educational experiences. Methods that originated and used widely in humanitarian situations and with vulnerable communities due to their ‘bottom-up’ approach. Key themes from this project were co-constructed from conversations triggered by the visual data and were disseminated through a youth-led exhibition.

This was a pilot project to test how young people can be included as key stakeholders when it comes to inclusion and education, and to build a model in collaboration with the young people themselves.

We ran four, three-hour participatory workshops, and two in-depth, semi-structured conversations with our group of participants. Together, the young people produced a series of videos, drawings, images and captions. Key themes were generated: being digitally native; the stress of study; influence of social media; climate change; and the impact of mental health and connectedness. These perspectives, along with the video series we co-produced, allow us to see the complex situations that impact the youth experience of education.

For schools, teachers, parents and policymakers, their work highlights the importance of collaboration with young people in research, particularly when developing policies and implementing practice to build more inclusive communities.

A key message of the pilot is: “Include us, give us voice, we can help.”

The pilot project and the creation of Youth Reference Group took place at Monash University, Faculty of Education, Educational Psychology and Inclusive Education Academic Community in Victoria, Australia.
Effective start/end date1/01/2031/12/20