223425 Flourishing lives: A photojournal project exploring the meaning of job training in the lives of low-income workers

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 12:45 PM - 1:00 PM

Emma K. Tsui, MPH, PhD , Department of Health, Behavior & Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, New York, NY
Introduction: This project uses Photovoice and documentary photography to explore the meaning of work and job training for a small group of low-income men in Baltimore. The project studies an on-the-job training effort, which centered on the renovation of an abandoned rowhouse in a historically poor city neighborhood. The project thus documents the dual processes of changes to the house, and changes in the lives of men participating in job training as they worked on the house.

Methods: The three men participating in the project were asked to photograph evidence of changes that had taken place in their lives in conjunction with participation in job training. They attended a two-hour introductory training session, and after photographing for two weeks, participated in a one-hour interview to discuss the meaning of the photos they took. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed for key themes. During a period of approximately two months during which the house was being renovated, the researcher also took photographs documenting changes to the exterior of the house and to the surrounding blocks.

Results: The photographs and interview data indicate several key themes, and highlighted shifts in trainees': 1) family situations, 2) finances, 3) knowledge, and 4) outlook related to work and life trajectories.

Conclusion: The results suggest that Photovoice provides unique purchase in exploring individual experiences of urban policies and programs, and that Photovoice combined with documentary photography can serve as a useful tool in illustrating the potential interactions between these experiences and the physical conditions of neighborhoods.

Learning Areas:
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify the key themes that the photographs of the neighborhood and those taken by trainees convey. 2. List challenges faced by the project and the trainees. 3. Discuss three lessons learned from the project.

Keywords: Community Programs, Worksite

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I have conducted extensive ethnographic, qualitative, and Photovoice research with a population of low-income workers enrolled in job training.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.