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Title: Shooting the Breeze: Participatory Photo-Storytelling with Young Adults in Timor-Leste
Contributor(s): Jones, Richard  (author); Ware, Helen  (supervisor); Boughton, Robert  (supervisor)orcid 
Conferred Date: 2016-04-22
Copyright Date: 2015-06-15
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: This study investigates what young adult Timorese, the first generation to have grown into adulthood with the freedom to openly express their opinions, values and cultures, have to say about themselves, their communities and their fledgling nation. Motivated by an experience of teaching photo-storytelling in a remote township of Timor-Leste, I set out to position my intuitive pedagogical practices within a formal research framework. This endeavour prompted a critical examination of Photovoice, a methodology located within the broader fields of Participatory Action Research (PAR) and Participatory Visual Research, all methods that claim to be open, responsive, egalitarian and participant-centred. However, a close reading of leading authors, including PAR's 'founding fathers', Kurt Lewin and Paolo Freire, discloses significant tensions between managerial and emancipatory tendencies, often obscured by 'noble cause' rhetoric and an antipathy to positivism.
Through critiquing contemporary accounts I uncover an 'appreciative' approach, a minor counter-current in PAR and Photovoice, and derive a set of methodological tests, which I explore in two Case Studies undertaken in Dili, Timor-Leste's capital city. Holding me to my promise that 'I will not tell you where to point the camera or what to say', the fourteen project participants created a unique set of photo-stories about the lives of 'ordinary' Timorese. They challenged my managerial tendencies, highlighting tensions between PAR's version of 'activist' research and participants' own interests and commitments. Their creative work 'answered' concerns expressed in pre-program interviews with senior Timorese artists that the younger generation, in a rush towards modernity, were forgetting who they are and where they come from. In closing I examine local audience responses to our photo-storytelling exhibitions, calling attention to distinctive resistance legacies and deeply held aspirations for the nation's future in the context of revitalizing Timorese cultures after 450 years of colonialism. In the broadest terms, the participants' photo-stories respond to a prominent community aspiration, which is to say to each other and the world:
We resisted. We survived. And this is who we are.
Publication Type: Thesis Doctoral
Field of Research Codes: 140202 Economic Development and Growth
160810 Urban Sociology and Community Studies
160801 Applied Sociology, Program Evaluation and Social Impact Assessment
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 930101 Learner and Learning Achievement
930501 Education and Training Systems Policies and Development
900399 Tourism not elsewhere classified
HERDC Category Description: T2 Thesis - Doctorate by Research
Appears in Collections:School of Education
School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Thesis Doctoral

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