Show Me, Tell Me: A Photovoice Project

Show Me, Tell Me is a photovoice project that is sponsored by Vibrant Communities Calgary and Basic Income Calgary. The project is centered around the belief that all Albertans have the right to live a dignified life. Show Me, Tell Me aims to achieve a creative and innovative piece of work that highlights the lived experiences of those experiencing poverty while promoting advocacy, involvement and inclusion. Those with lived experience expertise have guided the direction of this creative project.
Photovoice is a community based participatory research (CBPR) model developed by Wang and Burris (1997). CBPR can be described as “a collaborative approach to research that combines methods of inquiry with community capacity-building strategies to bridge the gap between knowledge produced through research and what is practiced in communities to improve health” (Viswanathan et al., 2004, p. v).

Photovoice is a powerful and flexible technique that is based on principles of CBPR and which makes visible the perspectives of some of society’s most vulnerable populations through the use of photographs and visual images. Wang and Burris (1997) state that there are three main goals of photovoice (1) to enable people to record and reflect their community’s strengths and concerns (2) to promote critical dialogue and knowledge about important community issues through large and small group discussions of photographs and (3) to reach policy makers (p. 370). In this regard, photovoice can be used as a tool for participatory research and may be adapted to address various concerns or issues.

During an 8 week period, the participants of Show Me Tell Me were asked the research question, “how would a basic income impact your life?” The following images represent individual perspectives and lived experiences. Narratives or stories explaining the significance of the pictures have been attached to the photographs. The project has three main goals: (1) To demonstrate that all Albertans have the right to live a dignified life. (2) To illustrate to the general public along with key political stakeholders that a basic income would positively influence people’s lives. (3) To incorporate lived experience expertise and demonstrate that this is a valid and powerful form of knowledge that can and should guide our work regarding poverty reduction, advocacy, social and systemic change.


Viswanathan, M., Ammerman, A., Eng, E., Gartlehner, G., Lohr, K.N., Griffith, D., Rhodes, S., Samuel-Hodge, C., Maty, S., Lux, L, Webb, L., Sutton, S.F., Swinson, T., & Jackman, A., Whitener, L. (2004). CommunityBased Participatory Research: Assessing the Evidence. Evidence Report/Technology Assessment No. 99 (Prepared by RTI– University of North Carolina Evidence-based Practice Center under Contract No. 290-02-0016). AHRQ Publication 04-E022-2. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Chapters 3 and 4. Available online at Wang, C. & Burris, M. A. (1997). Photovoice: Concept, methodology, and use for participatory needs assessment. Health Education & Behavior, 24 (3), 369-387.

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