STUDENTS’ PERCEPTIONS OF BELONGING: A PHOTOVOICE PARTICIPATORY ACTION RESEARCH PROJ

Michelle Stack, Fei Wang

Abstract


In this paper, we analyze a PhotoVoice project - the Belonging Project that included 22 youth co-researchers and three researchers from the University of British Columbia. The project focused on concepts of belonging and exclusion and resulted in recommendations to a school district in Canada, a photo exhibit, and two of the co-researchers being interviewed by a local radio station about the project. This paper details the tensions between what the co- researchers saw as necessary for schools to be places that create a sense of belonging and how the role of students is constructed through policies from the district to provincial levels and through societal attitudes about schooling and young people. We also detail debates in the school district (simultaneous to the Belonging Project) concerning policy to address homophobia. Finally, this paper is a story about the challenge of undertaking youth participatory oriented research within the confines of schooling.

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ISSN 1925-7147

© CAARE 2014