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UAL Research Online

Beyond Participation: The therapeutic ‘self-photograph’ and participatory photography in peer-led mental health design and evaluation

Johnson, Julia (2022) Beyond Participation: The therapeutic ‘self-photograph’ and participatory photography in peer-led mental health design and evaluation. PhD thesis, University of the Arts London.

Type of Research: Thesis
Creators: Johnson, Julia

This thesis examines the value of participatory photography in supporting recovery and co-designing qualitative evaluation methods. Whilst delivering a total of five study programmes, I developed participant-led evaluation methods which draw on an emerging photographic practice evolving in therapeutic communities. I define this practice as ‘self-photography’ and ‘shared self-photography’ which reflects the way in which people therapeutically engage with one another and self-advocate in this context. I believe this practice is not yet evidenced in research to date. I argue that shared self-photography is a valuable research method that demonstrates diverse lived experiences and resolves stigma around mental health illness. This emerging visual representation contributes to survivorship narratives and enhances the health of communities. Throughout two participatory photography programmes in National Health Service (NHS) mental health contexts, I employed participants’ photographs in combination with interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) to identify significant themes defining the participants’ experiences. The theme ‘the therapeutic dichotomy’ insightfully negotiated unique concepts attributed to the complexities of mental health recovery. The participants’ photographs acted as significant visual data during interviews. The programmes were funded by the NHS and I collaborated with NHS staff and service users to conduct the research.

A participatory photography toolkit was co-designed. This included a selection of participatory activities and resources I improved upon whilst delivering a further three therapeutic participatory photography programmes to adults accessing public health services. The finalised toolkit aims to benefit a range of professional communities: the NHS, public health services, those involved in research and therapeutic environments and practitioners working within the field of participation. The toolkit includes advice and methods for facilitating and evaluating participatory photography programmes.

Additional Information (Publicly available):

This thesis has been restricted by the author, please contact UAL Research Online for more information.

Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed: Mental health, Mad studies, National Health Service, Photography, Participatory arts programmes, Visual research methods, Therapeutic photography, Photo-elicitation, Photovoice, Interpretative phenomenological analysis, Qualitative evaluation methods
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Communication
Date: May 2022
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2024 13:54
Last Modified: 02 May 2024 13:38
Item ID: 21538
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/21538

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