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Is That Image Ethical?
The use of imagery within the UK charity sector (especially fundraising departments) and by overseas NGOs is often controversial. PhotoVoice's ethical approach is largely unique in the sector. We think it important that disadvantaged and under-represented groups have a say in how they're portrayed
Charity information: PhotoVoice
Photography remains vital to communication by charities worldwide; yet it has the power to misrepresent, disempower, or exploit.
PhotoVoice seeks to challenge photography which diminishes or undermines the communities being portrayed – using the demonstrable power and benefit of participatory practices. Key to this is targeted engagement with our peers across the sector, specifically addressing ways in which photography is used to communicate and countering its use in perpetuating stereotypes.
By promoting the ethical use of participatory photography across the NGO sector, we will challenge examples of photography being used for more exploitative or negative fundraising activities, and celebrate when this has been avoided.
In addition, we will endeavour to establish a consortium of like-minded organisations who sign up to the principles of ethical photography.
Promotion of the ethical use of participatory photography within the charitable sector
Activities» Monthly newsletter to our membership and supporter base highlighting best practice in our own and other participatory projects
» Active engagement within the UK charity sector and with international NGOs to promote ethical practice; eg: through talks, briefings and social media
» Promotion of good practice within the sector as well as highlighting bad examples through our website, trainings and communications materials.
What success will look like
Establishment and support for a consortium of like-minded organisations who sign up to principles of ethical image use, eg: participation over representation
A gradual change in the way charities, international development organisations and the wider press use imagery of disadvantaged and under-represented groups.
We'll demonstrate this by:
collecting examples of acceptable/positive image use contrasting this with how imagery was used in the past
becoming increasingly synonymous with ethical image use as a key contributor and driver of change
Other indicators include number of organisations:
signing up to consortium
using participant-led images
The sector does not fully embrace user-led imagery and is not yet prepared to change its practices - especially fund-raising departments that rely on stereo-typical 'flies-in-their eyes' imagery.
Our mission is to promote the ethical use of photography for positive social change.
We have begun to address the issue through a written and publicly-available statement of ethical practice. We also incorporate this good practice in all our trainings for practitioners and organisations.
Updates on this strand of our work in our monthly e-newsletter
Blogs and articles on the issue on our website
Highlighting instances of good practice
An end-of year report on progress
Budget - Project Cost: £4,000Loading graph....
Amount Heading Description £4,000 Core activity Ongoing activity to counter exploitative imagery
PhotoVoice is UK-based, working out of offices in Brixton, London. However, it is not a single-issue charity and its projects and activities have a worldwide reach.
Under-represented communities (and the organisations that serve them). This activity will provide them with what is currently a rare opportunity for the ‘end-user’ to represent themselves, and seek social change. Their images, and the resources that are developed from them, will be used subsequently for advocacy and communications, influencing programmes, policies and projects.
PhotoVoice has pioneered many award winning, digital media projects with young people, working with partners including Barnardos, NSPCC, Kidz, Chapter 1 and Coram. Working with young refugees, young people affected by social isolation, teen parents and the disabled, we have trained and supported participants to create striking visual imagery that speaks out to relevant audiences on the issues that are important to them.
We are the only UK organisation dedicated to participatory photography.
Read more about the Charity running this project.
Tom will lead on efforts to engage and advocate with charities and NGOs, setting the strategy for how best to achieve the project's aim
Zoe is responsible for our comms output and will highlight project progress and successes through our website and our various social media channels