Call for participants: photovoice project about living with invisible disabilities

Subject: Call for participants: photovoice project about living with invisible disabilities.

Hi All!

I hope you are doing so wonderfully. Can you believe we only have 4 weeks of school left?! We can do it. 

For our my social work classes, Social Work Practice with Community and Social Systems, I am creating a photovoice project to turn in as my final. The project is essentially supposed to summerize my learning from the course through a creative nontraditional way (aka that is not a 20 page research paper, thank goodness). Therefore, I have decided to create a photovoice project and I am super excited.

What is a Photovoice Project?

Photovoice is a method for understanding your issue within the context of diversity and social justice. Often involving 4-10 people,  participants will be asked to submit photos that reflect your understanding of a particular topic (cameras or cell phones are great). The photos are usually accompanied with a brief description of what the photos means to you or why you chose to take it.  Captions can be between 1-3 sentences long. Rule of thumb – if it feels meaningful to you, say it!

What is the focus of my project?

My central question for the project is: What does having an invisible disability mean to you?

So, what do I mean by people living with invisible disabilities?

I am using this project to highlight people with invisible disabilities and their experience being a student, family member, partner, employee, and other intersecting identities. Often times, people with invisible disabilities have their ability/disability assumed and experience a general erasure or underrepresentation. As a person living with Multiple Sclerosis, I often wish that I had a platform to share my experiences and expand  general understandings of disability.

For this reason, this project strives to elevate the experiences and voices of people regarding their experiences of being misidentified or unidentified, as well as their experiences living with an invisible disability.

If you feel like this description fits you in any way, I would be more than grateful for your participation. My goal is to use this photovoice as a tool of self expression and education for the U of M School of Social Work community.

Okay, I am interested. What exactly do you need?

  1. 5-6 participants who feel that they relate to the topic and can share about their experiences
  2. A Total of 10 photos per each participant (use of the prompts below are encouraged but, not required)
  3. A 1-3 sentence caption for each photo (or whatever seems fitting to you!). I invite you to write as little or as much as feels meanfingul, but this is just a general guideline.  

What is the timeline?

The project is due on Monday April 16th and therefore, I would love to recieve all of your photos to my email by Monday April 9th at 1pm. Using the photos of each participant, I will then write a short blog post with my reflections and share it with my professor. Therefore, if you are interested in participating please send me an email by Monday April 2nd. Please refer to the “So, what will you do with all my photos and who will see them?” section for more info!

I’ve heard of photovoice before, isn’t their a group share and discussion component?

You got me! Yes, usually there is. The discussion component is usually used to pull out central themes and have the opportunity to respond to the photos taken by other participants. As I am inviting people to participate from all over the country, we will not be having an in person forum. Instead, I will upload all of the photos by Tuesday April 10th to my blog where you can make comments in a private forum online. I will send you an email when they are available. Alternatively, I may compile the photos onto a google slides presentation where participants can make comments in the margins on individual photos. Either way, the forum is not mandatory and I will brainstorm ways to make sure people can participate anonymously if they wish!

How do I take photos?

The answer to this question is entirely up to you. Using a camera or phone, take photos that feel meaningful to you and that capture your story. Feel free to use the questions above to talk about your experiences. Photos can include pictures of you, locations, objects, they can be literal interpretations or metaphors. Photos do not need to be works of art! Please be mindful to get the consent of anyone you may include in your photos.

Additional Questions to prompt/guide your photos:

*These questions may seem silly but, they are too inspire your thinking.

What does an invisible disability feel like? Smell like? Taste like? Sound like?

What do you wish others would understand, acknowledge, or see?

What/who are obstacles in your life?

What/who reminds you of who you are?

What other identities do you hold?

How do they overlap/intersect with living with an invisible disability?

What does community mean to you? How does your community uplift you?

What do your community (ies) look like?

How do you feel represented in the world, on the U of M campus, at home?


How to I create captions for each photo?

This is also up to you! A 1-3 sentence caption for each photo is usually the general guideline however, I invite you to write as little or as much as feels meanfingul. You can describe the image, include song lyric or poem to accompany the image, caption the image with a title, caption the image by sharing why you took it or why it matters, or you could talk about what it felt like to take the specific image/what feelings came up for you/what was hard/easy, etc..

So, what will you do with all my photos and who will see them?

After receiving  photos and their captions from each participant, I  will take the collective photos and identify themes related to the photos and include them in a blog entry for my class in the School of Social Work. I will summarize the project as a whole, identify specific themes from the photos, and share what I learned. Your photos do not have to include any identifying information about you or your name, unless you feel comfortable. I would likely include just your first name with your permission. My blog post and the photos collected will be published on my private blog that can only be seen by my classmates for the course that this project is assigned to. Of course, I will also share the blog post with you because it includes your work!  


If you would like to participate and taking photos and it is not accessible to you, please let me know.  Whether obtaining a camera or physically taking photos is not accessible to you, I would be thrilled to think up other ways to make the process/experience feel meaningful to you. Basically, if you are interested in participating, I would love to make it work! Please don’t hesitate to reach me with further questions.

Thank you so much for your consideration in advance and for reading my email! Please feel free to contact me with any questions and forward this project to people who you think may be interested!





2 thoughts on “Call for participants: photovoice project about living with invisible disabilities

  1. Hey Matoaka, I really like your idea of this photo-voice project on invisible disability. Invisible disabilities are often left out when people are discussing the issue of disability. I’d love to see how people use photos to show their experiences with invisible disabilities. One thing I noticed in the photo-voice class is that people tend to show their vulnerabilities and struggles in the photo-voice projects. I personally feel that photo-voice could also be positive, and it could be a very useful way to promote the positive thinking in the community as well as raising the positive awareness in the public. I am looking to seeing if anyone will share such experiences in their photos.


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