Our group engaged in a digital storytelling project using a process that has turned out to be similar to a photovoice method (Wang & Burris, 1997). We used a website to initially gather the images for our project, and aside from a few days of working out the details, that choice turned out to be a good one which I would make again in a future project. The site theme was specifically designed to crowd-source images while allowing for, but not requiring, anonymity. A second phase of our data collection occurred during class on Nov 5 when we led the rest of the class through a 1-2-4-All sharing conversation based on the activity described at liberatingstructures.com/1-2-4-all (Lipmanowicz & McCandless, n.d.).

Given the time-constraints in the class and the knowledge that a guest speaker would be joining us at the end of class, we correctly anticipated that we would have very limited time. It was our intention to use the class time to fully re-categorize the submitted images based on the results of the 1-2-4-All process, but this turned out to be impossible. This fact turned out to be very significant as we analyzed our data. We were unable to adequately work with our co-researcher classmates to generate deep conversation about the images we all submitted. Fortunately, we were able to gather relatively rich data through both phases of our collection process and we were diligent about attempting to focus on what the group was trying to say.

The group I facilitated suggested the new category of ‘before, during, and after’ class as different times with different indicators of community. The group noted that at the beginning of each class session, there is lots of chatter and conversation, followed by more focused work, and ending rather abruptly at 7:30 with many people needing to depart for home or other obligations. We were able to identify submitted images in the data that fit this category, providing some measure of confidence that this preliminary categorization would be appropriate.

I believe that the most significant thing we could change in a future project with a similar structure would be to allow for much more time to view, think about, and discuss the submitted images. This would provide a richer sense of how the images could be re-categorized and allow us to dive into why people chose the images they did and why they categorized them as they did (Hinzo & Clark, 2019).

I did not anticipate identifying emergent categories in our analysis of the images, but feel that the two emergent categories we report (‘silent people’ and ‘weaponized community’) were appropriate and in alignment with Mazzei’s (2007) cautionary views on participatory action research and the importance of paying attention to the silences in the data.

One thing that I regret and will carry with me as a lesson is that my voice was too overpowering in the beginning. This was not intentional, but I had a clear idea of what we could do and others quickly became interested as well and volunteered to join me. As others came on board, I was intentional about letting them guide the process and offer suggestions, but I think I will need to do better in future projects.


Hinzo, A. M., & Clark, L. S. (2019). Digital survivance and Trickster humor: Exploring visual and digital Indigenous epistemologies in the #NoDAPL movement. Information, Communication & Society, 22(6), 791–807. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2019.1573911

Lipmanowicz, H., & McCandless, K. (n.d.). Liberating Structures—1. 1-2-4-All. Retrieved November 16, 2019, from http://www.liberatingstructures.com/1-1-2-4-all/

Mazzei, L. A. (2007). Toward a problematic of silence in action research. Educational Action Research, 15(4), 631–642. https://doi.org/10/dfp2zp

Wang, C., & Burris, M. A. (1997). Photovoice: Concept, Methodology, and Use for Participatory Needs Assessment. Health Education & Behavior, 24(3), 369–387. https://doi.org/10/bgww5v