Critically examining participation, power, ethics and the co-construction of knowledge in a community-based photovoice research project with LGBTQ former foster youth
This chapter highlights our community-based, arts-informed research project with 25 LGBTQ-identified foster youth in Los Angeles, California. This arts-informed research project involved photovoice methodology, which provided individuals with cameras to photo-document their lived experiences. In so doing, we placed the power of representation in their hands, as the youth used photography to photo-document their lived experiences before, during and after foster care. We critically examine the ways we engaged in the research process with our participants and within the LGBTQ former foster youth community. We highlight the multilayered and complex ethical issues encountered when participating in arts-based research with LGBTQ foster youth, and how these challenges may be overcome throughout the various stages of the research process. When participating in this photovoice project, we encountered power over, power with and power to do in our interactions with the institution, the participants and the broader community. This chapter provides our critical reflections of this engagement with a community advisory board, various stakeholders, foster youth and audience members who interacted with our research findings through two community-based photography exhibits, a community-informed dialogue session, a graffiti board and an interactive website. We conclude with the individual and collective transformative aspects of our research.