Expressions By Donna Photo Voice Project
The time is ripe for major change as revitalization efforts get underway in the Northwest Neighborhood of Rutland City. But a recurring challenge is highlighted. Where are the residents of the Neighborhood when decisions about the neighborhood need to be made? Where is the voice of those that will be impacted most by policy changes that may occur? How can residents help define what is most important and communicate to those who have the power to make changes?
With cameras in hand, the Photovoice Project gave 9 neighborhood residents the chance to tell what is happening in this neighborhood through their eyes. It is their chance to record, reflect and relay what is important to them about where they live and the everyday matters that mean the most. This is, in effect, a research project that enables data collection and sharing in a creative way. And the residents are as diverse as their photos: a high school teacher who runs every morning, a retired stone cutter, two middle school aged sisters, a high school student, a city alderwoman, an artist, a Dismas house resident, a mediator.
Each week for five weeks these photographers received instruction from a professional photographer then walked through the streets endeavoring to capture the story they wanted to tell. And each week they came back together to share what they found with their peers. Some came with an idea of what they wanted to share, others were less clear. Through the process they all learned a little more about the community in which they live. Some have changed their perspectives, some have been validated. All have been creative and brave through this process with the hope that positive changes can transpire with the realization their voices are powerful and can be heard.
Special thanks to Donna Goodhale of Expressions By Donna who so generously shared her expertise, time and spirit to this project. Also Patricia Lancaster, Linda Justin and Sherri Durgin Campbell.
And especially to the photographers: Nick Santoro, Sharon Davis, Dylan Smith, Evangeline Lapre, Elivia Lapre, James Tibbits, Stacie Mincher, Cindy Murray and Sherri Durgin Campbell.