Resilience and wellbeing through photography: how might images influence community capacity building?

PhD Thesis


Smith, Anne Suse. 2019. Resilience and wellbeing through photography: how might images influence community capacity building? PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland. https://doi.org/10.26192/3h64-dz85
Title

Resilience and wellbeing through photography: how might images influence community capacity building?

TypePhD Thesis
Authors
AuthorSmith, Anne Suse
SupervisorMcDonald, Janet
Cavaye, Jim
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages262
Year2019
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.26192/3h64-dz85
Abstract

This research responds to the increasing number of significant challenges faced by regional communities, as evidenced by the ongoing crippling drought in Central Western Queensland. Natural disasters pose both unpredictable and severe threats to the wellbeing and resilience of individuals and communities (Bhamra, Dani & Burnard, 2011). The use of expressive processes to respond to crises is one way to increase resilience. The question 'To what extent does participation in an image-producing project foster resilience?' became my key point of departure to explore how photographic images might promote resilience and capacity building for communities faced with environmental crises.

This research investigates whether encouraging people to express their experiences through photography could increase resilience during the ongoing drought crisis in the communities of the Barcaldine region in Central Western Queensland. It investigates the connection between images, resilie'ce and wellbeing. The findings particularly relate to the “third wave' of resilience inquiry, which focuses on the use of creative expression (Richardson, 2002). The use of Grounded Theory and reflective practice to gather, code and analyse my findings allowed me to slowly accumulate data over time, and permit the findings to 'bubble up' from the image-making site in Barcaldine. I curated these images (reification) to produce a significant exhibition at The Globe gallery in Barcaldine, entitled Our Strength During The Drought (2018).

From this process, I developed four key assertions: 1) Wellbeing is relational and vital to resilience; 2) Photography can effectively express experiences of drought to promote wellbeing; 3) Reification is a practice for resilience; and 4) The project is a model of emergent community capacity building. I then went on to propose a Resilience Through Images Model, which outlines six interlinking steps to follow in order to use image making to respond to environmental disasters. This model can be implemented in the event of extreme weather or crisis events to help communities build resilience, wellbeing and capacity.

Keywordsimages, resilience, capacity, wellbeing, disasters, climate change
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020360604. Photography, video and lens-based practice
410102. Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Creative Arts
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https://research.usq.edu.au/item/q5xw1/resilience-and-wellbeing-through-photography-how-might-images-influence-community-capacity-building

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