Navigating Voice, Vocabulary and Silence: Developing Critical Consciousness in a Photovoice Project with (Un)Paid Care Workers in Long-Term Care

Saskia Elise Duijs, Tineke Abma, Janine Schrijver, Zohra Bourik, Yvonne Abena-Jaspers, Usha Jhingoeri, Olivia Plak, Naziha Senoussi, Petra Verdonk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Photovoice is a widely used approach for community participation in health promotion and health promotion research. However, its popularity has a flip-side. Scholars raise concerns that photovoice drifts away from its emancipatory roots, neglecting photovoice’s aim to develop critical consciousness together with communities. Our four-year photovoice project aimed to unravel how the health of (un)paid care workers was shaped at the intersection of gender, class and race. This article springs from first, second and third-person inquiry within our research team of (un)paid care workers, academic researchers and a photographer. We observed that critical consciousness emerged from an iterative process between silence, voice and vocabulary. We learned that photovoice scholars need to be sensitive to silence in photovoice projects, as silence can be the starting point for finding voice, but also a result of silencing acts. Social movements and critical theories, such as intersectionality, provide a vocabulary for participants to voice their critical perspectives to change agents and to support collective action. We discuss our experiences using Frickers’ concept of ‘epistemic justice’, arguing that critical consciousness not only requires that communities are acknowledged as reliable knowers, but that they need access to interpretative tropes to voice their personal experiences as structural.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5570
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022


  • community participation
  • critical consciousness
  • epistemic justice
  • intersectionality
  • long-term care
  • occupational health
  • paid care workers
  • participatory health research
  • photovoice
  • unpaid care workers

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