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Roman R. Williams

Visual research shows promise in the study of congregations. And with so many people carrying cameras to worship services in the form of a smartphone, opportunities abound for those interested in visual approaches to engagement and research. This article explores the potential of a participatory action technique known as photovoice in congregational settings through a case study of a church located in the midwestern region of the United States. Photovoice, it is argued, gives participants permission to discuss matters of personal significance, builds relational bridges across differences (in this case, across different age cohorts), and may help a congregation to see itself from new perspectives. Likewise, the materials produced in a photovoice project comprise a rich collection of data that may be analyzed by a researcher to explore themes central to their research agenda. When used in conjunction with familiar ethnographic practices such as fieldnotes and interviews, photovoice can become a valuable component of a project that pursues both research and engagement.

Series:

Roman R. Williams, William L. Sachs, Catherine Holtmann, Elena G. van, Kaitlyn Eekhoff, Michael Bos and Ammar Amonette