Rural & Northern Economic Development: Community Planning Tools

Photovoice for Community Development

As you make plans for the future, it's important to consider where you are today and how you can address opportunities and challenges on the horizon.

Photovoice is a method that organizations and communities can use to identify and discuss issues that lead to taking action. Here’s how the process works:

  • People are given cameras and asked to take photographs to illustrate a certain theme or community issue. 
  • Participants are asked to provide their thoughts about the photographs they take as the related to the theme.
  • The photographs and stories are collected organized and presented to an audience as a catalyst to encourage discussion and change.

Photovoice helps communities and organizations talk about common issues and find ways to take action on the issues.

Where Photovoice has been used

Photovoice has been successfully used as a research method for data collection and a tool for community capacity building. For example:

  • A rural women’s group in Northern Ireland used Photovoice community relations.
  • The Rural Development Institute of Brandon University used this method to engage and study rural and northern youth in Leaf Rapids and Souris.
  • Grade 6 students, and the Retired Teachers Association in Virden, participated in a Photovoice project and presented their stories to the local chamber and town council. The experience provided a set of actions that will and continue to bring improvement to the community.

Photovoice is a relatively new tool that takes into consideration that we are living in a visual world where change is often motivated by what we see, not just by what we hear and what we think.


For more information

GET staff can provide advice, path finding and facilitation support to rural communities pursuing local economic development.

Contact the Economic Development Specialists at

Top of the page