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A Classroom In The Museum

In April this year, a group of Year 3 DADP students attended a guided tour of the Photovoice SG exhibition, which was held at the National Museum of Singapore. This visit was part of our curriculum for the module, 'Media for Social Outreach'.


These series of photos had 'food' as the main 
theme and they were displayed creatively on
a dining table 
 

Photovoice SG is a non-profit community arts organisation that consists of a team of photographers and professionals from the creative industry. The group’s aim is to enable fringe communities to express themselves through photography.


These photographs were taken by a person who is
HIV-positive and the images captured his thoughts
and feelings about living with HIV 
 

The exhibition showcases a compilation of photographs taken from four of the group’s projects: 'Spectrum Through The Lens', 'Breaking Walls, Seeing Stories', 'kal-eidos-cope' and 'Picture Positive'.


The story behind one of the participant’s
series
of photographs

The exhibition and the sharing from the photographers who started Photovoice SG made me realise how similar the concepts and methods used in Participatory Photography are to that of Applied Drama. With both art forms, the art (photography and drama) is not the end result but a tool instead.
 
As the term "participatory" suggests, Photovoice SG believes in a co-led process where the facilitator and participants have a shared stake in leading the process of learning together. One of the photographers, Ngiap Heng, mentioned Paulo Freire's 'Pedagogy of the Oppressed', which we had learnt in the module Introduction to Theatre for Intervention. It was interesting to see that Freire's theory of having the student and teacher be 'co-creators of knowledge' can be applied not only in education but to different art forms as well.

Photovoice SG's exhibition was an eye opener for me as I gained fresh insights into the many ways to give communities a voice. Having done Applied Drama for the past two years, I think I have forgotten that drama is not the only method one can use to work with communities. Photography is also a powerful tool for one to show another how they see the world around them.

Art truly is more than an end-product. It is a powerful tool for empowerment as well.  I'm definitely looking forward to learning more about the different media we can use for social outreach in this module.

Overall, the exhibition was wonderful because we experienced first-hand the power of art and media for social outreach and also saw how the theories that we learnt in class came to life.
 
Written by
Janessa Sit
Year 3, Diploma in Applied Drama and Psychology