Why are we doing it? Exploring participant motivations within a participatory video project

Mistry, Jayalaxshmi; Bignante, Elisa and Berardi, Andrea (2016). Why are we doing it? Exploring participant motivations within a participatory video project. Area, 48(4) pp. 412–418.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/area.12105

Abstract

One of the most recurring strengths attributed to the use of participatory video is its ability to enable social change, advocacy, activism and empowerment. Yet, to what extent is this a joint vision of all parties involved in the participatory video process? Why do researchers and participants do participatory video? What are their differential motivations and how does this affect decisionmaking during the participatory video process? In this paper, we reflect on these questions through discussing participatory video experiences of research carried out by the authors in collaboration with indigenous communities in the North Rupununi, Guyana and in Tumucumaque, Brazil. Participatory video formed part of a project involving local communities, local, national and international civil society organisations and academic researchers. We evaluate the different perceptions and distinct worldviews of the individuals, groups and organisations involved in the participatory video process, and show how these determine the ways in which people participate. We conclude that a significant component of the participatory video process needs to include the iterative surfacing of individual motivations and worldviews using an adaptive research approach. This helps to negotiate expectations of all researchers and participants at different stages of the participatory video, enabling greater outcomes for all participants, while at the same time producing more nuanced and grounded academic research.

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