Resettlement Through The Eyes of Refugees

January 28, 2018 through March 16, 2018 -- Malletts Creek Branch: Exhibits

Photographs with Text: Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County

"Photovoice” is the process of putting cameras in the hands of traditionally marginalized community members to allow them to record, reflect on, and share their community’s strengths and concerns. Photovoice participants have the opportunity to capture their current experiences through pictures, with the goal of sparking dialogue and action related to the themes depicted in the photos.

In the fall of 2016, a group of refugees from Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, and Iran met weekly with a facilitator and translators to engage in a Photovoice project at Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County. Together they learned about the Photovoice method and about composing photographs, issues of ethics and safety, and visual storytelling. They were then given digital cameras.

Guided by prompts such as “When I first arrived in the U.S…”, “What is most challenging about living here?” “What makes you feel welcome?” and “What does ‘home’ mean?” they were asked to photograph moments in their daily lives that had meaning for them as they worked to make a new home in the Ann Arbor area.

The resulting exhibit consists of 26 insightful photos-with-narratives that will illuminate the experience of adjusting to life in a new land. As you view this Photovoice exhibit, we hope that you will consider what it means to be a newcomer and what role you can play in sharing our community with recently resettled refugees.