Empowerment for the Future: An Examination of Creative Identity of Young Indigenous Australians

By Luciana Vasques Barbosa.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This project aims to work with Indigenous youth to develop their ideas of their future using therapeutic photography techniques.

Therapeutic photography techniques are photographic practices done by people themselves (in situations where the skills of a trained therapist or counselor are not needed) to increase their own self-knowledge and awareness, activate positive social change, strengthen communities, improve intercultural relations, reduce conflict, bring attention to issues of social injustice, deepen visual literacy, enhance education, expand qualitative research methodologies and produce other kinds of photo-based healing or learning.

Aligned with contemporary practices (developed methodologies) of therapeutic photography with focus on the production of self-portraits, the concept of empowerment rises from the growth process of inner power of each individual that uses the photographic dialogue in order to realize the multiplicity of meanings embodied in the work of art. One’s resulting perception of the ‘self’ in relation to the ‘other’, to the world and oneself fosters introspection, self-questioning and individuation.

Through using this technique the facilitator aims to develop in the youths, the abilities and capacity to engage with the photographic media, as well as create a set of images that they can proudly point to as their vision for their future.

Keywords: Self-portrait, Empowerment, Therapeutic Photography, Creativity, Identity, Community, Photography, Art Education, Visual Art

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp.275-282. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.732MB).

Luciana Vasques Barbosa

Graduate Student, School of Media and Communication, RMIT, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

I am a Brazilian photographer whose authorial work has grown around self-portraiture and have worked commercially mostly with portraiture after I graduated from SENAC, the only BA in Photography degree offered in Latin America. For the past 5 years I have worked as a youth art educator and have become increasingly interested in the psychology of arts and education, which has led me to focus on the established fields of Phototherapy and Therapeutic Photography. Two years ago, I attended an international conference in the later mentioned fields, and since then have been elaborating on a project that would examine the power of self-portraiture as an engagement tool towards learning the photographic medium and oneself as a creative entity. I am currently taking an MA in Photography (by research) at RMIT, where I also teach a Photography elective class. I truly look forward to sharing my findings and exchanging experiences with other practitioners and academics.

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