Life between Water and Sand

Through a 2-day photography workshop based on the PhotoVoice methodology and 1-day of art therapy activities, residents of Carapongo shantytowns, affected by the 2017 floods and landslides related to a coastal “El Niño” phenomenon, used non-verbal tools to select and portray their own resilience motifs, identify which factors have been most helpful for them in overcoming difficulties and promote their well-being.

Fifteen participants took part in the two-day PhotoVoice workshop, of which the majority had some or minimal experience using a camera. They were taught how to use cameras and, through individual and group practical exercises, shown how to express their feelings and emotions through photography. Following this each participant was given 3 days to take their own photos, for which they chose scenes including a combination of portraits, places or topics, reflecting on what they considered their own resilience motifs. On the second day of the workshop participants were given a printed set of their photos, from which they chose 2-5 photos to develop a caption for. The images were then shared and discussed as a group.

The one-day art therapy workshop involved a new group of 13 participants, of which the majority reported some or minimal experience using art materials. The participants were shown how to use art techniques to express their feelings and emotions, which they then used to create self-portraits; draw personal memories of the El Niño event and relate their feelings with those recollections; and to identify and draw resilience motifs as their personal hopes for the future. The drawings were shared, described and presented to the group, and participants were encouraged to share and discuss the topics with their families and neighbors.

Both the participants and the project team expressed their satisfaction with the workshop activities and their desire that it could be a recurrent event in their communities.

The project results have been further disseminated, in LSHTM newsletters and student blog, PhotoVoice website and in two major Peruvian media communication channels in efforts to achieve the changes that the affected residents so much expect to see in their surroundings.

Project Partners

Emerge - The research unit in Emerging Diseases and Climate Change, part of the Faculty of Public Health of Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia.

Project Volunteers

  • Dr Elba Ramos and artist Annie Flores: supported project design and implementation, presented topics related to resilience and art techniques, and conducted the art therapy workshop.
  • Dr Patricia Bueno and Julia Huachua (Carapongo health centre): provided key logistical support at the centre and supported participant recruitment.
  • Joaquin Rubio and Kurt Van Aert (photographers): provided training and feedback to participants.
  • Manuel Flores and Jean Paul Vaudenay: logistical support.
  • Veronica Atala: photography and assistance
  • Emerge Members: Oliver Elorreaga, Percy Soto, Ricardo Galvez – coordination activities
  • Emerge Volunteers: Walter Navarro, Camila Zaa, Alondra Quispe, Alison Limaylla, Georgette Vetanzo - recruitment process