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Exhibit gives voice to urban youth

January 15, 2010

This month, a unique traveling photography exhibit by children comes to the ASU Museum of Anthropology. Designed to give a voice to urban youth – and gain their critical input about health challenges in their own community – the South Phoenix Photovoice Project presents a vast array of images captured by a group of fifth and sixth graders from South Phoenix.

For 12 weeks in 2009, the budding photographers gathered every Saturday afternoon at the South Mountain Salvation Army community center to learn about photography and the philosophy of Photovoice, as well as how to identify and discuss issues relating to health, nutrition, exercise, body image and advertising. They also learned how to tell stories about social issues through photography, discussed ethics and power in photography and took “photowalks” around the neighborhood to practice their photography skills and assess the health environment of the area. Once they learned the fundamentals, they were given weekly assignments and then returned to download their digital images and discuss the photos with the help of project facilitators.

The goals of the project were to enable these children to use photographic images to document and reflect on the needs and assets of their community, from their own point of view; to promote dialogue about community issues through group discussion about their photographs; and to encourage positive change by communicating points of concern and pride to policymakers and community members through a culminating photography exhibit.

Seline Szkupinski Quiroga, project co-director and ASU professor, says the South Phoenix Photovoice Project provides a valuable opportunity for health care professionals, policy-makers and residents of the area to learn about South Phoenix’s health and wellbeing dynamics, as seen “through the ‘eyes’ of youth.” She says the project also empowers children to recognize and tackle the problems in which they are embedded, “which is the only way we will be able to make sustainable change.”

The exhibit will run from Jan. 26 to March 12. Admission is free. The ASU Museum of Anthropology is in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, located at the corner of Tyler and Cady Malls on the ASU Tempe campus. Visitor parking is available in the nearby Fulton Center garage on College Ave. or in metered spaces around campus. For more detailed location and parking information, visit the Web site

This project is funded by the Association of State & Territorial Public Health Nutrition Directors and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in collaboration with the Arizona Department of Health Services, Arizona State University and the Salvation Army Phoenix South Mountain Corps Community Center.

For more details, call the museum at 480-965-6224, or visit

Catherine Nichols,
ASU Museum of Anthropology
Telephone: 480-965-6224