IHACC Annual Meeting: Year 3


This year, the annual meeting was held in Buhoma in the Kanungu District of Uganda and took place from the 9th to the 11th of July. Issues having arisen during the second year of the project were discussed, and strategies forward for year three were developed. Team members also had the opportunity to visit one of the project’s partnering research communities, the Mukongoro Batwa settlement, accompanied by the Batwa Development Program’s Sabastian Twesigomwe. The team was greeted with songs and dances, and shared a traditional meal prepared by community members.

Fieldwork in the Peruvian Amazon, in Pictures

Photographs taken by Mya Sherman, a first-year graduate student pursuing an M.A. in Geography during fieldwork in summer 2011 in the Peruvian Amazon. This fieldwork was part of the IHACC research program and used participatory methods to explore how researchers could best work with Shipibo and Shawi ethnic groups in future research collaborations.

Anna's Fieldwork in Iqaluit, September 2012


Photographs and text by Anna Bunce.

Food security and stomach illness related to water borne disease are two issues Northern Canadians grapple with on daily basis. The Indigenous Adaptation to Climate Change (IHACC) research group conducted household surveys of Iqaluit and Rigolet residents in an attempt to determine how climate change is contributing to food security and illnesses. Over three weeks, four IHACC researchers from the University Guelph and McGill worked with a team of 16 local surveyors in Iqaluit to administer these surveys in over 500 randomly selected homes. The aim of the project is to extend the use of the data beyond research and into local programming. The information will be shared with the Public Health Agency of Canada and the local government for future policy planning. IHACC also has funds reserved to develop locally specific programming to address issues revealed by the survey data.


Photovoice results can be found below.

What is PhotoVoice?

PhotoVoice (PV) is participatory research tool designed to empower marginalized communities to share their knowledge through the visual medium of photography. PV aims to:

  1. Enable people to record and reflect community strengths and concerns;
  2. Promote critical dialogue;
  3. Reach policymakers.

How is PhotoVoice used?

Photo voice is applied in four steps:

  1. An initial workshop presents the methodology, discusses ethics in research with community members, and trains them in the use digital cameras.
  2. Trainees become co-researchers in the project and are asked to document a specific issue. The IHACC pilot projects asked participants to answer the question “How does the environment affect your health?” They were given 2-3 days to take pictures.
  3. Participants meet with researchers to sort through pictures and select 2-3 key photographs that most reflect the question
  4. Finally, a closing group workshop allows for reflection on and discussion of photographs and their meanings. Participants are then asked to contextualize and codify photographs.

Why use PhotoVoice?

PV was used in IHACC pilot study because it is a method that allows communities to actively engage in research and define priorities. Participants take ownership of the research and have the time to tailor their participation into their daily schedule, recording issues throughout their daily activities. For example, IHACC pilot study participants would take their cameras to their fields and on their fishing boats. Unlike most participatory methodologies, PV does not require long workshops where participants are made to think and reflect on their lives on the spot. PV allows participants to take their time to consider the research questions, think about what they want to communicate to the research team and policy makers, before coming back to the group for discussion. Consequently, PV is a means for the community to talk about issues that might otherwise be left unheard. During pilot research, PV emerged as particularly useful for documenting the importance of traditional medicines and approaches to health, and effective for oral cultures with their focus on narrative, context, stories, and sharing.

Use in the main project

PV methodologies will be further used and developed during the IHACC program. In particular, participants will be given cameras for a longer period of time to capture seasonality in health risks, document variation in adaptive mechanisms over time and by risk, and highlight opportunities for adaptation. The use of PV for surveillance and monitoring will also be explored.

Results from each of the photovoice workshops can be found below - In order to view the quotations, click the play button on each slideshow, and select ' show info' from the top of the flickr menu bar.