The University of Malta’s seminar series Work in Progress in the Social Studies (WIPSS), which has now entered its 21st year, will tomorrow hold the seminar ‘Empowering Bodies: How and Why Making Photographs Makes Children ‘Do’ Malaria Differently’.

Dalia Iskander will show how and why the process of making and sharing photographs (a method called photovoice) can potentially alter how children from the indigenous Palawan ethnic group in the Philippines prevent and treat malaria.

Current literature suggests that approaches such as photovoice ‘empower’ individuals to make changes in their lives by changing the way they think i.e. by acting as a kind of representation of reality that people can look at, consciously deliberate on and then use to guide their practices.

In contrast, Iskander argues that photovoice might also be effective because in the process of making and using material objects that show malaria practices, children simultaneously practically change the way their own bodies deal with malaria. She illustrates this through photographs that capture the “moments of engagement” in this project.

These images reveal that the process of making and sharing photographs did not just lead children to consciously think differently about their practice but also facilitated them to unconsciously do different things.

Iskander is a teaching fellow in medical anthropology at University College London. Her research focuses on malaria and infectious diseases and the use of participatory visual techniques. She has a PhD in medical anthropology from the University of Durham and an MSc in medical anthropology and BA in archaeology and anthropology from the University of Oxford.

WIPSS is convened by Paul Clough (anthropology), Peter Mayo (education) and Michael Briguglio (sociology).

The seminar will take place tomorrow at 6pm at the University’s Faculty of Arts library, on the third floor of the Old Humanities Building, at the end of the corridor next to Room 301. It will be followed by a discussion. Students are encouraged to attend and the public is invited.


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