LiveWell Leadville Launches Photovoice Project
By Katie Baldassar, Lake County Build a Generation Program Director/LiveWell Leadville Coordinator
If you see people around Leadville taking pictures with disposable cameras, they might be part of the Livewell Leadville Photovoice Project. This spring, more than 20 youth and adults will participate in a five month project to use photography to think about how Leadville residents can eat better and exercise more.
Trained volunteers will be documenting barriers and motivators to eating healthy and being active. The issues that emerge from the images and community gatherings will contribute to LiveWell Leadville’s Community Strategic Plan to make Leadville one of the healthiest communities in Colorado—and guide Livewell Colorado’s investment in that plan.
The volunteer photographers attended a kick-off meeting and Photovoice training on March 12, 2013. During the training, all volunteers received a disposable camera and learned about how documentary photography and photojournalism have changed local, state and national affairs. They also learned how similar Photovoice projects have driven change in other LiveWell Colorado communities. Many communities have witnessed significant, positive community changes within months of a Photovoice project.
Photovoice is a tool that has been used all over the world to allow citizens to drive the conversation about a particular issue in their community. Leadville Photovoice photographers will be taking pictures related to health, nutrition and physical activity in the places they live, work, study and play. Photos will help identify key themes around healthy eating and active living in Leadville–and possible strategies for making Leadville an even healthier community. Photovoice photographers will follow strict protocols requiring them to respect privacy and seek permission before using photographs of others.
In late June, the LiveWell Lake County Photovoice images will be exhibited. On July 1, 2013, community photographers will hold a forum called “Image to Action” to elicit innovative ideas about how to achieve a higher level of health for all residents of Leadville. Citizens will consider how to build on past successes and expand community participation in order to address obstacles that prevent people from living a more active and healthy lifestyle.
The Photovoice project is supported by LiveWell Colorado, a statewide organization whose mission is to inspire and advance policy, environmental, and lifestyle changes that promote health through the prevention and reduction of obesity. The project is receiving technical support from Elaine Borton of Sage Health Consulting, who has many years of experience in Photovoice research. LiveWell Leadville is a joint project of the Lake County Health Department and Lake County Build a Generation. Residents are invited to contact Erin Allaman, Julie Lundgren or Katie Baldassar, at Lake County Build a Generation 719-486-4114, to learn more.