Head Injured People (HIP) - Participatory Photography Project

About HIP in Cheshire

Their aim is to provide information, local social interaction and mutual support topeople who have received a brain injury, their families and carers.They arrange meetings throughout the year at different venues within Cheshire.

Currently Brain Injury and its effects are not widely understood in and by Society. Hip in Cheshire want to increase local awareness of Brain Injured people, their impairments and positive role they can and do play in society.

The Participatory Photography Project with HIP in Cheshire

The project was a 6 week participatory photography project delivered at a community centre in Ellesmere Port. The participants were a group of 8 adults who had suffered from some form of brain injury. The project was advertised to the service users and those wishing to take part signed up to attend.

The main aims of the project were:

  • to assist the service users in learning new photography skills
  • to explore the use of photography as a form of communication, self expression and as a creative outlet
  • to provide an opportunity to interact with other service users and discuss personal experiences
  • to encourage service users to use photography to help with mental focus 


The weekly sessions were generally broken into 4 main parts:

  • Discussion: Using photographic prints as a starting point, the group would discuss topics including individual experiences, advocacy, story telling through photography and adding context through accompanying texts.
  • Practical: Working alone or in teams the group would be given a photography based task (e.g. photo treasure hunt) to complete within an allotted time frame. Each team or individual would then present the work created back to the rest of the group.
  • Reflection: The group would discuss and share thoughts and experiences of that weeks session.
  • Independent Task: Each participant was asked to carry out a simple photo project during the following week to be presented back to the group at the next session. 


The feedback from the group was extremely positive, as was the feedback from the Service provider. An evaluation questionnaire was completed by the participants at the end of the project, a summary of these can be seen below:

  • 4 participants either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement: "I am more confident in myself in general day to day life"
  • All 7 participants either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement: "I have a better understanding of the different uses and possibilities of the photographic image"
  • All 7 participants either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement: "I have changed the way that I interpret photographs that I encounter on a day to day basis"
  • All 7 participants either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement: "I am able to use photography as a way to communicate or express how I am feeling better than before the project"

Here are some examples of the open feedback provided on the evaluation questionnaire:

"It surprised me how it forced me to think differently about photography and I believe it has been a positive step towards rehabilitation.  Excellent camaraderie experience and I would highly recommend it."

"Johnathan has a great style of delivery in terms of pace, good use of empathy, humour and subject knowledge. Well suited to ABI survivors.  I've thoroughly enjoyed the course and have personally developed more self confidence and well-being after each session"

Using Format