Freetown through a citizens’ media lens – neighbourhood planning using participatory photography

I facilitated a one-week workshop in Freetown, Sierra Leone in February 2018 as a collaboration between the Bartlett Development Planning Unit at University College London and the Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre. The workshop brought together a group of ten participants from two Freetown informal settlements, Cockle Bay and Dwarzack, in order to utilise a participatory photography (PP) methodology that could feed into the ongoing SLURC research on ‘The Role of Action Area Plans for Inclusive City-Making in Freetown’.
 

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The workshop design encouraged participants to consider issues of their choosing faced by their communities, to explain the context of these issues and their impact on residents, consider both current and potential solutions, and finally to include barriers to these.

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The workshop also emerged from consideration of the role that citizens’ media could play in urban planning, and how groups of citizen journalists could use photography as a tool to self-represent, tell their own narratives, recodify collective identities and interact with mainstream media discourses. A long-term intention for the legacy of the workshop is to begin developing a network of potential citizen journalists who could continue to produce audio-visual outputs for SLURC.

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Forced evictions on the waterfronts of Lagos

In Lagos, an estimated two thirds of the city's 23 million inhabitants live in informal settlements, where a lack of security of tenure is a defining characteristic. Without it, residents live in constant fear of eviction.

I spent time in two communities of Lagos that have been impacted by forced evictions. The full galleries covering each community can be found in the galleries on Otodo Gbame and Sogunro.

The story was also published on Social Documentary Network.

Exploring well-being narratives through participatory video in Lagos

I was part of a team of facilitators from the Bartlett Development Planning Unit at University College London and Justice & Empowerment Initiatives (JEI), a Lagos-based NGO, to realise a workshop that explored the impact of the threat of evictions on the wellbeing of residents.

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The workshop utilised participatory video as an action-learning methodology to consider a number of questions, namely: How people have faced the threat of evictions in Nigerian cities? What role has/could participatory well-being analysis through participatory video play in the urban poor’s struggles to secure tenure and avoid forced evictions?

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