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As of: 11-18-2018

Laura S. Lorenz, PhD, MA, MEd - Biography

LAURA is an EDUCATOR,  EVALUATOR, AND RESEARCHER - Laura discovered Photovoice while exploring arts-based approaches to youth programming and civic engagement for a Masters in Instructional Design (Adult Education) in 2000. Having worked as a photo-journalist for international agencies in Africa and Asia, she was used to taking the photographs herself. Photovoice flipped that around as Laura designed a Photovoice civic engagement project with girls aged 11 to 16 for Girls Inc. of Greater Lowell – with girls in charge of the cameras! That first small project (2001) won a national award and led to a Photovoice facilitator’s guide (2003), developed with funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Next, Laura collaborated with the Youth Academy, a non-profit group in Mdantsane Township, Eastern Cape, South Africa to document Township resources and problems from a youth perspective. Funded by the Equity Project of the Government of South Africa and the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Youth Academy Photovoice exhibit was posted at the Eastern Cape’s regional capital for two years.

Intrigued about some participants’ transformation from shy and retiring to confident and active, Laura wanted to learn more about the camera as a research and empowerment tool. In 2004 she enrolled in a doctoral program at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University. For her dissertation study  in health policy and health services research she used Photovoice with brain injury patients and a brain injury support group to understand lived experience with brain injury, and the policy and practice implications of their experience. The study resulted in numerous peer-review papers and posters and has inspired brain injury Photovoice projects in other states.

Since completing her PhD in 2008, Laura has (1) facilitated Photovoice trainings for medical schools, professional societies, community funding organizations, government agencies, and others; (2) offered Photovoice professional development courses for clinicians, researchers, educators, students, and managers; and (3) served on dissertation committees for students using Photovoice and other arts-based methods.

Laura has also served as a consultant on Photovoice projects, for example to (1) understand the experiences of patients with anxiety disorder who seek treatment in the emergency department for cardiac care, (2) create a service learning opportunity for students to improve social integration of elders, and (3) engage African immigrants in Greater Boston to document and reduce HIV-related stigma.

In 2018, Laura inaugurated an online professional development course “Talking with Pictures: Photovoice” offered through the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Outreach College and Center on Disability Studies. For more information, click here to go to our Training and Consulting page.

Laura received her PhD in social policy (health policy/health services research) from Brandeis University (2008) and a Master of Education (Instructional Design/Adult Education) from the University of Massachusetts Boston (2001). She holds a BA in English Literature from Bowdoin College.

The bio above describes Laura’s work with Photovoice. For a complete view of her (Bio, Works, CV, etc) please visit her personal website click here.


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