S. Lorenz, PhD, MA, MEd -
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
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
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.