Participatory video and citizen voice – We’ve raised their voices: is anyone listening?

  • Tamara Plush


Sheathed in the glamour of filmmaking and technical innovation, participatory video (PV) is often evangelised as a communication for development methodology that intrinsically fosters transformative social and political change. Such celebratory notions, however, can obscure the complexity facing participatory video practice in achieving significant response to the inequities PV participants face. In reply, I offer the principles of representation, recognition and response as a potential pathway for more meaningful citizen engagement and action. Doing so challenges the idea that using PV primarily to help people on the margins represent their concerns through film is enough to shift deep-rooted inequities of power. Rather, my argument suggests that participatory video approaches aimed at raising citizen voice require a broader framing of practice: one that positions key decision-makers watching the films to both value marginalised voice, and responsively listen.

Author Biography

Tamara Plush
Tamara Plush is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Communication and Social Change at the University of Queensland, and a visual storytelling facilitator. Her PhD research focuses on how participatory video can enable equitable citizen voice in international development contexts. E-mail: