In 2008, the Medical University of South Carolina and the disAbility Resource Center collaborated to conduct a community-based, participatory research study called PhotoVoice. I was one of ten individuals with spinal cord injuries who participated in the project where we took photos of how we live each day from a wheelchair. This advocacy project allowed us to educate the community on living with a disability. Each member photographed items that were facilitators and barriers of accessibility.
I took a photo of Calhoun Annex, a building on the College of Charleston campus. Located on the second floor were the radio station and other student media offices; however, there wasn’t an elevator in the building. So, I hosted my show, “The A Train,” from a laptop computer in a remote location. Even though I was able to broadcast my show, it wasn’t the same as being in the studio.
With the support of school administrators and the disability services office, an elevator was installed. This provided access for me and other students and staff with disabilities.
It was a rewarding experience to be in the studio and operate the equipment in the radio station. I also contributed to Cougar Television and the school newspaper, the George Street Observer.
Using photography to send a message is a powerful tool. Please look at the video of some of our photos from the PhotoVoice project.