Universität Bielefeld

© Universität Bielefeld


Photovoice is a technique by which the taking of photographs or videos - usually by people who are disadvantaged, ignored, and/or discriminated against - becomes a means of both self-expression and personal and intellectual growth. In addition, participants essentially function as participatory action researchers, documenting conditions and problems in ways that can be used for community assessment and as a spur to policy makers and other officials to institute community change

(Rabinowitz, o.J.: o.S.).


by Mira Püschel and Leila Angod

This exhibition displays five student projects from the seminar 'Decolonizing Educational Research' offered by Dr. Leila Angod. These projects engage with the topic of colonialism and the politics of knowledge production.

We used 'PhotoVoice' as a research method to inquire into how colonialism shapes their social worlds, drawing on course readings and discussions to build their analyses. The projects address a wide range of different topics, giving insight into and opening a debate on the multi-layered and multi-faceted notion of what it means to decolonize educational research and to decolonize schools, universities, and other spaces where we learn who gets to be more human than others.

These projects are our way of enacting and being in conversation with the key text that we studied in this course: 'Decolonizing Educational Research' by Leigh Patel (2016). The quote in the title of the exhibition, „routinely and lovingly scrutinizing narratives“ (p. 89), is cited from Patel's book. This description of a pathway for pursuing a decolonizing practice is one that resonated with the class.

With the projects displayed here we wish to raise these three questions about teaching and learning (in a broad sense) in the German context:

  • Under what circumstances is knowledge produced (in educational science)?
  • Who has the authority to produce knowledge (in educational science)?
  • Which types of knowledge production exist, which are acceptable, and under what terms (in educational science)?

We hope to enliven these questions within the spaces where we live, in particular our faculty and university. This exhibition is supposed to be a space of critical reflection (silent or in conversation), a space to challenge and question traditional, habitual, internalized, objectified, and canonized knowledge.

The exhibition is a cooperation of the course participants and the Fachschaft Erziehungs-wissenschaft. It takes place as part of the series of events '(Un)Möglichkeiten der Hochschulbildung'?'(Im)Possibilities of Higher Education' of the Fachschaft Erziehungs-wissenschaft. We thank the Office of the Dean and the Faculty of Educational Science for supporting this exhibition and making it possible to open these conversations at a faculty level and beyond.

[...] we strained against the pervasive lie that there can be any knowledge or pursuit of knowledge devoid of context, power, and material impact

(Patel, 2016: x).

  • El-Tayeb, Fatima (1999): „Blood Is a Very Special Juice“: Racialized Bodies and Citizenship in Twentieth-Century Germany. International Review of Social History, 44(S7), 149-169.
  • Patel, Leigh (2016): Decolonizing educational research. Series in critical narrative. New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.
  • Rabinowitz, Phil (o.J.): Section 20. Implementing Photovoice in Your Community. [online: https://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/assessment/assessing-community-needs-and-resources/photovoice/main].