“Observations through Photovoice” is a creative, participatory, semester-long project, piloted in 2015, that adapts photovoice, a participatory, ethnographic research method, to engage students in a large survey-style Introduction to Anthropology course.

This semester-long project, piloted in 2015, invites UNF undergraduate students to demonstrate their understanding of central themes in anthropology (socialization, gender, “race”, for example) by taking digital photographs that capture these cultural phenomena in their social worlds. Throughout the semester, students use Flickr, an online, social photography service, to classify and contextualize their images, survey their fellow classmates’ photos, and add to their collections as they learn new anthropological concepts. to respond to exploratory themes in anthropology by taking digital photographs of their surroundings. Students have the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of basic, and increasingly-complex, anthropological concepts while simultaneously experimenting with contemporary qualitative research methods.

The dynamic nature of “Observations through Photovoice” engages learners from diverse modalities (visual, linguistic, kinesthetic, analytical, and global learners) and offers authentic learning opportunities beyond the walls of the lecture hall. This pedagogical strategy was adapted from my year-long ethnographic fieldwork with deaf youth participants and their families in Mexico City, Mexico. Pfister plans to develop a website for this project to display students’ images in a culminating exposition to maximize the interactive component of the photovoice project and increase its visibility and impact.

Anne E. Pfister
Anne E. Pfister














Pfister, Anne E., Vindrola-Padros, Cecilia, Johnson, Ginger A. (2014). Together, We Can Show You: Participant-generated Visual Data in Collaborative Research. Collaborative Anthropologies 7(1): 26-49.

Pfister, Anne E. (2013). Ethnographic Strategies for Engaging Deaf Youth Participants: Photovoice and Participatory Analysis. Student Anthropologist 3(3): 34-46.

Johnson, Ginger A., Pfister, Anne E., & Vindrola-Padros, Cecilia. (2012). Drawings, Photos and Performance: Using Visual Methods with Children. Visual Anthropology Review 28(2): 164-178.

Electronic Publications

2016 Observations through Photovoice: Interactive Digital Assessment & Authentic Learning beyond the Lecture Hall (editor reviewed)

Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy


2015 Proyecto Fotovoz: The Everyday Lives of Young People Attending Instituto Pedagógico para

Problemas de Lenguaje in Mexico City (editor reviewed)

Medicine Anthropology Theory (MAT)


2013 Proyecto Fotovoz/Photovoice Project (editor reviewed)

Recycled Minds: thoughts from our heads to yours


Manuscripts in Progress

Pfister, Anne E. (under review) Futuro y Sueños/Future & Dreams – Photovoice, Imagined Communities, & Intended Audience among Mexican Deaf Youth In Contemporary Art in Disabilities Studies. Syracuse University Press.

Academic Papers and Presentations

2017 Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaborative Meeting – Orlando, FL

“Building an Interdisciplinary Digital Humanities Community at the University of North Florida” (with C. McCarl, K. Brady, L. Heffernan, A. Kelly, J. Rivera-Whalen and S. Weiss)

2017 35th Meeting of the Latin American Studies Association – Lima, Perú

“Photovoice as Counter-Narrative to Medicalized Approaches to Deafness in Mexico City” (reviewed by LASA Mexico Section)

2017 8th Annual UNF Scholars Transforming Academic Research Symposium – Jacksonville, FL

“Ordinary & Extraordinary in the Lives of Mexican Deaf Youth: Applying Anthropology through Photovoice” – poster

2016 Inaugural Digital Humanities Projects Showcase– Jacksonville, FL

“Introducing Basic Concepts in Anthropology using ‘Observations through Photovoice’” – poster (with student, Julia Rivera-Whalen)

2016 Conference of the American Association for Applied Linguistics – Orlando, FL

“Escalando al Futuro/Climbing the Future: Photovoice, Language & Identity with Deaf Youth”

2016 The Humanities and Technology Camp – Gainesville, FL

University of North Florida Digital Humanities Initiative Projects – “Observations through Photovoice”

2015 3rd Annual Academic Technology Innovation Symposium – U. North Florida – Jacksonville, FL

Spotlight Presentation: “Introducing the University of North Florida Digital Humanities Initiative” (with colleagues Clayton McCarl, Sherif Elfayoumy, Ching-Hua Chuan, and Aisha Johnson)

2015 3rd Annual Academic Technology Innovation Symposium – U. North Florida – Jacksonville, FL

Five-minute Pitch: “Observations through Photovoice: Engaged Learning in the Lecture Hall and Beyond”

2013 112th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association – Chicago, IL

“Visual Methodology in Anthropological Research Design” (reviewed by Society for Linguistic Anthropology)

2012 76th Annual Meeting of the Florida Academy of Sciences – Tampa, FL

“Visual Methodology: Innovative Ideas for Involving Deaf Participants”


2018 Fulbright Comexus Midterm Reunion – Mexico City, México

“Proyecto Fotovoz: Sign Language, Deaf Education, & Mexico’s Medicalization of Deafness”

2017 University of North Florida Faculty Fulbright Alumni Featured Speaker – Jacksonville, FL

“Plans for Longitudinal, Qualitative Study in Mexico City”

2016 Digital Humanities Introduction to UNF Board of Trustees – Jacksonville, FL

“Student Experiences with Observations through Photovoice” with UNF student, Jen Lee

2014 Guest Presentation, Graduate Student Applied Research Network Colloquium – Tampa, FL

“Using Photovoice in Community-Based Research”

2017 National Society for Experiential Education 46th Annual Conference – St. Pete Beach, FL

“Using Photovoice as Experiential Learning across Educational Settings”

2017 Society for Applied Anthropology Workshop at 77th Annual Meeting – Santa Fe, NM

“Applied, Qualitative Research Using Multimodal, Arts-Based Methods” (with A. Cannon and J. Joanou)