Babies, Culture, iPhones, and Images: The Ethics of Photo-Voice in an Online Digital World

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Visual images are no longer tucked away in a hard copy photo album, only to be viewed at the photographer’s discretion. In a digital online environment, images can be taken and shared at any moment in time and reshared without permission. While this opens many opportunities for the use of imagery in research, it also poses questions around the ethical conduct of that research. This presentation explores the challenges of working with photographs of babies, in research exploring the cultural safety of pepi pods as safe sleep, alternative spaces for Aboriginal families living in metropolitan South Australia. Framed as interface research to balance indigenous and academic methodologies, the study used photo-voice to actively involve participants in the coconstruction of research data. To mitigate risk, participants were all given Instamatic cameras and asked to take images of their use or nonuse of the safe sleep alternative space. Researchers and families then yarned about the photos’ content and meaning. While this sounds good in theory, the experience of application was perhaps unsurprisingly, complex. In a time where popular culture invites risk through indiscriminate posting of images of infants and children, how do we ensure that in testing the safety of a sleep space, we don’t jeopardize safety of identity?
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event16th Qualitative Methods Conference -
Duration: 1 May 2018 → …


Conference16th Qualitative Methods Conference
Period1/05/18 → …


  • Visual images
  • Digital online environment
  • Ethical conduct


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