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CAES24S0010 Shutter Stories: Community Impact through PhotoVoice

Shutter Stories: Community Impact through PhotoVoice builds on top of the classic PhotoVoice participatory action research method in the discipline of Social Science to enhance students’ awareness of their surroundings and improve their oral and written literacies simultaneously. Conceptualised at the intersection of traditional, visual and digital literacies, students take and/or create photographs and deliver short, personal stories around the artefacts, then analyse pictures and stories in groups to identify strengths and weaknesses of communities. All artefacts would come together as a virtual exhibition at the end of the course, calling for actions among key stakeholders for a greater future.

The objective of this course is to give students the opportunity to voice out their opinions of surrounding communities through photographs and personal, written stories. The course uses PhotoVoice as a focal point to contextualise storytelling, meaning negotiation, photograph composition and digital photo manipulation in a creative and socially beneficial process. Students will produce photographs and short stories, then come together to theme one another’s stories based on commonalities and differences. The virtual exhibition is not just a demonstration of students’ ability in story writing and photograph taking, but also acts as a reference point for stakeholders and policymakers of the corresponding community to identify social phenomena and issues to be addressed. Thus, the course will allow students to develop traditional, visual and digital literacies for an authentic purpose for the greater good of communities.

On completing the course, students will be able to:

1. Identify social issues of interest to key stakeholders within the more local, HKU-wide community, or at a global level following United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals;

2. Use hardware and software tools to capture and process photographs up to exhibition standard;

3. Write personal stories that align with the photographs taken and the exhibition; and

4. Improve spoken communication skills through meaning negotiation when interpreting and theming photographs.


Course Content and Topics

Day 1: Introduction to PhotoVoice

Day 2: Storytelling and Photography

Day 3: Photo-Taking (No Class)

Day 4: Sharing and Theming

Day 5: Exhibition and Reflection


Course Code


Day & Time

No. of Hrs



3 June to 7 June


Monday – Friday



(5 sessions)


Run Run Shaw Tower

No. of students per class: 25 maximum