Following on from my proposal, now that I have a potential contact I can begin to outline how I will ensure that this project is of a participatory method as I now have a greater idea of what I am working with.
As my contacts Andrew and Lynn live in France, I cannot get to them to photograph, nor can I take a trip over to speak to them. This means that the majority of my communication with them will be over the internet through email or Facebook potentially. I may have the option of Skype or phone, however this may be unlikely due to circumstance and time wise for them.
I am planning to make this a participatory project in conjunction with Andrew and Lynn by asking them about their migration story, and their reasons for moving. I would like to use their own text and their own words in the book because I feel this makes it more personal to them, rather than me writing all the text and actually will use their own voice to tell their story – something migrants are often not given. I would like to include my own little introduction into the participatory process and why the project was undertaken, but I do not want this to be too big because I want the project to have their voices more than my own.
I will also keep the project participatory by using all their own images, as I do not have the opportunity to take any of my own really, unless I am to take any in the UK, but this may be unlikely. I will also be allowing them to feedback into the design and selection process, helping me to edit out images they may decide they later do not want to include, or images that they may want to include. By asking them to give me images, it also allows them to show me what they want to show me, rather than me selecting what I think they should be showing me. I can suggest ideas to them, but I am not in control of the images I receive. Just through giving me access to their images, they are helping with the participatory process because they are engaging and giving me material to help construct their migration story.
I will regularly email and show the work that I have done so far so they are kept in the loop, taking on board any feedback from them and anything they want to say about the project. I will be editing and putting the book together, but at the influence of them and the way they want it to look. I can help out in terms of image selection by suggesting projects that may help them to see what they can do as well as give them as much support as I can to help develop narrative and the storyline.
This participatory project is all about allowing them to control the way in which they may want to be presented and ensuring they are happy with the final project as well as happy with the final outcomes. It gives them a sense of power and control that is usually taken away by the photographer because they are in control of the representation. But in this case because they are self editing any images and text before they send it to me, they are completely in control of how they are represented in the images.
Therefore it is through this method of email and constant contact and updates, that I aim to keep the project a participatory effort. Their input is almost more important than my own because the project does rely on them sending over images and words that I can work with. It also involves me being able to get feedback from them to ensure they are happy with the representations of themselves that I create as a result. Overall it will be an interesting insight and way to work in participatory collaboration with a subject abroad but I think it can produce some very interesting results if the methods of communication and the outline of how I will ensure the project comes together work out ok. If it goes to plan, the collaboration should hopefully work out well and produced some unique results.