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Facilitating With Pieter

Featuring Pieter de Vos
Change Agent

July 8, 2015
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

The story

As a documentary photographer, facilitator, and engaged academic, Pieter spends most of my time helping communities tell their own stories and shape their own destinies.

Pieter has a doctorate in anthropology from the University of Alberta. His research focuses on using narrative and visual methods to explore understandings of home and belonging in an informal settlement in South Africa. His goal is to use participatory photography and digital storytelling to amplify the voices of marginalized communities. He has facilitated workshops on these methods in Canada, Kenya, Sweden, Tanzania, Pakistan, Haiti, and the United States. Through these projects he’s addressing the topics of poverty and homelessness, HIV/AIDS, sexual identity, childhood injury, and gender and race relations.

Check out Pieter’s website for some of his work.

Fun facts

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In 1996 he went into Edmonton’s inner city to document people living in poverty. One of his first participants was man named Larry. In those days, he would shoot portraits on black-and-white film that he would process and develop in his parents’ basement and later give each participant an print as a thank you. Larry was happy when he spotted Pieter again, yelling out, “Hey, I don’t I know you from somewhere? Didn’t we go to prison together or something?” Pieter had street cred!

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A few years ago Pieter facilitated a photovoice workshop in Vancouver with a group of Aboriginal youth. At the end of a busy day, he was leading a reflection on visual storytelling when I noticed the participants were nodding off. He was told later that my “yoga voice” had a strange sedative effect.

He once jumped out of an airplane. Now he’s wary of heights.

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By coincidence he shares a birthday with his wife. But wait. Coincidence or design?

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