Ongoing Project:

Flash Forward Photovoice

Researchers: April Mandrona1, Mehrunissa Ali2, Bayan Khatib3, and Marwa Khobieh3
Affiliations: Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD)1, Ryerson University2, and Syrian Canadian Foundation3
Research Partners: Syrian Canadian Foundation
Keywords: Syrian refugee youth, arts-based research, Greater Toronto Area (GTA), integration, photovoice, photography
Go to: Methodology


Objective: This study will provide an educational and artistic platform for Syrian refugee youth to share their perspectives and integration experiences through photography to better understand these youth’s integration experiences in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and how photovoice can be used to visualize and communicate these experiences to a wider audience.

Justification: The Syrian youth served by the Syrian Canadian Foundation face significant challenges, including low educational attainment or interrupted schooling, poverty, social isolation, bullying, discrimination, violence, and engagement in anti-social behaviours that lead to police encounters. This program will help connect these youth to their community and develop their skills, confidence, and sense of belonging by providing spaces where they can express themselves artistically.

Practical goal: This study will foster a healthy, creative support network to help Syrian refugee youth’s integration and create awareness of how refugee youth are portrayed and help refute stereotypes.

Primary audience: educators, local law enforcement, service providers, policy makers, and the public


This project will use photovoice to engage 12 Syrian refugee youth aged 16-21 who are living in the GTA. Photovoice uses photography, discussion, and critical reflection to access and represent the needs, experiences, and knowledge of groups whose voices may be marginalized. Over 20 weeks, a professional photographer and a project coordinator will provide participants with weekly photography classes, mentorship, and workshops in communication, creative expression, and presentation skills. The youth will make a body of artwork and develop new ways of interacting with their surrounds and understanding their unique experiences and social positions. The project will culminate in an exhibition where participants will present their stories and photography to the community, which includes the families of refugee youth, refugee community leaders, local artists, educators, researchers, local politicians and ministries, police, settlement workers, and media.

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