“Your Neighbourhood, In Your Eyes”: A Participatory Photo Project Exploration of Social Isolation During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Main Article Content

Lainey Martin


This research addresses the intersection of two pandemics, one of them COVID-19 and the other social isolation. Social isolation in this and other urban regions, driven in part by precarity and unaffordability of housing, has been exacerbated further by the social distancing measures mandated to counter the COVID-19 pandemic. The effects of both pandemics have disproportionately impacted already isolated households, including people living solo in community housing. While community housing operators have initiated programming to help curtail social isolation among their residents, many of these have been postponed due to COVID- 19 restrictions. This was also the case with the research approach initially intended here. In response, we devised a research technique that elicits experiential data about social isolation at home during the COVID-19 pandemic within community housing in Vancouver. Specifically, the research technique focuses on collecting personal narratives and images to offer a more rounded understanding of participant experiences. It also offers the possibility of an activity to enhance social connectedness feelings. The research approach is a proof of concept and was implemented in partnership with a non-profit community housing provider. Participants were offered a Polaroid camera and scrapbooking supplies and asked to take photos of places where they experience social isolation or connection. The results are a poetic and insightful scrapbook that demonstrates individual resilience and community connections within isolation. Future research will expand the use of this new research technique.

Article Details

Communities and Societies
Author Biography

Lainey Martin

Faculty of Environment, Global Environmental Systems