The contact zone: photography and social justice in educational research

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Downloads (Pure)


Issues of social justice associated with photography based educational research (PBER) are under-explored and under-theorised. In Part 1 of this paper, a practical synthesis of social justice in education is used to interrogate the purposes and processes of PBER, which then frames discussion of the particular affordances of images and the ethical issues involved. In Part 2, the ‘contact zone’ (Pratt, 1992) theorises PBER as a process of generating autoethnographic texts which work for social justice while acknowledging the external researcher’s position in relation to structures of injustice. A published study involving teacher educators in an area of conflict in Burma demonstrates this approach, which we term ‘contact zone pedagogy’. The approach offers a resolution of the associated ethical issues, with consequences for the way researchers and co-researchers are positioned in relation to social justice, and their creation, interpretation and presentation of photographs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2020


  • Social justice
  • autoethnography
  • contact zone
  • educational research
  • photography-based research
  • photovoice


Dive into the research topics of 'The contact zone: photography and social justice in educational research'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this