Cafe Photovoice Permanent Participant Exhibition Unveiling Celebration
The Cafe Photovoice Exhibition (2021-2022) is a permanent installation of photographs taken by community members who are currently engaged in treatment for mental health and substance use at the Emma L. Bowen Community Service Center.
This group of matted and framed digital photographs captures aspects of the lived experiences of community members who volunteered to participate in this Photovoice Participatory Action Research Study.
Photovoice puts cameras in the hands of people as a meaningful way to activate change while gaining knowledge through discussion, storytelling, and creativity. Each participant speaks through their images and shares stories about their access to mental health and substance use services as they move through moments that make up their daily lives. The environmental nature of each photograph locates the viewer inside real-life participant interactions with family, work, nature, and community. Storytelling and poetry facilitate an open dialogue where physical and mental health providers, policymakers, and stakeholders can better learn what psychological and physical health care means to the community and their families to improve care access and experiences of programs and services.
The Emma L. Bowen, Community Service Center, is deeply rooted in providing culturally sensitive care to the diverse Upper Harlem community since 1969. One Cafe Photovoice participant in her 50s tells how she first came to Bowen when she was 14. You are welcome to walk through the second-floor hallways of the Emma L. Bowen Community Service Center to experience the entire Cafe Photovoice exhibition.
This project was made possible through an evaluation research sub-grant received by Adelphi University School of Social Work from Upper Manhattan Mental Health Center (UMMHC) a.k.a. Emma Bowen Community Service Center. UMMHC was awarded a 2020-2022 Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics – Expansion (CCBHC-E) Grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
This exhibition would not be possible without the expertise of student Shelita Birchett-Benash, who planned the exhibition concept, design, and installation. We are also grateful for the graphic design expertise of Adelphi University’s Art and Art History Department, specifically student Kayla McGowan, Professor Debra Drodvillo and Professor Kellyann Monaghan.
The Cafe Photovoice Participatory Action Research Team