Ethical Statement of good practice

GP Photovoice: Statement of Ethical Practice 

This statement is based on the ethical statement of PhotoVoice, an international provider of photovoice services (PhotoVoice, 2020).


Ethical issues are an important part of participatory work especially when images produced are used publicly. The guiding principle of this work is to help participant to represent themselves, their ideas and their views to others. The role of the leaders is to help, support and direct that development. This project centres around taking or accessing previous photographs and learning to edit and caption images that ‘speak’ of working as a GP during the Covid 19 pandemic.

The purpose of this document is to highlight core project issues and to mark the standards that we will adhere to in the project. 


Principles of good practice

1.     CHOICE
PhotoVoice always provides participants with clear choices about the content of their work including the right to withdraw from part or all of project activities, at all times up to submission for publication. 

This is a protected creative space that wants people to grow and flourish. This is an innovative project and the first photovoice project involving health care workers.

We are committed to the participatory process. In addition to participants and the leadership/facilitators of the group we will employ other people to help us to adhere to our standards and to produce quality images. 

Ethical issues


Risks - Risks can be emotional, psychological, political, economic, cultural, social or physical. We are sensitive to these factors and will provide help and support for those who need it.

Ground Rules – Expectations and standards of conduct and participation will be set at the start of the project. 

Choices – Choices over images and other content will reviewed regularly by the group. We do not want people to disclose things that would cause needless distress or that might be best being private. 

Personal support – We will provide help and support or guidance where project issues provoke negative or difficult emotions for participants.

Confidentiality – What is said, shown and discussed in the group remains in the group. The exception to this would be if something is disclosed that may cause harm to someone else. We will use the GMC guidance on standards of care as a framework.

Anonymity – It is not possible to guarantee anonymity to participants working in the groups. This is a relational project where interactions with participants and facilitators in crucial to the project. Participants can use pseudonyms to label images, text or video for publication.


Expectations – We will clearly identify the timetable, end point and outcomes of the project.

Closure – The group may develop a strong identity and want to communicate further after the project. We are not clear how this will happen, but the research team will continue to communicate about publications and events showcasing their work and views. 


Key project decisions in shaping the work will be discussed with participants. 

Ownership – This project aims to exhibit its findings online and in physical spaces. We also what to produce a photobook. Some people may be anxious about public exposure, so it is important that you agree to your work or comments being published anonymously or with you being identified. We will involve you in that decision making. 

Copyright – This is owned exclusively by the participants. You will be asked to signa a content agreement which gives options around image use. Consent will also need to be sought from parents/guardians of All PhotoVoice project participants are 

Participants have the right to withdraw their usage permissions and their images from the PhotoVoice archive at any point. 

Income – We are hoping to fund the project from an external grant, but we may use project start-up money by starting to advertise a ‘Kickstarter’ fund raising event. Any profit from this project will be donated to the charity ‘Doctors in Distress.’


Protection – We want to protect contributors to the project. There are many options for making work available from being anonymous to giving full details of name and working. 

Media - A project with a public dimension often attracts media attention. The media may have its own agenda and ideas about how to represent a project and the participants. Engaging with the media requires a very careful and sensitive approach. 

We will not pressure participants to do media work or interviews. A participant who is interviewed by the media in any format (online, in print, broadcast or other) will be appropriately prepared and supported. 


The facilitators will work to these standards;

Professional - A facilitator is skilled in the methodologies of participatory photography and may have limited knowledge of the issues that affect the participants. A good facilitator will be open, flexible and supportive towards participants, and will always maintain clear professional boundaries. A facilitator should be aware of their professional limits and not adopt the role of a therapist or social worker to participants. 

Skills - The participatory process requires constant nurturing and support from facilitators. As far as possible, PhotoVoice uses at least two facilitators per workshop – one of who may be from the partner organisation – so that they can provide support to each other and to the group. PhotoVoice always employs a lead facilitator with proven experience of using participatory photography techniques with vulnerable groups. 

Training - A professional facilitator will be unbiased in their relationships with the group, sensitive to group dynamics, and aware of his/her own feelings towards the group. PhotoVoice is committed to supporting facilitators throughout the project. We provide pre-project training, which includes techniques for responsible, self-aware practice. We also provide ongoing opportunities for facilitators to reflect on their practice and discuss any emotional or personal issues arising out of the project. 


The project partner for this project is ‘Doctors in Distress.’ This is an organisation that provides mental health support and advice to doctors with stress, anxiety, depression, addictions and other problems. 

The communication team at ‘Doctors in Distress’ will manage communications and group meetings. This is led by Dame Prof. Clare Gerada.

Dr Morris Gallagher, a GP and photographer is providing research and photographic advice and support. He is a member of a closed University of the Arts student and tutor forum which may be consulted about the progress of the project.

We may involve a book designer in making a book for publication. This is best done early in the project and they may observe the group work and contribute to selections. 

This is based on: PhotoVoice (2020) Statement of Ethical Practice. At: (Accessed 08/11/2020).

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