Synergi Photovoice Project

The award-winning Synergi Photovoice Project, launched in January 2018, aimed to encourage ethnic minority people with lived experience of severe mental illness, their carers and healthcare professionals, to reflect their personal accounts through photographs and narratives. See how the project, which led to two amazing public exhibitions in September and October 2018, impacted on the participants and how their images have left an important and lasting legacy.

Synergi Collaborative Centre Stroke

“Mental illness is not the end of the world. You can recover from it. The photographs show my past life and present life. This is my real story. I have a life and I have to live for myself before I live for others. I hope that people will come and see my pictures and that they will gain confidence and that they will encourage them.”

Synergi photovoice participant

The London exhibition

Funded by Queen Mary’s Centre for Public Engagement and the Synergi Collaborative Centre, the Synergi Photovoice project championed the often unheard stories and voices of service users, and was informed by a powerful and well-established method (‘photovoice’) of authentic and meaningful co-creation in health care. After taking part in a series of workshops, the participants were asked to capture photos on disposable cameras and to keep a narrative record to provide an insight into the everyday reality of living with severe mental illness or its treatment. The project took place in two sites: London and Manchester and collaborated with Mind in Haringey, The Psychosis Therapy Project at Islington Mind, LMCP Manchester and the African and Caribbean Mental Health Services (ACMHS).

The Manchester exhibition

At the end of the project, we hosted two well received public photographic exhibitions in London, at Bush Theatre, and at Z-Arts Centre in Manchester. Both events featured guest speakers from the participating organisations with services users sharing their stories alongside creative performances by poets Dean Atta and Keisha Thompson. Currently the exhibition is being showcased at Queen Mary University of London. There will be a semi-permanent exhibition in the ACMHS foyer and some of the work will be profiled at the StereoHype Festival 2019 in Birmingham.

Project brochure

Photovoice Brochure


Queen Mary Community Engagement Awards 2018

“With my pictures I would like to communicate to mental health authorities the importance of giving all people some sort of hope when they are facing problems, to offer them opportunities to express themselves in order to overcome obstacles and give some structure to their everyday lives.”

Synergi photovoice participant