To Know, To Love and To Heal: PhotoStory and Duo-Ethnography as Approaches to Enhancing Social Justice and Self-Actualization in High School Classrooms


  • Giang Le Brock University
  • Fiona Blaikie Brock University
  • Vuong Tran Nipissing University


PhotoSory, duo-ethnography, self-actualization, art-led pedagogy


This article explores using PhotoStory to promote social justice in the classroom. Interweaving Photovoice (Wang & Burris, 1997) with story-sharing results in PhotoStory, a unique teaching and learning approach that can empower voices of marginalized high school students. Through PhotoStory, we explore possibilities for self-actualization in high schools, where a primary pedagogical goal is to disrupt inequitable social orders and change oppressive behaviors and perceptions. Coming to critical consciousness for both teachers and students is vital, leading to engagement in dialogical pedagogy (Mthethwa-Sommers, 2014). As bell hooks (1994) asserts, oppression emanates in and through differences in relation to sex/gender, class and race. Similarly, Freire (1970) highlights the critical role of literacy skills to equip those who are oppressed to speak truth to power. Contextualized by habitus (Bourdieu, 1986), creators of PhotoStory documentaries come to understand their own and others’ lived experiences, enhancing individual and collective empathy, and promoting healing, offering holistic ways to connect through culturally responsive learning, and flipped and flattened pedagogies. By applying duoethnography (Sawyer & Norris, 2013), three authors, two graduate students and one professor discuss and critique this art-based pedagogical method via experiences of utilizing PhotoStory as an experiential teaching and learning tool. Although the scholars are different in relation to age, status, gender and sexual identities, they are committed to exploring an ethic of care and pedagogical self-actualization that serves our need “to know, to love, and to heal”.

Author Biographies

Giang Le, Brock University

Giang Le is a Ph.D. student in Education at Brock University. Le’s work covers visual methods & global youth culture.

Fiona Blaikie, Brock University

Fiona Blaikie is a professor and former Dean, Faculty of Education, Brock University. She has won numerous awards for teaching and scholarship, most recently the 2020 USSEA and InSEA Ziegfeld award for art education. Currently, she is editing an interdisciplinary collection for Routledge on gender, sexuality, and visual identity constructs.

Vuong Tran, Nipissing University

Vuong Tran is a Ph.D. student in Education, at Nipissing University. Tran’s research is central to financial literacy & social justice education.




How to Cite

Le, G., Blaikie, F., & Tran, V. (2020). To Know, To Love and To Heal: PhotoStory and Duo-Ethnography as Approaches to Enhancing Social Justice and Self-Actualization in High School Classrooms. Journal of the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies, 18(1), 53–54. Retrieved from



Human Rights: Critical Discourse and Reparative Curricula