Centre Profile

Young people at risk of homelessness find their voice through photography

19 December 2023

Life Course Centre researchers at The University of Queensland have collaborated with Anglicare Southern Queensland (ASQ) to produce a youth photovoice project that explores young people’s experiences of home and homelessness through photography.

‘Hanging by a Thread: Our Search for Home’ showcases photographs taken by young people supported by ASQ’s youth homelessness and youth justice services. The photographs provide personal insights into their sense of home, while the title of the project reflects their struggles and the resilience required to navigate growing up between home and homelessness.

This innovative research project emerged from a desire to provide a channel for the young people that ASQ supports through its youth services to influence the fit-out of new youth accommodation, to enhance service delivery, and inform advocacy.

Life Course Centre researchers Dr Rose Stambe, Dr Stefanie Plage, Dr Ella Kuskoff and Professor Cameron Parsell from UQ’s School of Social Science alongside ASQ practitioners supported the young people participating in the project to find their voice by workshopping their ideas and discussing the significance of identity, belonging, and their struggles in the search for home. The project was also supported by a Life Course Centre research linkages grant.

The photographs, which the young people took themselves and wrote accompanying captions, were curated for public display launched in Brisbane by ASQ during Anti-Poverty Week in October. The photographs are available for viewing online here. Another public display of the captioned photographs is planned for early 2024, at the Urban Utilities building in 31 Duncan Street, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane. 

What home really means

Leanne Wood, ASQ Manager, Research and Advocacy, said the Life Course Centre’s researchers brought valuable experience, expertise and insights to the project and a strong commitment to hearing the voices of the young people involved. “This allowed the young people to share their lives, honestly, thoughtfully and generously, through their photos,” Leanne said.

Dr Rose Stambe, Life Course Centre Research Fellow, said the photovoice project brought young people together in workshops to explore “what home means to them”. She said the focus was on the concept of home, not just shelter. “What home is to them is a place to belong without the struggle of getting by,” Rose said.

“What home is to them is a place to belong without the struggle of getting by…”

Dr Rose Stambe

The ‘Hanging by a Thread: Our Search for Home’ photovoice project on young people’s experiences of home and homelessness follows on from another photovoice project this year involving Life Course Centre researchers, ‘Health Home Hope’ – a photographic exhibition on housing and health.