Learning to Use Visual Data to ‘Save Lives’ in the Age of AIDS?

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HIV/AIDS, once a death sentence, could be managed and survived, if the information of Anti-Retrovirals (ARVs) reaches a community, ARVs become accessible and are used correctly. Similarly, we argue, visual data, through the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), can be used to address HIV/AIDS related stigma - an issue preventing disclosure and impacting the lives of individuals - in a rural context. The challenge lies in extending access to ICT (and a digital archive with relevant visual stigma data to address the pandemic), in the case of this research, to educators and learners in a rural community to enable social change.
This paper outlines the use of a digital archive, a data set of staged photos around HIV/AIDS stigma, with educators in two rural schools, exploring their views on using it in their teaching to address HIV/AIDS stigma. A qualitative research approach, using community participatory methodology, was used with educators in two rural schools. The findings suggest that the use of ICT in a rural context can enable educators to create, access and share digital material, which is relevant and realistic and individually tailored, in creative ways to address HIV/AIDS related stigma in the school. Technology can facilitate community participation in the production of local knowledge however, language, literacy and access continue to remain a barrier. This work is exploratory and encourages further work around how visual data can facilitate social change.


Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Stigma, Digital Archive, Teachers, Rural school
Stream: Equity, Social Justice and Social Change; Community, Culture, Globalisation
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Prof. Naydene de Lange

Associate Professor, Educational Psychology, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Naydene de Lange is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Educational Psychology Division in the Faculty of Education at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa. Her research focuses on social inclusion; visual participatory methodologies in addressing HIV/AIDS; Tourette’s syndrome; termination of pregnancy. She publishes in international and national journals, and has a recently edited book, De Lange, N, Mitchell, C and Stuart, J (2007)Putting People in the picture: Visual participatory methodologies for social change, published by SENSE Publishers. She has headed up and collaborates in various funded research projects. She is a National Research Foundation rated researcher.

Claudia Mitchell

McGill University
Montreal, Canada


Thoko Mnisi

Universit y of KwaZulu-Natal
Durban, South Africa


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