Pink Flower Research specialises in the use of a participatory photography method called photovoice.
Photovoice projects use photography combined with in-depth group sharing and discussion to explore people's lived-experience.
Photovoice has several layers to it in terms of what it sets out to achieve – while it is a research method which allows us to gather and share our experiences and insight with others, it is also a narrative therapeutic technique. By taking photos and gathering together over several weeks to share them with others in a safe space, we have the opportunity to reflect and contemplate our thoughts, feelings and emotions.
This process has been found to be a powerful tool which can facilitate us in making sense of challenging experiences, and thereby feel an increased sense of agency and empowerment. It is a tool that allows us to tap into our unconscious through the use of our creativity. From that place we put images and then words on what we are feeling, so that we can articulate that and share it with others.
Finally photovoice is also a tool for advocacy and promotion of social change. Through exhibitions and events which showcase participants' work, these project aim to raise awareness and start conversations about some of the big challenges we face as individuals and as communities.
Pink Flower Research has innovated with the methodology and has adapted photovoice for a variety of contexts - combining it with ethnographic interviewing, design-thinking, co-design, and using a trauma-informed lens to create a unique person-centred approach.
Founded by Dr Maria Quinlan, Pink Flower Research is a research consultancy which specialises in creative, innovative, person-centred methods.
Maria is a sociologist who combines elements of design-thinking, and ethnographic interviewing with photovoice to explore how people experience their lives. Her methods provide in-depth, nuanced insight which aims to lead to positive social change. Pink Flower Research's approach is rooted in a person-centred, trauma-informed philosophy. The aim is to create a safe space where people feel comfortable exploring their experiences in a gentle and reflective way.
Pink Flower Research's work is multidisciplinary, and covers a variety of social topics including homelessness, addiction, mental health, gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual violence. These methods attempt to shift the locus of control from researcher as 'expert' to the participant as expert, and to democratise the process of knowledge-creation. The methods are rooted in social activism and aim to provide a platform for voices which are often silenced or marginalised in society to be heard.
Maria has pioneered the use of these methods in Ireland, particularly in the area of mental health and trauma, adapting and strengthening the methodological approach. She works closely with artist Erin McClure in the design and exhibition aspects of the projects, to bring participants' work to life in a way that honours their voice.
Maria has also adapted photovoice as an innovative means of exploring the employee-experience within organisations. These projects focus on issues of culture, wellbeing, equality and inclusion, and aim to give voice to the worker-experience. They have been nominated for a variety of industry awards, and her recent work, On Balance, for AIB won the CIPD 2020 award for employee empowerment and trust.
Maria has developed a selection of courses which combine the therapeutic and self-reflection elements of photovoice with yoga nidra meditation, freewriting and other creative exercises. Drawing on the teachings from the Tao and Buddhist spiritual traditions, the courses aim to provide space and tools to reflect, go inward and tap into our deep unconscious wisdom.
Maria has been running the courses in Fumbally Stables for several years, and also delivers the courses in a variety of corporate settings as part of companies employee wellbeing initiatives.
Please click on the images below for full course descriptors.
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Pink Flower Research offers a variety of consultancy services. These inlcude strategic planning, evaluations and reviews of services. All employ Pink Flower Research's unique blend of creative, evidence-based methodologies to really understand issues; create actionable insight and innovative strategic plans.
Dr Maria Quinlan has worked as a strategic consultant across a variety of sectors and has completed strategic reviews, evaluations, bespoke employee-engagement initiatives, and strategic plans for public, non-profit and private sector clients. Recent clients include HIV Ireland, the Open Doors Initiative, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, Barnardos, County Kildare LEADER Partnership, and NALA.