An online exhibition is sharing the physical activity experiences of Flinders University students during the pandemic, and inviting the University community to get involved by submitting their own photos.
‘Finding a Way, Physical Activity During COVID-19: A Photovoice Project’ launched on the Flinders University website on Monday, 9 November 2020.
Presented by Behavioural Health in the College of Medicine and Public Health, the exhibition forms part of a research project that uses participants’ photos and commentary to gain insight into their experiences, presenting an exploration of the collective experience through the lens of students’ cameras.
Dr Candice Oster, Behavioural Health lecturer and project lead, says the impact of COVID-19 on participating students had “forced us to look inwards, to slow down, to focus on what’s most important.”
One student said the project gave her “permission to look at things differently and try and interpret situations differently.”
Being able to share their struggles and triumphs relating to physical activity during the pandemic has proven to be a powerful and enjoyable experience for many students involved.
“I’m really grateful for this opportunity, because I’ve actually discovered I’m much more of an optimist than I thought I was”, another student shared.
The title and exhibition represent the shared understanding of physical activity during COVID-19 generated by a first-person perspective.
“Finding a Way represents the sense of struggle and overcoming of adversity described by the students, and also reflects their experience of physical activity as movement and progression,” Dr Oster said.
The exhibition displays the results of the analysis sequentially, dividing the students’ photos into four themes: With a Little Help, Connection to Space, Moments of Joy and Making Gains.
It shares the motivation and support students found for continuing physical activity despite the limits of COVID-19 with help from pets, family, friends and the community; through connection to space; and by experiencing moments of joy and making gains.
Running until January next year, Flinders students, graduates and staff are encouraged to send in their own photos and commentary, which will contribute to ongoing research and feature alongside the students’ photos.
“With restrictions that have been imposed, movement and physical activity have become really important,” Dr Oster says.
“There has been a transformation of how we perceive physical activity, it became a way of connecting with others, it became an avenue to adapt to the situation COVID-19 presented.
“The more people share with us their stories and pictures, the better we can understand the collective experience – the differences and similarities and what connects them all together at the core.”
Staff and students are invited to visit the exhibition and submit their own photos and commentary.