Editor’s note: Annie Levy is based in New York City. She is a chief story officer who discovers and brings corporate/organizational stories and brands to life at www.AnnieLevy.com. Levy is also the communications and story fellow at Cantilever, a digital design and development agency.

I became part of the Quirk’s community a year ago when I wrote Photovoice: The power of images in qual - Using photovoice to discover stories hiding in plain sight.

I have utilized and honed photovoice and other forms of participatory communication to:

With over 15 years of experience using this method, it has consistently proven to be a way to ask questions that allow people to move beyond superficial or stock answers into genuine, meaningful and actionable responses, as well as providing a wealth of material for authentic internal and external communication. It has allowed me to create materials that in and of themselves become the “spokesperson” for the cause, idea and/or community.

A recent project spearheaded by Community Building Art Works (CBAW) and done in concert with Blue Star Families, brought me in contact with the U.S. military community.  

CBAW connects veterans, health care providers and civilians through workshops led by professional artists who reflect the diversity of the population they serve. In 2022, they connected nearly 7,000 participants all over the world through creative writing workshops for military-connected individuals, health care workers and civilian artists.

Blue Star Families is committed to strengthening military families by connecting them with their neighbors – individuals and organizations – to create vibrant communities of mutual support. Through a partnership since 2020, it helps CBAW reach a wide range of people in the military community.

I was honored to be involved with both groups, originally to engage teens of Blue Star Families who continuously face ...