A Portrait of a Woman: Israelis in Alentejo - A visual research collaboration is a research project conducted by CECC's doctoral researcher Zohar Iancu, as part of her PhD in Culture Studies from the Lisbon Consortium international program, ministered at the Faculty of Human Sciences from Universidade Católica Portuguesa (UCP), under the supervision of Professor Isabel Capeloa Gil (UCP, Portugal) and Dr. Tamar Barkay (Tel-Hai College, Israel).
Iancu's PhD thesis is dedicated to the study of Borders, symbolic boundaries, and Israeli immigration to Portugal, and aims to explore the immigration wave of Israeli citizens to Portugal in recent years, while a cultural phenomenon that marks, challenges, and crosses territorial borders and symbolic boundaries.
A visual research collaboration
As part of the research process involved in her first sub-project A Portrait of a Woman: Israelis in Alentejo, Zohar Iancu has been collaborating with Israeli-born photographer Noam Friedman, who currently lives and works in Portugal.
This collaboration with Friedman is part Iancu’s thesis’s attempt to present and represent alternative social imageries and hybrid forms of Israeli identity-making outside its territorial borders. Ultimately, it was designed to create a visual database that will present the complexities and layers of meaning that comprise the cultural phenomenon at stake.
With such a goal in mind, Iancu also included in her analysis a direct collaboration with a group of research participants. The research protocol was inspired by the qualitative research method known as PhotoVoice, which is employed in community-based participatory research, wherein participants capture photographs to comprehend a particular observed phenomenon. In this case, a focus group of Israeli women who reside in Alentejo, southwest Portugal, has been created and participants were asked to document their lives and offer their visual interpretation about Israelis in Alentejo. All in all, twelve women produced a series of photos with disposable cameras which represented their daily realities. The aim was to bring forth feminine voices and perspectives, and, at the same time, allow participants to take an active part in the research process.
Alongside the products created through the Photovoice process, Friedman produced a series of black-and-white analog portraits of the research participants - two processes which provided a rich observation of the phenomenon.
The several visual artifacts will be included in a digital research database and presented in an exhibition.
This project is supported by CECC-Research Centre for Communication and Culture.
Database (in preparation)
Exhibition (to be announced)