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Vincent O'Brien

Visible Voice | IVSA Board Member

, Affiliation(s):

Engage, Visualise, Change!

Formerly Professor of International Health and Visual Ethnography at the University of Cumbria I have always been someone who looks for opportunities ‘do something different’. A key motivation for my work as a teacher and researcher has been a desire to to open up and expose the networks of privilege and self interest that dominate and control knowledge creation, validation and exchange. Over the last decade or so developments in digital communications technologies such as digital video, photography, the internet and social networking have helped to make a few small cracks in established regimes that shape knowledge - power relations. Collaborative forms of research that aim to engage with rather than simply observe and analyse social life, that aim to construct collaborative visualisation and public sharing of lived experiences can help to make those cracks in the dominant knowledge regimes into doorways that will help to transform the lives of people, communities and societies.

I am now working independently aiming to extend the range and scope of collaborative visual ethnography for social change. Established in 2006, Visible Voice combines community engagement with research using the transformative power of participatory video, photography and public exhibition to engage communities in a self directed visual activism in pursuit of a better world. This work spans many cultures and communities including semi nomadic herder communities in Central Asia, residents of Rio de Janeiro’s favela communities, Gypsy-Travellers, refugees, asylum seekers, economic migrants and intergenerational groups in the UK and elsewhere.

I haven't completely abandoned institutional academic world and I currently hold Visiting Professorships at Manchester Metropolitan University ,the Kazakh National Medical University, and Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio).

Current Research Projects

  • Cultural Values and Decision Making
  • Gypsies and Travellers: Self, cultural identity and community life
  • Well Being and the Lived Experiences of Transnational Migrants in the North West of England.
  • Inner Ecologies: Tengrianism, culture and everyday life in Kyrgyzstan
  • Using Cinema and Film to Explore Intergenerational Communication 
  • Cultural heritage, values and identity amongst South Indian families in Manchester.


  • Street: 13 Deneford Road
  • Postcode: M20 2TE
  • City: Manchester
  • State: Manchester
  • Country: United Kingdom


  • Telephone: 01616379318
  • Fax: 01616379318
  • E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.