Collaborative oral history, podcasting and arts-based research
with people with disabilities impacted by the overdose crisis.
Oral history with bereaved people in smaller centres
Over 32,000 people in Canada have experienced fatal opioid overdoses since a public health emergency was declared in 2016.
The rate of overdose in smaller centres is disproportionately high, due to a lack of harm reduction and health care services as well as widespread stigma about people who use substances.
This project involves facilitating reciprocal, peer-to-peer interviews with people in three communities of less than 100,00 people in Western Canada who have lost loves ones to overdose. Many experience prolonged grief, which is a recognized disability in Canada.
Through their testimonies, collaborators disrupt notions that people who use drugs are not worthy of being grieved. They also challenge stigma and call on authorities to do more to prevent further overdoses.
My paper about the study is under review with Journalism Practice.
Please listen to some of the collaborators' stories on the Unsilencing Stories podcast.
Oral history and arts-based research with peer harm reduction workers
collaborative photography, Photo-elicitation
& the overdose crisis
For decades, documentary photographers and photojournalists have produced stigmatizing images of peple who use substances.
From 2014 to 2015, I collaborated with three long-term opioid users taking part in North America’s first heroin-assisted treatment program (SALOME) in Vancouver, B.C. The purpose was to collaboratively produce images that challenge stigma.
In order to help amplify collaborators' voices and experiences, I conducted photo-elicitation interviews and invited them to share their thoughts about the photos.
I wrote a three-part series published on Medium (links below), and wrote about the study in The Conversation and Afterimage: The Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism. My scholarly chapter about the project was published in The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy and Science of Addiction. The study was profiled by BBC3, CBC News, and Postmedia.
Podcasting & critical disability studies
Duterte's Hell, a documentary I co-directed and filmed, highlights the impacts of thousands of extrajudicial killings of alleged drug users and dealers in the Philippines. It was produced by Field of Vision, published online by The Intercept, premiered at MoMA in New York, and has screened at numerous film festivals across North America and Europe. The documentary won a World Press Award, was nominated for a Grierson Trust Award, and was selected as a Vimeo Staff Pick.
IN THE NEWS
Castillo, N. (2023, March 5). “KPU instructor launches podcast about multiple chemical sensitivity.” The Runner.
Petersen, H. (2023, Jan 16). “New podcast to feature stories of Prince George overdose deaths.” Prince George Citizen.
Kwantlen Polytechnic University. (2023, Jan 16). “KPU researchers assist people in telling rare stories of the
opioid overdose crisis.” KPU News.
Kwantlen Polytechnic University. (2022, Feb 25). “KPU instructor to speak at annual Canadian student journalism conference. Aaron Goodman will speak about his project titled ‘Digitally Memorializing the
Overdose Crisis.’” The Runner.
BBC3. (2018, March 7). “Documenting the long road to recovery from addiction.”
Hick, Gabrielle. (2018, Feb 4). “As opioid epidemic worsens, photographers are finding new ways to capture addiction.” Artsy.
Live interview with CBC Radio, On the Coast, Vancouver, B.C. (2017, Sept 12). Topic: Duterte’s Hell, my documentary about state-sanctioned killings of thousands of drug users and dealers in the Philippines, produced by Field of Vision.
Kwantlen Polytechnic University. (2017, Sept 12). “Documentary Duterte’s Hell featured in “Journalism instructor documents Philippines’ war on drugs.” KPU News.
All Sides Staff. (2017, Aug 22). “Telling the Stories of the Opioid Crisis.” WOSU Radio, All Sides with Ann Fisher.
A Whole World. (2017, Aug 15). “Documentary shows the consequences of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug policy.” Television Switzerland.
National Post. (2016, March 15). “We need you to see we’re not just stereotyped monsters’: Vancouver heroin addicts in their own words.”