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Keywords:

  • participatory action research;
  • documentary;
  • Colombia;
  • territorial histories;
  • dispossession

This paper seeks to discuss the use of a participatory documentary process (PDP) in human geography as a method of constructing critical visual information on territorial histories of dispossession. The process was also used to enhance social change both in conjunction with local communities and within the communities themselves. The project involved 14 local young participants and four professionals who collectively produced a documentary on the rural context of violence in La Toma District, Colombia. By enabling the reflections and intentions of young participants in the research process, PDP gave special value to their social and political commitment to supporting community social organisation, and provided fresh research insights into comprehending territorial conflict. The paper concludes that this method amplifies participatory and action research approaches in geography by producing knowledge that is academically and socially relevant. Such collective, emancipatory and anti-hegemonic visual representations and actions for social change in PDP are especially pertinent in spaces of conflict and violence.