For this project, I wrote a specific model release form. I want people to feel confident that I will not exploit them and use their images inappropriately. This is really important to me and to them, as they are opening up about things that they do not normally express or share with others.
Figure 1: Model Release Form
Each participant is invited to amend the document as they feel they need to. Each form has several sections that require a choice. This was included to make sure that people have control over the dissemination of the work.
My volunteers appreciated that they had the option to make these decisions, even though every person so far has opted to take part in all aspects of the work. I believe that this is down to the openness of the documentation and the discussions that I have with every single person who has taken part.
For the volunteers, raising awareness through different dissemination methods is important and vital if the project is to succeed. This was clearly expressed by everyone when we discussed what each of these things may entail.
For some of the participants, the wording in the main body of text did not work.
Figures 2 and 3 show two examples of amendments have been made to the wording by the volunteer.
Figures 2 and 3: Amended Model Release Forms
In each of the above cases, I invited the participant to amend the wording as they wanted to. Figure 3 is a particularly interesting case. The participant works for a company who have an open and understanding policy for mental health wellbeing. They work with companies around the world. Some have supportive policies, whilst some still stigmatise it and are less than understanding. The participant did not want to jeopardise their position in the company or their companies position in future dealings. I obviously respect this and will ensure that the images of this volunteer are used appropriately and in accordance with the signed agreement.
I do feel sad that there are still issues surrounding the support of people with mental health issues. I would like to think that this project may help to raise awareness and help to change this in the future.
Allowing my participants to amend the paperwork to suit their own situation is an example of how I am treating the ethical issues that surround this project. I will post examples of other changes to the paperwork if they occur in a future blog.