A field guide to Public Policy Collage

October 25, 2023

Author: Tara Mahoney, PhD

Feelings such as hope, empathy, fear, grief, rage and despair, arise at the intersection of politics and everyday life constantly. Yet these emotions are rarely part of how we experience policy discourse, which is often dominated by bureaucratic and abstract language.

This short zine explores Public Policy Collage (PPC) - an arts-based participatory research method focused on public policy issues. The zine explains why PPC can be a powerful research method for researchers engaging communities in public policy issues, especially when combined with more conventional methods like survey data and interviews. 

PPC functions in two ways simultaneously:

  1. It provides an open format for personal-political expression, critique and synthesis; 
  2. It provides an accessible structure for political dialogue and data gathering. 

By choosing images and words, cutting them out, gluing them together – participants become both witness and author of their own political hopes and desires, fears and frustrations. Busy hands and creative activity soften the often-intimidating or confrontational discussions that political issues can elicit.

The zine lays out the key consideration for using the method, a step-by-step guide on how to facilitate it and collaging images so you can get started experimenting with the method right away. 

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