Views from the Village: Photonovella with Women in Rural China

  • Tuula Heinonen
  • Maria Cheung University of Manitoba


In this article the authors provide an overview of the situation of women in rural China as a backdrop for the photonovella process and inquiry activities conducted by the first author in three rural sites in China. They describe the key themes identified through analysis of the narrative accounts and photographs presented by groups of rural women. The photonovella enabled rural women to select from their pictures several photos of significance to them to show and describe these to women from other villages and to the researcher. Concerns, interests, hardships, and achievements of the women related to their work, families, and communities were voiced as they showed their photos. This method, used in conjunction with other qualitative methods—including focus group interviews, village visits, and survey data—provided information that complemented and enriched our understanding of rural women’s lives in China.

Author Biography

Maria Cheung, University of Manitoba
Associate Professor, Faculty of Social Work, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada