The Big Picture

Adapting photovoice to enhance psychological, social and cultural insights into, and prevention and treatment of, youth substance use in India (September 2018 – February 2021).


This project seeks to understand the experience of young Assamese people around risk, recovery and resilience in relation to substance abuse and mental health. The goal is to increase knowledge, enhance the voice of young people, and inform practice through impacting policy and promoting public awareness.


We learn from two groups of young Assamese people who show resilience to substance abuse. The first group are twelve 15-18 year olds at increased risk of substance abuse but who have managed to stay clean. The second group are twelve 19-24 year olds who have engaged successfully in drug rehabilitation. Participants are invited to bring photos to interview to convey their experience of risk, resilience and recovery. This material is analysed using Thematic Analysis. Participants are invited to create a poster from their photos and to take part in film-making workshops. We also map research-to-policy-pathways and interview, and hold workshops with, key stakeholders involved in mental health policy and practice in Assam. This material is analysed using Framework Analysis. Finally, we collaborate with organisations in India to understand the potential of embedding visual methods in their work and to build their mental health research and service delivery capacity.


This project is led by Anna Madill with Siobhan Hugh-Jones, Paul Cooke, and Tolib Mirzoev (University of Leeds, UK and Rebecca Graber (University of Brighton, UK The Research Fellow is Raginie Duara and the PhD student is Chloe Brooks. Our Advisory Group consists of experts across India and the UK:


The Big Picture is conducted in partnership with MIND India (, NIRMAAN Rehabilitation Facility (, and HOPE Foundation Rehabilitation Facility, our key contacts respectively, Dr Sangeeta Goswami, Ratul Dey and Dipanka Baruah. The Big Picture is funded by an Economic and Social Research Council/Arts and Humanities Research Council Global Challenges Research Fund (Mental Health) grant ES/S00047X/1 (


Case studies from The Big Picture will be available here soon.

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