Not your average Selfie

July 22 / 2019

Not your average Selfie: using selfies to explore identity through intergenerational collaboration 

How many selfies have you taken? If you were born after 1980, you will most likely take around 25,700 selfies in your lifetime.

Defined as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website” by the Oxford Dictionary, selfies have become a staple of our modern life, shared with family and friends through social media.  The first “selfie” or photo was taken in 1839 by Robert Corneilus. See here.

Many people dismiss selfies as another example of how self-focused and narcissist our society has become. The millions of selfies that are blasted across our social media networks, the selfie stick, could represent situations when we choose to disconnect from the present moment to share with online followers.

However, what if selfies could also be used as exploration into identity and a channel to build empathy and understanding among peers? At Peaceworx, we wanted to see how selfies could be used as a tool for self-expression and self-exploration. We worked together with La Escalera at the Campamento de 0 a 99, an intergenerational summer camp bringing together from all over Madrid. Hosted by Media lab- Prado for two weeks (July 1st to July 12th), Campamento de 0 a 99 explored new ways to collaborate and create with people of all ages while working on a common project.

The project on Selfies proposed by Peaceworx took many different turns from everyone´s contribution. We decided to focus on four different aspects of identity – social, personal, constructed, and spatial.

Brainstorming with the team


Paula and Isabel

Eugenia adds a final touch

Through this process, we explored different ways we create identity for ourselves and others.  We used a variety of different methodologies including photography, interviews, qualitative research and of course, lots of selfies.

Using different mediums to construct and deconstruct our perspective of the selfie

Some of my Selfie Senses of Madrid – Taste, Sight, Touch, Smell

On Friday July 12th, we presented the results of our two-week workshop to the entire camp, the neighborhood and staff and visitors of Media Lab – Prado. It was a great wrap up to two weeks of intense creation. For the team at Peaceworx, it was inspiring to work with people of all ages on a common goal as well as see the difference in how people of different ages work together. Selfies provided hours of conversation. You can see the results of our workshop on exhibit in the Media Lab – Prado starting this September.

Making our group Selfie Senses of Madrid

Using Frida Khalo´s famous Selfportait as a base for our own selfie project.

Creating a social identity from individual selfies

If you would like to learn more about doing a workshop with Peaceworx, get in touch here.

Some Selfie facts:

More reading:

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