Is a discussion format which utilizes and presents visuals (e.g. photographs, graphics) as prompts to stimulate sharing of experiences.

Level of participation


Duration of participation process

Preparation:1 month for invitations, venues, catering
Implementation: 0,5 days
Follow-up: Couple of days for analysis and documentation

Target group size

<25 people



Human resources needed

At least two persons for preparation, moderation and documentation

The method: what is it, when to use it and what outcome to expect

The particularity of this method is to rely on visual elements (pictures) to stimulate discussions among participants. By using pictures, the visual impression can encourage participants to share experiences and perspectives on given questions and to bring in the “personal story”. You can especially use the method to stimulate discussions on topics that are of concern to the participants (e.g. their living environment, their work situation, infrastructure projects in their neighbourhood, etc.).
You can use the format particularly for including various groups of participants that might have difficulties to rely on texts, such as children and illiterate persons. Close to a gallery walk method, this method has a low-threshold character. However, more complicated processes involving visual elements can also be used, such as, the citizens’ exhibition method, which brings together qualitative interviews with visual elements in order to explore societal issues.

The process: how to conduct it in an in-person setting or online using a PC/laptop with video option

1. Introduction: Before the start of the workshop, you need to have defined the goal of the event and collected/made several pictures. As facilitator, you welcome the participants, contextualize the workshop and introduce them to the main question(s) and objectives of the workshop. You invite the participants to introduce themselves
2. Pictures viewing: Together with the creator of the picture, you introduce/explain the pictures that are being exhibited. You can either choose to go through the pictures one by one, or like in an exhibition, leave the participants walk through the different pictures. Please note that the number of pictures (between 10 and 20) to be presented depends on the topic, context, and length of the event. Leave time to The participants to study in detail the pictures.
3. Discussion: Once the pictures have been introduced to the participants, you can invite them to an informal discussion, for instance to share their impressions and feelings. Make sure that everyone has a chance to contribute to the discussion. The discussed topics and perspectives should be documented either by the participants themselves (e.g., as bullet points or drawings on a poster) or by the organizers. You can send a summary of the discussion to the participants as a follow-up.

Blended participation

Can be organised as a face-to-face workshop, whose results will be fed into a broader online consultation. Or you can hold it as an online workshop to provide insights into the experience of specific target groups in a broader participatory process. If children or illiterate persons are participating, chose the face-to face-format.

Digital communication

  • Communication platform for the event: Teams, Zoom, Webex
  • Mural board or miro board as an online white board to leave participants write and draw ideas and
  • Mindmeister as an online tool to carry out collaborative mindmapping.

Good to know

  • Benefits are:
    Reaching participants in remote locations can be easily organized online, as the format does not last very long, is carried out in small groups, and does not require complex ways of interaction between participants. Pictures are presented online (no need for printing).. Easy and creative documentation of results with online tools

  • Limitations are:
    Some groups of participants might be more difficult to reach online. Some participants can be more comfortable with face-to-face interactions than others. Online formats might, in some case, undermine the informality of the exchanges expected in such processes. Children or illiterate people, might need assistance of further people to participate online. Therefore, more people need to be involved
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