picture tells a story
Theme I, M, A
Sometimes we see something which looks very
simple. But look again from another point of view, and you
may see something different.
• Perceptions are biased and depend
on our previous experience, expectations, culture etc.
• Decisions are often made on the
basis of limited information
• To show how our images of other
people influence our interpretation of their behaviour.
• To be aware of how we make up the
gaps in our knowledge.
• To be aware of the influence and
power that our images have upon other people.
• Select a picture which relates
to the theme of you session or the campaign.
• Cut the picture into two pieces
in such a way that separately each half 'tells a story',
but which when put together give you a 'different story'.
• Stick the two halves on separate
sheets of paper.
• Make enough copies for one per
• Paper and pencils for each participant
1. Tell the group that you are going to
give each of them a picture and that, individually, they
must write down what they think the picture is about, who
the characters are, what is happening, where the action
is taking place, etc.
2. Give each participant a copy of the first
half of the picture and 5 minutes to think and write their
3. Now ask the participants to share what
they wrote. If the group is big, this can be done in small
groups of 6 to 8 people.
4. Now give out the second half of the picture
and ask people to review their impressions of what they
Debriefing and evaluation
The discussion should provide an analysis
about the ways in which we organise and review information.
The following questions will help:
• What did you think the picture
• Who were the people in the
• Where were they?
• What were they doing?
• Why were they there?
• Why did you imagine certain
things (rather than others)?
• Did the picture have a different
meaning to different members of the group?
• Did what you think changed
when you saw the whole picture?
In real life, when something happens or
we see only a small part of the "picture", we
nonetheless try to make sense of it.
• What happens if you then look
at it again in a wider context and get a different point
• Do you change your mind or
do you to stick to your original position?
• Why is it hard to be honest
about changing our minds?
Tips for the facilitator
Try to find pictures or drawings that are
appropriate to the group and relevant to their lives or
which are about an issue which you want to explore.
Suggestions for follow up
Encourage everyone to pledge to try to be
more aware and critical of the things they hear people say,
what they read or of pictures they see, especially pictures
of the news and in advertising. Set time aside at the next
session for people to say what surprises they had and what
This activity links well with 'What
do you see?' which is about looking at pictures from
the papers and pretending you are the editor writing the
In Compass you will find the activity, 'Makah
whaling', which is a simulation game that challenges
people's opinions about whaling, conservation and human
rights. Most people in Europe only see part of the picture.
In this activity the Makah indians tell their story and
put their case for whaling.