IAF Methods

Clown Poster Reflection

by for . Last edit was over 2 years ago
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This can be used as a way of reflecting on a topic.
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To see the multiple levels of meaning found in a picture and experience of sense of awe found in a poster.


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  • The clown picture



Setting: A poster of a Clown. We used one that was found in Poland. The clown looks somewhat fearful and seems to be glancing at something out of the picture.

Pre-Work Required: Review of the questions. The picture should be hung up in a place that everyone can see it.


1. We want to spend a few minutes looking at this poster. Pictures often have many layers of meaning for an individual or a group. A large part of that meaning has to do with what we bring to the picture, our culture, our own personal history, or feelings at the moment. As trainers we can use pictures in a variety of ways. I want to demonstrate one of those ways.

1. Take a look at the poster. What are some of the colors used in this poster?
2. What is a shape in this picture?
3. What is one feature of this face that stands out for you?
4. What are the different parts of the picture? If you were to point out the different parts of the picture what would be one part?
5. What is an emotion that this picture is communicating to you?
6. What do you think the clown is thinking?
7. If you were to tell a story about him what would be the points of the story?
8. Who needs to hear the clown's story?

This poster is of course only ink on paper and yet we created a whole new level of meaning. We perhaps brought to consciousness levels of understanding we as individuals had but were not aware of. Pictures can be very powerful teaching tools.


Usual or Expected Outcomes: A new appreciation of the use of pictures and art.


Source: Jon Jenkins

Derived from: This is based on the Institute of Cultural Affairs' Focused Conversation Method.

History of Development: It was created as a demonstration of the use of pictures in training for a training of training series in Poland.

Recognizable components: The Institute of Cultural Affairs Focused Conversation Method

References: The Institute of Cultural Affairs Focused Conversation Method

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  • This can be adapted to a process facilitation by using a poster that is related to the topic the group will address, and changing the last two questions to something like "What can we learn from this picture about our work?" and "What might we do differently as a result of this conversation and what we've learned from it?"

    over 2 years ago