Issue Mapping Through Photovoice


  • To use SHOWeD framework to dig into concerns/problems
  • To create an Issue Map from pictures
  • To analyze an Issue Map from pictures
  • To name root causes of issues


  • “SHOWeD Analysis & Going Deeper” handouts (1 per participant)
  • Large school/community map
  • Post-its
  • Pens or pencils
  • Pictures of school issues
  • Projector

Prepare Before

Tell participants ahead of time to take pictures of issues at their school or in their communities and bring them to this session. You can use issue photos from previous lessons. Post the school/community map on the wall. Make sure participants have completed the “Issue Brainstorm, Documentation, SHOWeD Issues Worksheets” handouts from “Identifying & Photographing Issues Using SHOWeD Process” lesson plan (in Investigate > Photovoice).

Warm Up

Take a look at your pictures from your school/community issues.  Select one of your pictures to use for analysis (through the SHOWeD framework).


Hand out the SHOWeD worksheet.  Every participant should use the photograph they have chosen to complete the worksheet and write a sample caption for the photo.   For this exercise, the caption should look like:  “Issue Name: (1-2 sentences that describes it).”

While participants are completing the worksheet, get the photo they are using from them and get these ready to project (or print).

Once participants are done, each should share their picture, their caption, and their answers to the SHOWeD worksheet with the group. Ask if others have questions about their photo or its meaning.

Once everyone has gone, everyone should write their Issue name on a post-it and place it on the school/community map where they took the picture.


Facilitate a discussion using the following reflection questions:

  • What did you learn from other people’s photos?
  • What, if anything, do you notice about our (school) community?


We are beginning to look at the issues of our school/community. We will be using this along with our Asset Map to guide us in determining and focusing our issue and our actions.


PART 1: Mapping Issues

Take out your issue brainstorm worksheets.  We are going to map the rest of the issues at the school or in our community.   Keep track of the issues and how many times people had them.

Everyone should have a small stack of post-its for mapping. Start with the issues that have already been mapped. One by one, say the issue and ask if anyone else had a picture of that issue. If they did, they should write the issue name, their initials and place it on the map. If their picture was taken in the same location with the same issue, they can add their initials to the post-it instead of making an additional one.

Once you have gone through all the existing issue on the map, look at the Issue Worksheets. Add any additional words and their locations on the map. At this point, the map will probably be covered with post-its.

What do you notice? What issues did we mention the most? Are there locations within our school or community that have “issues clusters”? Are there places within our school or community that have few or no issues? Are there any issues that exist but we did not take pictures of? If yes, add those to the list. How does the issue map compare to the asset map (if you completed the asset map first)?

PART 2:  Going Deeper

Pick three of the issues to go deeper with.  They should either be issues that were included by many people (widely felt) or issues that had a lot of resonance for some people (deeply felt).

Everyone should get into pairs or trios.  Assign one of the three issue words to each group — it is fine to have more than group on a word.   They are going to complete the Going Deeper sheet to see if we can get to root causes of these issues.

Share back answers.  Probe groups with “Why does this happen?” until you feel they are at root causes. Chart the root causes so the class can return to this.