Art Voices

Name of the tool:


What the result will look like:

A collection of pictures and short testimonials

Description of the tool:

Art Voices is a participative method that uses photography and small testimonials to gather personal views on a specific topic.

The participants receive a question (such as “What are the benefits of healthcare clowning?”) and are asked to respond with their own photo and a small text explainig / narrating the image. Participants also have the option to respond with another type of art, such as a drawing.

By using photo submissions in response to a question prompt, this activity invites broader and more creative responses to qualitive questions, and may be particularly useful for gaining the perspectives of groups that are more comfortable expressing through image.

The activity can be repeated over time to understand shifts in themes and perspectives.

When it can be used:

Possible uses:
– to evaluate interventions (e.g. How did the visit make you feel?)
– to explore the viewpoints of participants and family members

Who it’s useful for:

The project team / organisation can use the findings to shape interventions. Photos and captions can be used in raising awareness activities (keep in mind that you need to have consent for this).

The clowns can use the insights to understand different points of view on their work.

Length of process:

It is a short-term process that implies consecutive related steps.

Main features - advantages:

The ability to explain ideas and experiences using visual images rather than words.
The method generates more creative expression than others.

Main features - disadvantages:

– It is time consuming in regards to preparing the instructions, sending the instructions, collecting the responses.
– Including a final sharing session is highly recommended, but presents practical concerns.
– It is important to consider the permissions and parameters of the photo submissions. Pictures should follow strict consent guidelines and ethical requirements that need to be made available to all those involved.

Guidelines for implementation:

Choose a framing question. One idea is ‘What does clowning mean to you? You can suggest another, similar question that makes sense in your context. Some other ideas are, “What feelings does a clown visit bring?” “How does clowning affect you and those around you?” You can also focus it on one of the audiences, like “What benefits does clowning have for children with disabilities?”, “How does clowning affect children with autism?” etc. ]

Decide how the photos will be shared/used. You may want to do an exhibition or a virtual gallery show. You might also consider how you could share the results with participants, even if you don’t hold an event. For example, a selection of photos will be shared on our social media, or we will send you a slideshow, etc. People are generally more willing to participate if they know that they get to see the results (and I’m sure they will find it interesting!)

Protect privacy/photo consent. Emphasize that photos should not be of participants, minors, and vulnerable groups. Please include in the instructions any additional privacy/safeguarding guidelines from your organization for informed consent. An analysis plan is required in advance, which outlines how the submissions will be used by participants as well as data collectors. For the purpose of this evaluation, thematic coding of the art and accompanying narrative was used. Collecting the characteristics of respondents in a standard way can be useful in the analysis.

Choose a deadline. 1-2 weeks should be sufficient to complete the activity. Too little or too much time may make it difficult for the participants.

Tool in practice:

In ClowNexus, the tool was used to understand current clowning experiences and to prepare for new clowning activities with the elderly and children.

Attachments / Images:

Origin of the tool:

(Is it copyrighted? Who is describing it? Who supported us in developing / using it? Is it an original method / replicated / adapted?)