Picture This

A participatory photography and creative writing project

We’re delighted that Picture this! has been recognised as a finalist for the Local Innovation category of the 2022 ELTons Awards. Each year, the British Council’s ELTons awards for innovation in English language education celebrate the most original courses, publications, projects, apps and platforms that are finding new ways to help English language learners and teachers around the world achieve their goals. You can read more about the awards and the other finalists here.

During 2020 Learning Unlimited worked in partnership with Fotosynthesis, a leader in participatory visual media, on Picture this!, a participatory ESOL and photography project funded by the GLA as part of the ESOL plus Arts initiative.

The original plan had been to deliver face-to-face participatory photography workshops with supporting ESOL classes culminating in pop-up exhibitions in south London in spring 2021. Due to the pandemic, the project went online and became something completely different, and actually something we feel is richer, more exciting and with greater potential for sustainability. The work created, the friendships made and the teaching and learning practices developed, went above and beyond what was originally planned and expected. Some of our Picture this! ESOL learners and volunteers have even taken part in national poetry competitions due to their new confidence in writing!

Please also have a look around our online exhibition. ESOL learners, volunteers and facilitators have all exhibited work and we have included home languages, written and audios where possible. Here is the link: https://www.fotosynthesiscommunity.org/picture-this/


Free downloadable resources:

The Picture This! toolkit – Guidance and resources for ESOL practitioners
Here we share what we learnt from this project – tips, tools, activities and resources to run your own ESOL and photography course or simply to embed in your regular ESOL classes. Download for free here.

The Picture This! book
Since we were unable to hold a ‘real life’ exhibition, as well as this online exhibition we created a fabulous book of all the work produced to give to each participant. Here you can download the pdf to simply enjoy or use in your classroom however you see fit.
Download for free here.


If your organisation would be interested in tailored training for ESOL practitioners on ESOL and photography, or if you would like a course delivered, then please contact Sarah Sheldon at Learning Unlimited on [email protected]. N.B. At least for now, you would need to fund this.

If your focus is not ESOL but you are interested in using participatory visual media and image making in other ways have a look around the Fotosynthesis website to see other work they have done and contact Ingrid on [email protected].

We hope you enjoy having a look around the exhibition and browsing the toolkit. We would love to hear your feedback – please email Sarah on [email protected].