Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Welcome to Facilitation Stories, where we discover how facilitators ended up in the profession, and how facilitation methods, principles and techniques are used more widely. Brought to you by IAF England and Wales. For more information on our chapter, click here.

Nov 8, 2022

Today we have a treat for you: Nikki Wilson interviews two guests who use photography as part of their facilitation practice. Gianpietro Pucciariello and Chris Chinnock.

Our first guest is Gianpietro Pucciariello, who returns to the show after appearing in episode 15. Gianpietro’s working life in the UK is divided into two: he’s a start up founder and a sole trader that covers many roles.  He supports mission-drive individuals and communities to building social environmental impact communities and ecosystems. 

For this he uses creativity and innovation practices, coaching focus conversations and collective learning experiences. 

His last project is called From Lens to Self, through where he connects learning from different areas in his life. He’s developed for others a 3hours outdoor walking self-development journey, using photography for self-exploration. Participants can use their cameras or phones to take photographs to visualise their problems, using metaphors to connect to the problem, and help the problem surface. 

At the end of the workshop, individuals create a plan of action to take their learnings forward. In essence, photography here is a tool for self-discovery and research, in the present, within our present environment.

This idea has its origins right back in Gianpietro’s childhood and adolescent. As an introverted child, he liked to observe in silence, and he used to spend a lot of time in the photography shop of his aunt and uncle. The passion for photography increased later on in life and it became a way of self-expression, especially during the time that his father’s neurological disease was worsening. 

Around 2013, Gianpietro joined a photo journalist course about telling stories through photography, and this turned out to be one of the best decisions of his life. Rediscovering photography led to him leaving a job he wasn’t happy in, and led him to become a facilitator and nurturer of others. 

Now he’s using photography as an organic processing for self-reflection and understanding the world around us. We need to be present in the moment, in a similar way to facilitation.  He’s now looking at blending different practices, for example from the art of hosting,  open space technology, embodiment and clean language.   

Gianpietro has been running these workshops and has had good feedback, so he knows that the process works for other people as well as himself. The workshop will run in the weekends as the weather is getting colder, but he’s looking to have longer events in the spring, a kind of “Lens to Self Plus”. He’s also looking into building a community around this practice, with follow up exercises; as well as a few interactive email-based course about creative leadership, mindfulness and problem solving, all starting using photography. 

There’s a lot to think about when you are in charge of a group, walking around a London area taking photographers, so Gianpietro has a list of things he does to make sure people are, and feel, safe under his care. The fact that the workshops take place in a group helps participants form their ideas through talking to others. 

To make sure Gianpietro keeps his instructions clear and precise, he makes sure when he communicates each task to the participants, he only uses five words to do so. 

You can find out more about From Lens to Self here:



Nikki’s second guest on the show is Chris Chinnock, the Founder of the social enterprise Our Creative Connection, which uses photography as a tool for social change.

Chris spent about five years exploring asset-based community development, travelling around the UK delivering training and attending events talking about the ways in which organisation and communities interact. His professional career has always had a thread of community development and creativity running through it. 

Alongside that, he’s also been interested in photography and has worked as a freelance photographer. During the pandemic he was thinking about, in essence, what he wanted to do with his life and re-evaluating the time he was spending outside vs inside the home.

He’s now able to draw on a range of things that inspire him and which he thinks are important. The role of photography in community development, or a community context was one of the first thoughts around Our Creative Connection. 

“Photo voice” is a methodology applied mainly in academic research to get feedback in a visual time. Chris is now offering “photo voice” to explore how images and creating photographs can invite new conversations, without needing to start with words, or only use words. He’s also been taking portraits in people involved in an organisation celebrate its 10th anniversary, gathering their stories. He’s now opening the first dark room photography and printing workshop. 

What he’s taken from his previous roles as facilitator: the mindset of how you plan for workshops, when you’re creating the space for people to develop; he’s also been heavily influenced by Peter Block’s work around the impact they have on people depending on how they show up. 

Chris uses photography also to explain what he does, giving him a different starting point, a more open one. And of course, there’s not a right or wrong way to use photography in this way. Images are useful to start conversations. For example, Photo Voice is not a photography project, it’s more about “voice” than “photo”, it’s about finding your own story. Using an image to start a conversation also allows you to talk about subjects that are difficult to talk about. 

One of Chris’ future projects is going to involve embedding photography into the curriculum to help with learning outcomes. He’s also interested in how organisations can use images to communicate better and using art to shine a light on different subjects. 

You can find out more about Chris' work here:

And this episode's host, Nikki Wilson, can be found on LinkedIn too: