A gallery walk can be used to engage workshop participants, to help them generate new ideas, to introduce them to new information or to gauge their prior knowledge on a topic.


Various posters or other resources on a topic are set up at separate stations. Participants are divided into small groups or pairs and rotate between stations. At each station, they discuss the resource, make notes, and possibly expand on the resource via (for example) sticky notes. The exercise is concluded via a debriefing discussion.




Minimum 8 participants


Minimum 45 minutes | F2F & Online


  • A station for each of the resources: A station can consist of a flipchart or white board featuring a key question on a topic, or new information (such as a quote/statement/short reading). Alternatively, documents, images, or other media can be placed on tables or stuck on a dedicated wall space. Each station should be unique, yet contribute to the participants’ overall understanding of the main topic.
  • Sticky notes or notebooks and pens for participants.
  • If required: A bell to announce the start of each new each rotation.


  • The facilitator should decide on the overarching topic, and the sub-topic per station.
  • Stations should be set up around the room, featuring relevant information, as described above. (Online version: Breakout rooms can be set up, before the workshop, using the chosen videoconferencing software. In each breakout room, a slide or document can be displayed, featuring the ‘poster’ with relevant material. Alternatively, a slide deck can be prepared and shared with the groups to work through asynchronously. More suggestions on how to facilitate an online gallery walk can be accessed here).
  • The facilitator should decide whether the participants will be divided into small groups or pairs, and create a list accordingly. (Online version: If breakout rooms will be used, these groups can be pre-allocated to the first online ‘station/breakout room’, or the list can be displayed via screen share during the workshop, to introduce an asynchronous group exercise).
  • The facilitator should decide on station viewing instructions, based on the objectives of the activity. These instructions may include a list of questions groups will have to respond to per station, guidelines on how to take informal notes, or a request for the participants to post sticky notes with their comments or key questions at each station.

Step 1

The facilitator should start by explaining the objective of the gallery walk exercise, as outlined above, as well as the format.

Step 2

The facilitator shares the list of groups/pairs, as well as the viewing instructions.  They should also explain the time limit for each station viewing, and inform participants how they will be alerted to move to the next station (e.g. via a bell, clapping of hands, or – if conducted online – a breakout room countdown clock, which will appear before groups are expected to click on a link* to the next breakout room, or before they are automatically navigated to the next breakout room. *A list of links to each breakout room, in sequence, can be posted in each breakout room’s chat, before the start of the exercise).

Step 3

Each group/pairing is provided with their notebooks/sticky notes (if relevant) and directed to their first station. (Online version: For a synchronous activity, groups are allocated to their first breakout rooms. For an asynchronous, online activity, the slide deck of resources is shared with the groups, along with instructions on how long they should spend on each slide, and when they should report back for the online debriefing session).

The exercise starts, and the groups engage with the resource(s) at their station based on the viewing instructions. If relevant: After a dedicated few minutes, a signal (e.g. bell) alerts the group that they must rotate to the next station.

Step 5

The rotation is repeated until all groups have visited each station once.

Step 6

The gallery walk exercise is concluded via a large group discussion. The entire group debriefs by sharing what they have learned and their general impressions. During the last round, the facilitator can also take pictures of the stations (if sticky notes or comments have been added) and display these images to the large group during the discussion, to prompt further comments. Alternatively, the images can be added to the post-workshop resource pack that will be shared with all participants, for further self-reflection on the topic.

  • In physical settings, the space should be large enough to display the resources well apart to avoid crowding.
  • The facilitator should remain available to the participants throughout the exercise, to clarify any practical questions about the exercise, should they arise.
  • For online versions, a  pre-workshop ‘dry run’ with one or two co-facilitators is recommended. This allows the facilitator to test the navigation between breakout rooms, and/or the sharing of online resources during the call.

The above guidelines were developed by the database contributors and draws on their own practical experience of workshop facilitation, the resource cited above as well as the following:


A number of participants or guest speakers can be asked beforehand to each create a station (e.g. poster) on the topic, and they can also be present at the station to provide a brief overview of their resource and answer participants’ questions.

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