Liberate your skills with #DMUWritingpad Swollage

Swollage: SWOT using free association collage


DMU Faculty placement officers enjoyed the opportunity to explore their skills, attributes and aspirations using the #DMUwritingpad technique Swollage. This creative visual technique allows people to approach a topic or area for reflection through the free association collage.  This mode of “SWOT” analysis uses visual materials and metaphor to enable the identification of personal strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This is something placement students are encouraged to do both prior, during after a placement.

DMU Faculty placement officers “thinking with their hands”

Placement Officers were invited to create a collage of selected images to which they felt a personal collection. They were then asked to annotate those images using words suggested by the image, either metaphorical or descriptive. Once created, a table tour of all the collages ensued during which “post-its” with suggested terms and interpretations of images could be added by all.  Attendees then drew on these images, utilising terms and descriptions to articulate and inspire a personal SWOT analysis using a SWOT butterfly template (

SWOT Butterfly template (

Placement officers found this “thinking through their hands” method to be an “imaginative, fun and relaxing exercise yet insightful and challenging in the right way”. They all envisaged utilising these tools with their students to encourage reflection on their placement journeys. They commented on how this exercise made them empathise with their students and the challenges of self-reflection and SWOT creation.

Swollage table tour

The Swollage workshop was created and delivered by Julia Reeve and Kaye Towlson. #DMUwritingPAD  (n.d.) Butterfly SWOT template [Online image]  Available from:  [Accessed 27/2/19].