Empowering Migrants for Employment EME



Best practices

The identity circle – a tool to visualise people’s distinct roles and facets of their identity

#tool #empowerment #communication

The good practice in a nutshell

The identity circle (or ID circle) is an easy-to-use tool for visualising the multifaceted identities of the participants. This tool is used in the Culturally sensitive care ambassador training.

Each participant starts by creating his or her own ID circle. The circle visualises the participants’ various roles in multiple societies and the way in which these roles have/had an impact on their life. This can be linked to their talents and competencies also. Furthermore, the participants can start to reflect about their perspectives on the future: Are you satisfied with your current situation? What would you like to change? Each ID circle is unique. Participants can choose what they want to include.

Secondly, participants can analyse each other’s ID circle to find similarities (and differences). By emphasising the similarities, the tool transcends the differences and has a positive impact on the group dynamic.

Thirdly, this tool expresses the possibilities in establishing contact with someone. It provides a framework for how participants can get to know things about a person. Also, the participants in the Culturally sensitive care ambassador training take part in an internship, during which they use this tool to make contact with the seniors. With this approach, they can analyse the situation of a senior.

How does it work?

  • Step 1: Draw a circle on a blank sheet of paper.
  • Step 2: Ask participants to reflect on the question ‘Who am I?’. What is/was important for them (family situation, land of origin, religion, a hobby, objects, ideals, special moments or events)? Different roles?
  • Step 3: Let the participants fill in the circle. The participant can choose what gets included in the circle. The bigger the slice of the circle something has, the more important it is for that person.
  • Step 4: Form dyads, and let the participants explain their circles to each other.
  • Step 5: Start a group discussion. Look for differences and similarities. Emphasise similarities.
  • Step 6: Explain how the participants can use this tool to make contact with and get to know another person.

Developer or user

EVA bxl, Belgium

Target group

Job-seekers with a migration background

Why it is needed

The ID circle is a practical tool used to set the scene – e.g., an icebreaker. With it, participants get to know themselves and each other. Furthermore, it gives them an opportunity to reflect on the fact that every human is unique and has several roles, which often are not visible. The ID circle is often used as a tool in introducing the intersectionality perspective.


The good practice requires:

  • paper
  • marker pens

Expected outcomes

  • Participants are able to reflect about their various roles and competencies.
  • The exercise has an empowering effect on the participants, in building a positive self-image.
  • The exercise visualises the similarities among the participants. This has a positive impact on the group dynamic.
  • It can facilitate contact or conversation with another person.

‘Do’s and ‘don’t’s

  • Show an example of an ID circle – e.g., your own.
  • Encourage participants to describe their various roles if they have doubts.
  • Link the roles to competencies of the participants.
  • Emphasise the similarities within the group.
  • Establish a discussion: every human is a sum of complex stories throughout his or her life. Emphasise this fact, and link it to seniors, as the participants will be working with seniors.


This tool can be used on many occasions.

Quotes from the other project partners

‘As a practice it seems quite simple, but it gathers a lot of information.’ (Silta‑Valmennusyhdistys, Finland)

‘This practice is possible even for people with weak writing ability and reading skills, so it is empowering for all and might create an impulse for learning more about yourself – and why not about other peer learners too?’ (TAKK & Helsingin aikuisopisto, Finland)

Additional information