The Project

We are creating a collection of images that center visibly diverse student participants engaged in academic contexts, and making these images freely available under a Creative Commons CC-BY license.

The Context

The educational concept of mirrors and windows advocates that students have learning materials reflecting their own identities and offering views to external experiences. As faculty design courses and learning tools, they require open-access, topical images to heighten student engagement with the content. However, it is extremely difficult to find free-to-use images of adult students with visibly-diverse identities communicating learning activities and relevant emotional moods. Many stock image banks with “diverse” models target racial aspects of diversity, feature PreK-12 students, reflect campus social life, and/or have licensing fees. While some image banks center models from underrepresented communities, scenes are primarily home life, social/recreational outings, and work/office environments. 

Seyed Shahrokni ( and Janeanne Rockwell-Kincanon ( of Library and Academic Innovation are the project coordinators.

This project is funded by a grant from the WOU Foundation logo for Western Oregon University foundation


You Look Great! Come Model Your Smarts!

All students are welcome to model! We seek a visibly-diverse range of identities–where “diverse” encompasses race, ethnicity, and color, body size and type, gender expression, disabilities, religious or cultural dress, and/or age. Photoshoots are being scheduled now, Winter 2023.

The Model Information page outlines all you need to know and links to the registration.

get a gift card for modeling, a $20 minimum


Pre-production (Fall 2022-Winter 2023)

  • design and distribute a survey to collect pictorial needs (poses, affects, emotions, activities, etc.) from educators, students and staff
  • create a photoshoot plan, including a shot list based on the survey results 
  • collect reference images for inspiration 
  • recruit for and cast participants (primarily from the WOU student body) to be authentic, visibly-diverse photographic subjects.
  • scout locations for photoshoots

Production (Winter 2023)

  • brief participants; gather model information about identities; and model consent & release paperwork 
  • schedule participants and locations for photoshoots
  • complete  photoshoots
  • distribute gift cards to participants 

Post-Production (Spring 2023+)

  • edit images 
  • tag and caption images, and add accessibility elements
  • upload collection of images to web platform with usage and credit guidance  
  • publicize collection

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WOU prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, marital status, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression in all programs, activities and employment practices as required by Title IX, other applicable laws, and policies. Retaliation is prohibited by WOU.