Social & Global Studies

Identity Self Portrait


KU      10 marks
T         10 marks
COM   10 marks
APP    10 marks

* see rubric below

TASK                                                  Create an Identity Self Portrait

A self-portrait is a representation of how we see and document ourselves. Self-portraiture can stand as a record of our identity, who we are at the time. Students create a self-portrait in words, visuals, or both that contain symbols representing the student’s identity, beliefs, and values. Students’ self portrait must include representations of both internal and external forces that have shaped their identity.

An identity self portrait is a piece of multimedia that individuals create with words, phrases, images, symbols, and other graphical concepts to visually describe themselves as well as the labels that society gives them.

Questions to Ask in Exploring Identity

  • what are the various factors that shape identity?
  • what are personal characteristics that are unchangeable, or changeable at too high a cost?
  • to what extent are we defined by our choices & behaviours?
  • to what extent are we defined by our talents, tastes, and interests?
  • to what extent are we defined by our membership in particular groups (e.g., social, ethnic, economic, religious, nation, etc.)?
  • how do we label and define ourselves & how are we labeled and defined by others?
  • what does independence mean or a sense of self mean?
  • what does conformity mean?
  • how are we the same and how are we different?
  • what does it mean to belong to a group?
  • what is the relationship between culture and identity?
  • in what ways might we assume different / multiple identities?
  • how do our identities inform our values, ideas, and actions?
Use the prompts above to help generate the material you will capture in your identity self-portrait

Core Content to Read & Use in Creating Your Portrait

How do you identify yourself? And, what is the most important part of your identity? Is it your sex, your race or ethnicity, your sexual orientation, your class status, your nationality, your religious affiliation, your age, your political beliefs? Is there one part of your identity that stands out from the rest, or does your identity change depending on who you’re with, what you’re involved in, where you are in your life?  


  • Identity is a socially and historically constructed concept. We learn about our own identity and the identity of others through interactions with family, peers, organizations, institutions, media and other connections we make in our everyday life.
  • Key facets of identity—like gender, social class, age, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity—play significant roles in determining how we understand and experience the world, as well as shaping the types of opportunities and challenges we face.
  • Social and cultural identity is inextricably linked to issues of power, value systems, and ideology. 
  • The media uses representations—images, words, and characters or personae—to convey specific ideas and values related to culture and identity in society. 

The answers to these questions clearly depend on many factors. They prod us to think about our identities in singular terms (I am female), but also as multiple and intersecting parts (I am an African-American teenage girl from Toronto). Most importantly, these questions lead us to consider the meaning of identity. Beyond “who am I?” these questions frame our individual identities in a broader social historical context and in relation to other groups.  Part of understanding our identity, therefore, means understanding how we fit in (or don’t) with other groups of people. It also means being aware of the fact that some groups have more social, political and economic power than others.

When we think about identity, we may focus on external markers (what we can see), on our biology or physiology, or how we were born; however, it’s also important to understand that our identities are comprised of ideas, ideologies, and ways of seeing the world around us. Our identities, therefore, are socially constructed, and the way we were born is only part of who we are.

But, where do these values or ideologies come from? Again, the answer is not clear-cut. In many cases, we’ve learned and internalized these values over the course of our lives from family, peers, role models, organizations, government, etc. The media also plays a prominent role in creating meaning, shaping our values, and defining who we are. These values are powerful because they generally come from places of power, but also because we internalize them and take them for granted, because they seem natural and the way things should be, and further because they can shape the way we see and understand the people, objects, practices, and institutions in our lives.

If our identities are socially constructed, then they are not neutral. In fact, our gender, race and ethnicity, sexual orientation and class can play a significant role in determining whether we have social, political and economic power, how we get that power, and how we use it. Our identity can fundamentally shape our life experience, how we’re treated, whom we meet and become friends with, what kind of education and jobs we get, where we live, what opportunities we’re afforded, and what kind of inequities we may face.

*adapted from SOURCE

Additional Requirements for Self Portrait

A          Your Identity Self Portrait MUST Incorporate 5 of the Sense of Self Concepts (VISIT UNIT 1 WEB PAGE).

B          Your Identity Self Portrait MUST Incorporate both the “universe of obligation” and “multiple opposed belongings”