Author: Sam Bradd

description of FNHA mens' wellness programs in the north with DUDES club graphic recording by sam bradd

Supporting Indigenous Men’s Health in the North with FNHA

The First Nations Health Authority and the DUDES Club have a brilliant path forward to help men connect to their whole selves. Their health and wellness models ask men, in a non-judgemental way, to “put your armour down”, and build a movement for Indigenous men’s wellness.

“Four years ago there were less than a handful of Indigenous men’s wellness groups in northern BC. How far we’ve come! Today 33 communities boast men’s clubs with many group facilitators attending one of two Train the Trainer workshops that have been hosted by the FNHA and the DUDES Club in the past year.”  FNHA 

Read all about how the work the Warriors are doing! 

description of FNHA mens' wellness programs in the north with DUDES club graphic recording by sam bradd

This is an incredible video about the first Indigenous Mens’ Gathering in 2017:

“Once there, they participated in time-honoured ceremonies to ground them for discussions, which included: community-based concepts of masculinity, what it is to be a “man”, men’s wellness, traditional wellness, domestic and partner violence, community readiness for moving forward, and planning for the short, medium and long term.”

The impacts of ongoing colonization, residential schools, and intergenerational trauma are with us today. These men, the DUDES club and their “Brotherhood for Wellness”, and FNHA are changing lives and helping men connect to themselves, culture, and each other. The FNHA knows that healthy families, communities and nations – starts with each person.

It was a life-changing opportunity to be with you at both events, and amplify your crucial life-affirming work.

graphic recording and facilitation training workshop drawing change vancouver bc image of markers and text

October Graphic Facilitation Training Workshop – Vancouver Canada

Do you spend a lot of your time in meetings wondering, “What is this meeting about? Is this the best use of our time?”

Actually, it’s not – and Drawing Change can show you a better way. We want you to create meetings with more belonging and connection – using visual facilitation.

Our foundational training workshops will help you hone your listening and drawing skills to make meaning, increase collaboration, and solve problems.

Register HERE for our October 5-6, 2019 graphic facilitation training

sam bradd graphic facilitation training workshop vancouver image of sam holding markers

What will I learn in this graphic facilitation training?

  • Expand your leadership tool-box with visual superpowers
  • Learn how to include diverse voices in meetings
  • Develop your capacity to distill information
  • Sharpen your tools to have more effective meetings
  • Teach the visuals you need to get groups engaged
  • Hone your creative thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Explore visuals as a key tool for big change
  • Have deep conversations about working wisely with visuals and cultural safety

graphic facilitation and graphic recording workshop vancouver

Who should attend?

This workshop is for facilitators, educators, managers, and innovators – anyone who finds themselves working with groups (isn’t that everyone?). You don’t need to be a super-sketcher to be able to communicate visually. If you’ve ever drawn two overlapping circles to explain something, you’re already using visual thinking. This workshop will enhance how you connect ideas, listen and create visual summaries for meetings and events.

What’s the Agenda?

Before Day 1: Social dinner (optional, but a nice get to know you) the evening before the workshop

Agenda Day 1:

  • building a visual vocabulary – even if you think you “can’t draw”
  • lettering five ways: bring your flip charts to the next level
  • learning layouts and how to structure the page
  • hands on practice in a supportive way that builds confidence
  • digital ipad tools
  • resources for your success

Agenda Day 2:

  • visual tools for facilitating meetings, including templates
  • choosing the right tool for the right visual process
  • coaching opportunities, and co-creating the agenda  
  • talking circle about cultural safety and visuals, led by Indigenous graphic recorders

Agenda Day 3 (optional)

  • Intimate lab, capped at 10 people. We will practice graphic recording in a supportive environment
  • business questions and creating your action plan

How much does graphic facilitation training cost?

  • Early Bird Rate $1375 Canadian + GST
  • Regular Rate $1575 Canadian + GST
  • 1 space for Community Scholar Mentorship Program Rate $200 + GST (full for 2019)

Payment plan options available by request. Please

photo by Sarah Race Photography

What if I can’t afford the full rate?

Too many professional development opportunities are only for those who can afford it – and cost shouldn’t be a barrier for making the world a better place.

Drawing Change wants to spread our skills to people working in community, grassroots, and social justice movements. That’s why we offer community scholar spots, and give priority to self-identified Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour folks who are under 30(ish). Community scholars share their skills with community organizations and social movements afterwards. Applications for Community Scholar spaces are full for 2019, and applications will open again for 2020. 

Looking for tips to ask your employer to help fund your training? We wrote a letter to help.

What’s the workshop venue?

Creekside Community Centre is a beautiful venue with a full wall of windows, accessible and gender-inclusive washrooms, and a view of the ocean and seawall.

photo by Sarah Race Photography

Remind me what’s included?

  • Two full days of instruction, a social dinner, and an optional day 3 lab
  • Hot catered lunch and coffee/tea
  • Full kit of drawing supplies valued at over $100
  • Templates, handouts, a book of icons, and resources
  • Two exclusive Neuland® Ambassador gifts
  • A new network of visual practitioners to support you after the course!

I’m from out of town?

Wonderful! We’ll send out recommendations for places to stay and eat. Participants have travelled for this course from the UK, Japan, and across North America – we will make you feel welcome.

How do I register?

Register HERE for our October 5-6, 2019 graphic facilitation training! and email with any questions.

graphic recording and facilitation training workshop drawing change vancouver bc image of markers and text


Co-creating community agreements in meetings

Last month, Drawing Change posted a friendly question on social media:

What’s your favourite community agreement, for meetings?

The responses were so thoughtful and empowering, they had to be shared widely. 

As opposed to “ground rules”, a community agreement is often formed by the group at the beginning of a meeting (there’s a twist on this – more on this in a moment). These commitments can help to create a safer space, be referred to if conflicts arise, and help set the tone and focus for your time together.

Here’s what people contributed:

  • “Learn (or lean) into discomfort.”
  • “Ask for what you need, offer what you can.”
  • “Uphold commitments.”
  • “Listen to understand.”
  • “Let go in order to grow.”
  • “Assume good intent, until proven otherwise.”
  • “Dig deep and Let go.”
  • “Do no harm.”
  • “Support others – this is how you learn about your own strengths.”
  • “Listen to Build. (instead of saying ‘yeah, but…’)
  • “Talk in headlines.”  (Useful if you need to ask “can you give us the headline?”, to get someone to summarize a statement for everyone’s clarity.)
  • “Take the wisdom out of the room but leave the names out.”
  • “Talk to each other not about each other.”
  • “Authentic self expression.”
  • “Limited tech use: we are all grown ups (with work and family obligations) but do your best to be present and avoid the compulsive email checking.”
  • “Nothing about us without us.”
  • “Sustainable ideas consider needs of all, so if an idea doesn’t work for you or the group, consider an alternate!”
  • “Take care of your needs.”
  • (for community work in Northern Mexico, we talk about the quality of) “resonance: we do not compare, contrast, discount or diminish our stories or those of others – we resonate.”  

These agreements were contributed by Ferananda Ibarra, Chris Corrigan, Krisztina Kun, Trilby Smith, Katy Golinsky, Gray Miller Creative, Ankit Chhabra, wolf, Nadja Petranovskaja, Brandy Agerbeck, Natalie Ord, Monica Brasov-Curca, Christine Martell, Jill Banting, Rachel Marcuse, Ken Lima-Coelho, Mark Busse, Julie Gieseke

Facilitating and co-creating agreements

Recently, I’ve been rethinking community agreements. When is it best to suggest principles to the group, and when is it better for a group to create their own? For my graphic facilitation training workshops, I might start the room with a poster like the one in the image above – and ask the group if they have edits or additions. Setting the tone from the front of the room like this works well — but only in low-conflict situations. For years I always asked groups to write them together, but in short meetings or focus groups, when time is very precious or the group is not coming together for a high-stakes conversation, it can seem trite to ask the group to participate in these container-building activities.

But, I’m recently home from a Lewis Deep Democracy training, with greater clarity. Community agreements or “safe rules” in LDD lingo can be a profound way of co-creating trust and safety while managing conflict. And, they don’t need to be the first thing we do together (!). One of the Deep Democracy trainers talked about how it can be a choice to pause and ask groups to create their “safer rules” (what the group needs to feel safer and do their work well together), right before they edge into conflict or go deeper. It could be in the middle of the meeting, for example. When emotions are heightened, and we ask people to name what they truly need – it can help the group be more honest about what they need to participate. And, she said, if the group asks for rules at the very beginning of the meeting – then she knows that they are already at the edge. Aha! So we can ask groups to create their own agreements from scratch, at a key moment, if we’re going to spend considerable time together.

Also, consider if the work should be split into more parts. Defining community agreements or ground rules can support better dialogue with self, the group, and community. As Monica Brasov-Curca shared with me on Facebook, “At a wonderful dialogue training, the trainer split the ground rules exercise into 3 parts. 1.) Community agreements 2.) Workshop conditions 3.) Participant intentions. And we co created all three…. it really is beautiful.”

Facilitate the conditions for being well together

Whether you begin with a list of suggestions, or ask a group to build their own agreements – you’ll find what works for the group. And if I’m a participant, here are some guidelines that I personally might suggest, to create the conditions for working well together.

Together we know a lot. We want to honour that the group has wisdom, and the answers are in the room. Everyone can be an expert. To elicit this, we can be curious and respectful with each other. Some actions to make this happen can be about encouraging questions instead of assumptions, and enabling anyone in the room to lead.

Take space, make space. Make room for people who think out loud by asking them to breathe first before speaking, and make more room for people who prefer to think quietly, to move up a little faster. This is sometimes known as “step up /step back” but with less ableism in the language.

Lean into discomfort. We’re only growing when we are on the edge of our learning. Sometimes it’s hard!

Uphold confidentiality. We don’t want people to share someone else’s personal stories, information, or attribute things to people without their permission – but we want people to share the knowledge beyond the room.

Do our best. Mistakes are okay! Make room to say” ouch, oops, move on.”  It’s okay to try and learn and do-over, be better. Asking for help is part of our movements for a better world.

Whichever tools we use, we want to build agreements where people what they need to learn as openly and securely together as possible.


Drawing Change graphic facilitation workshop Vancouver 2019

Meet Drawing Change’s 2019 Community Scholars!

At Drawing Change, we believe in growing the field of graphic recording and visual facilitation with an equity lens. Our Community Scholar program is a commitment to holding spaces for people working in community, grassroots, and social justice movements. This year, we have two sets of workshops (May & October 2019), which means we get to share twice as many new, talented visual practitioners with you.

Jo Billows and Emily Thiessen are Drawing Change’s May 2019 Community Scholars!

Both fresh from completing our third annual (now bi-annual!) Graphic Recording & Facilitation workshop this May, Jo and Emily have already visualized social change through their first graphic recording session in the past couple of weeks. They use visuals to amplify causes they are passionate about, and we’ve seen first-hand how extremely talented they both are. We’re so pleased to have them as part of the Drawing Change team this year. Say hello, and learn a little bit more about each of them below!

Drawing Change graphic facilitation workshop Vancouver 2019
Photo by Sarah Race Photography

Emily Thiessen

Emily is an illustrator and cartoonist, and a community organizer trying to prevent the world from warming by 4 degrees celsius. She comes from Mennonite and Malaysian-Chinese roots, and grew up on beautiful Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ Territory.

What book would you recommend for others to read about creativity?
Beautiful Trouble Book Cover

Beautiful Trouble is my bible of creative direct action. It’s full of wisdom learned from creative pranks throughout history, from the Battle in Seattle banner drop to the Salt March. The whole book is also a website.



What inspires you most about visual practice or graphic recording?

I just really like pictures! When we’re kids, we’re taught to slowly give up drawing and dedicate ourselves to the more serious pursuits of reading and writing, unless we are one of the select few kids identified as “artists”. I think because of this we cut off our capacity to understand the world in different ways. I’m glad that right now there is a resurgence of interest in visual media like graphic recording and comics to communicate complicated things. More pictures everywhere!

Where can we see more of your work? or @archipelagic on Instagram.


Drawing Change graphic facilitation workshop Vancouver 2019
Photo by Sarah Race Photography

Jo Billows

Jo is Northern Coast Salish (Homalco). They are a queer, trans, mixed, urban Indigenous spoken word poet and facilitator. Jo enjoys holding space for complex conversations and using the transformative power of storytelling and the arts to shift perspectives. Their desire to work in the spaces where facilitation, art and social change overlap has led them to work with organizations such as IndigenEYEZ, Reframing Relations & Out on Screen. They are excited to learn graphic facilitation, and see it as a continuation of their work and a way to continue to weave together stories in ways that lift up and contribute to their communities.

What book would you recommend for others to read about creativity?

Beautiful Trouble Book CoverFor creative inspiration, I love looking at Indigenous futurisms and other visionary fiction, such as Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements.



What inspires you most about visual practice or graphic recording?

I see a connection between graphic recording and the Coast Salish practice of being called to witness. I feel honoured and excited about being a witness to many different gatherings, meetings, and events and offering another way to capture and share the conversations that take place.


Thank you Emily and Jo!

Are you interested in graphic recording? Sign up for our next Graphic Recording & Facilitation workshop – this October 5 & 6, 2019.

graphic facilitation meetup vancouver victoria tanya gadsby sam bradd

Building Community – Vancouver and Victoria Visual Practitioners Meetup

In April, Sam Bradd (Vancouver) and Tanya Gadsby (Victoria) co-hosted an social evening for graphic facilitators and visual practitioners. Thank you to everyone who came – from 6+ cities and by car, ferries and even a plane – to network and talk shop.

graphic recording facilitation meetup vancouver 2019 sam bradd tanya gadsby

You know you’re in the right space for a visual practitioners meetup when someone else has already drawn on the walls. We rented CityStudio, a creative collaboration space for urban planning: there’s a giant blackboard wall, picnic tables, and an affinity map of post-it notes connecting City challenges with students eager to solve them.

We all felt right at home! (Need a similar venue? Try using the “Airbnb of space rentals”,

The Vancouver community hosts quarterly meetups, and we usually alternate between something social and a skillshare. This was our first Vancouver/Victoria collaboration – it was great to build more bridges with colleagues in other cities. And of course thanks to Neuland for the ambassador gifts – they were a huge hit!

Tips for other hosts:

⁃Keep it simple, and don’t over program the night. Let people move around and meet each other. We had a 15-minute introduction activity, including drawing and “what’s your superpower?”

⁃Alternate socials with more hands-on demos/ topics to attract different people

⁃Host at a roomy, public venue (not someone’s house) once in a while so new folks will feel welcome / safe attending

⁃Keep in touch: use a social media platform or email list so people can RSVP or plan for the next one

⁃ A light potluck on a work night is always a hit, it feels like we all know not to bring chips for dinner by now.

Regional meetups are great to connect practitioners for sharing skills, opportunities, and building a supportive community in between IFVP conferences, and to attract people to join the IFVP for an even stronger network.

Speaking of IFVP, both Tanya and Sam will see you at Montclair! 

Stay in touch:

– in Vancouver: Vancouver-area visual Thinkers Facebook group; Sam Bradd of Drawing Change

– Victoria: Tanya Gadsby of The Fuselight

March visual facilitation highlights – 3 projects on 3 continents

It’s not even over yet, but I can say that March was amazing. My time was shared between group facilitation and graphic facilitation which felt like a great balance. Here’s three dynamic projects this month — on three continents!

Nepal: Facilitation for Oxfam Canada

Recently, I had the privilege of facilitating for Oxfam Canada in Nepal. The Creating Spaces project is a 5-year initiative about ending violence against women and girls, and the meeting brought together over 30 activists and programmers from Oxfam and partners in all six countries. Any other organization could have settled for reading powerpoints to each other for a few days – but not Oxfam!

Together, we built a facilitation plan for 5 days that featured simple shifts for more participation, and was an engaging and meaningful event. It included:

  • Presentations at a strict 10 minutes or less, to enable maximum time for questions; share detailed powerpoints after
  • Graphic recording to help summarize and synthesize key parts of the week
graphic recording during Creating Spaces –  featured in Oxfam Canada’s newsletter
  • Varied Q+A formats: we used post-it notes, pair-and-share before plenary questions, panel format for group questions, and more
oxfam canada – creating spaces leaders, featured in Oxfam Canada’s newsletter

  • Carving out time for relationships, such as a group dinner and outing – in our case, a 7am event for International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day is a national holiday in Nepal
  • Share leadership and facilitation energy among all the participants and convening team – many people can lead energizers, songs, and host mini-skill shares
Don’t be shy to use movement energizers liberally for a 5-day session. I learned two great new ways to clap/show gratitude for each other – like this!

The event’s purpose was to “review preliminary results of our mid-project learning review, discuss research and …brainstorm campaign and advocacy initiatives and ways to amplify our results over the remaining two years of the project.” Here’s to the continued success of Creating Spaces!

Geneva: Graphic Facilitation for World Health Organization

sam bradd world health organization vaccines

After some giant travel hiccups leaving Nepal, I went to Geneva to support the World Health Organization’s event Vaccines2030 Vision, working with facilitator Chris Colaco and for WHO lead Kate O’Brien. The meeting was the Global Vaccines & Immunization Post 2020 Initiative’s Consultation Meeting, in Switzerland.

I’ve loved my long-standing relationship with WHO focussing on emerging and infectious diseases, and as a result I’m pretty passionate about life-saving vaccines and immunization. Here are some cel phone/ twitter snaps of work in progress.

#Vaccines2030Vision had a session on value propositions and key stakeholders. Big themes included new data, linking health to other sectors, and I personally liked this one: advocacy is a two way street. it’s win-win when you can strengthen other’s sectors that mutually benefit yours. 


graphic facilitation world health organization Vaccines sam bradd


One interesting thing emerged, that I also hear in other sessions: a tiny list of words of things to include/not include gave me great hope. Equity made it to the top 5, and jargon like “vaccine hesitancy” and “last mile” may be on their way out. Also, the room had a good reminder for work of any kinds: people need to see themselves reflected in any document, and importantly, in the process that builds it. It’s not “build a document then socialize it”, it’s build a process to socialize a document.

Allies in Aging – North Vancouver

And closer to home, Allies in Aging was an extraordinary event in North Vancouver also in March. “Nearly 250 seniors, service providers and community leaders gathered for our Allies in Aging in Action Conference on Feb. 28. The Pinnacle at the Pier ballroom buzzed with conversation and laughter as we connected around our collective work.”

Here’s live graphic recording images from that day, featuring a very moving keynote by Vickie Cammack of Tamarack Institute. You might wonder, why bring visuals into a meeting with scientists, policy makers, or anyone? To help surround you with your ideas. To have a dedicated listener and rapporteur. To invite a type of creativity that can hold emotion and momentum in a different way than flip charts can alone.

live graphic recording and graphic facilitation vancouver sam bradd for allies in aging live graphic recording and graphic facilitation vancouver sam bradd for allies in aging


Meanwhile, the team at Drawing Change was travelling with their markers for a wide range of projects. Most of the work was confidential, but we’ll have photos from the team’s public-facing projects soon! Here’s Michelle Buchholz graphic recording  at the CreativeCityStrategy for the City of Vancouver, along with Yolanda Liman and Tiaré Jung:

Ready to add creativity into your next meeting, agenda – or even your toolbox? Our training session is coming up in May. Two-day training, no drawing expertise required, with an optional third day for coaching. Sign up here and create meetings with more connection and belonging.  Email us at with any questions.