Category: Facilitation Tools

Evaluation and Graphic Recording together for social justice

What if evaluation methodologies were about transformational systems change, and deepening social justice? An article in the free, new e-Anthology from the Developmental Evaluation Institute (DEI) features graphic facilitation as a tool for developmental evaluation.

Written by Trilby Smith and Natalie Ord from the Vancouver Foundation and the Fostering Change Initiative, Trilby and Natalie shared their experiences using graphic recording for developmental evaluation. 

It was an opportunity for me to reflect on how graphic recording can inspire action. Some of my thoughts: 

“Art can inspire action. Fostering Change uses policy, youth-led engagement and art, including graphic recording, for social change. By listening and drawing, graphic recording humanizes evaluation tools, engagement and research. We can show participant voices, statistics, and visualize together the system-wide change that’s needed.

In this image, when youth say foster kid stories shouldn’t be exploited, but personal stories can put pressure on the system, the Youth Advisory Committee is describing a balance of qualitative and quantitative approaches. That’s also how graphic recording operates. Additionally, the power of graphic recording comes from helping people see that they’ve been heard. And, because it’s done live, we can be in a relationship with the speakers to ensure we’re capturing things with transparency and integrity. Advocacy work shouldn’t be extractive: as the YAC says, this work can honour your whole self.”  

 

Download the anthology for free here.  

The DEI “provides pathways for new, emerging, and mid-career evaluators to develop skills in developmental evaluation for social justice.” Three graphic recording images are featured, including by Tiaré Jung (below), and Corrina Keeling. The anthology is great and highly encourage people to download it.

visual facilitation books 2018 on bookshelf

Our favourite visual facilitation books to add to your backpack

Summer is in full swing – hopefully this means you’re working at a slower pace lately, and maybe have a little extra time to flip a few pages at the beach. Personally, I’m trying to catch up on my reading-for-fun. I asked the Drawing Change team to send me one book that they found helpful along their visual journeys.

Half are outside the ‘foundational’ visual practice books that often inform our work. And, if you’re new to the field, you’ll also see a list of classic books that are perfect for learning how to think with your pen.

We hope you’ll find all these titles useful!

“Unstuck by Keith Yamashita and Sandra Spataro, Ph.D. is one of the very first “design thinking toolkit” type books that I came across – and it is concise, flexible, funny, and makes great use of graphics. Keith’s company, SYPartners works with leading companies and organizations to help them evolve and innovate. Published back in 2004, the book has since spawned an app, a website, and a workshop series…but the book is a pocket-size tool that you will reach for again and again.” – Snow Dowd

“I think I’ve bought 8 copies of adrienne maree brown’s book Emergent Strategy to give away so far. It’s about complexity, radical self-love, and community in your facilitation, with a sprinkling of science fiction/futurism.” – Sam Bradd

 

 

“A great practical 101 – The Graphic Facilitator’s Guide by Brandy Agerback breaks down the process of live graphic recording. This guide is filled with friendly diagrams that help you find the balance in listening, deciding, and drawing. It’s the kind of book that begins to uncover what’s under the surface of the tip of the iceberg.” – Tiaré Jung

“This book provides instructions and illustrations on the basics of drawing, designing, painting and carving in the Northwest Coast Indigenous art. It reminds me that we must continuously practice and work towards our drawing goals.” –  Michelle Buchholz (Wet’suwet’en) (note from Sam: please, if you’re not Indigenous, don’t copy or appropriate Indigenous art.)

“I recommend The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander. In life, we spend a lot of time measuring results against specific outcomes. This book reminds readers that everything we experience is made up. We can shift our thoughts, to experience life based on a frame of possibility. We can focus on how we contribute, so we look at things in a new way. We can embrace the way things actually are but shift our perspective.” – Melissa Breker

 

“Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards is my absolute go-to recommendation for anyone who wants to learn how to really draw. It changed the way I see in a profound way.” – Annalee Kornelsen

 

“Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture is one of those books that I have kept from my university days. It’s not a leisurely read, but it’s a great introductory text that works to instill critical awareness in the reader when considering visual culture, and visual symbols of representation. How do the images we encounter influence us? How can we break out of our assumptions and consider inclusive (or new) ways of seeing and creating images? There are limits to its theoretical frameworks, and could do with some updating and inclusion of other perspectives, but it’s a useful foundational text with which to build a visual language upon.” – Carina Nilsson

 

“Kelvy Bird’s way of scribing, Generative Scribing, has changed my practice. The workshop and books are gifts to the field. This book describes “generative scribing” and “key concepts that inform and cultivate a scribe’s inner capacities of being, joining, perceiving, knowing, and drawing.” – Sam Bradd

 

Classic texts for sketchnoting and graphic facilitation

• The Sketchnote Handbook: the illustrated guide to visual note taking – by Mike Rhode

• Draw To Win and Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures – Dan Roam

• Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences Paperback – Nancy Duarte

• Design a Better Business: New Tools, Skills, and Mindset for Strategy and Innovation – with Lisa Kay Solomon, Justin Lokitz, and Patrick Van Der Pijl

• The Doodle Revolution – Unlock the Power To Think Differently – Sunni Brown

• Draw Your Big Idea: the Ultimate Creativity Tool for Turning Thoughts into Action and Dreams Into Reality – Nora Herting and Heather Willems

• The Front of The Room: a book on facilitation by experienced facilitators – by Dan Newman

Drawn Together Through Visual Practice – edited by Brandy Agerbeck, Kelvy Bird, Sam Bradd and Jennifer Shepherd

… and stay tuned for the Graphic Facilitation Field Guide coming out in 2019!

EuViz Workshops – Bias In The Pen and The Rising Tide with Brandy Agerbeck

Excited to see Copenhagen this summer! I’m co-facilitating two workshops at the EuViz 2018 conference for visual practitioners, and I thought it was a great opportunity to share resources I’m using these days to help me grow, and change. (And help me recover from making mistakes. I make lots of mistakes.) What’s most important is that it’s not just about what you draw. Our work is informed before we pick up the pen. 

They’re connected for me personally, as I want to promote equity and inclusion through my visual work, in my relationships, and to help raise the bar as our visual profession.

In both workshops, we’ll be working at the three levels of personal, practitioner, and the field.

It starts with me

 

Here’s a totally subjective list from what I’m reading these days, centered around decolonization/re-Indigenization, anti-racism and anti-Indigenous racism. I tweet out resources every week at @sambradd, too. We’ll share more of our workshop/learning tools after the session, too.

The White Allies’ Guide to Collecting Aunt Linda

You can’t just draw purple people and call it diversity

Workshop Guide to Discussing Identity, Power and Privilege

Sum of Us’ Progressive Style Guide

Decolonization Reading List (for Turtle Island)

Allyship, Advocacy, and the Legitimate Role of Non-Indigenous Folks

CBC: 18 books by Indigenous women you should read (Turtle Island)

Cultural Appreciation or Cultural Appropriation by Unsettling America

Twitter: https://twitter.com/IndigenousXca 

Read more

Growing your visual practice business – planning tools

Most creative people want to make stuff, not run the business side of things. Maybe this is familiar: you’ve launched your visual practice business (great!) and it’s been more than a year (congratulations!) and now maybe you’re wondering – how do I get more of the work I really want? 

I’m home from teaching “Beyond the Basics” of graphic facilitation with Sophia Liang, and the smart questions from participants inspired me to map out some new visuals about growing a creative business.

First up: Find your focus. Or foci.

The field of visual practice is huge.

Therapy + visuals = art therapy. Education / studying + visuals = sketchnotes. Facilitation + visuals = graphic facilitation. Mediation + visuals = visual mediation. Visuals are expanding the edges of many fields. What else is possible with your unique background?visual practice what is your focus

  1. What combination of visual work is part of your practice right now? Maybe it’s 50% videos and 50% graphic recording, or 20% x five different kinds of creative projects. No problem.
  2. Draw a circle and write down your work in the centre.

Read more

2017 Trends in Graphic Recording: year end wrap up

It’s time for the annual wrap-up from some of my closest graphic facilitation and graphic recording colleagues.

Last year, we shared what we noticed about about human nature or communication (because we’re at hundreds of meetings!). This year, the questions are a little harder. Consider the work of visual practitioners we admire: how do they work? What are they doing differently? What do we notice? Secondly, what’s the one thing the field of visual practice needs to do next – but is avoiding?

Here’s why these questions are important.

When people see a beautiful graphic recording image, they’ll often say to us, “that’s so pretty”. Which is very kind, but at the same time – what if it’s a pretty picture of the wrong conversation?

The visual practice field has matured enough to look beyond the “pretty” in our work. It’s great to congratulate each other on a job well done, but we also need to make more room for the critical, the intangible, and the process behind our work – as a way for our industry to challenge itself and effectively grow. Making space for this conversation will help us meet our challenges head-on. Let’s talk about process and not just the end product.

This year’s questions were inspired by Julie Gieseke and Anthony Weeks, and I’m looking forward to hearing your additions in the comments.

CONSTANTLY ASSESS VALUE

“I admire practitioners who are working on bringing visual tools and methods to industries and fields that we don’t (yet) think of as visual to transform how work gets done.

“I see that the field needs to be less self congratulatory. Not all graphic Recording is helpful or “amazing”! We need to really ask how and where we can really bring value to clients.”  

– Nevada Lane – Lane Change Consulting

ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT THE VALUE OF OUR WORK

“I admire practitioners who are delving deeper into their practice, asking hard questions about the value of our work, what it means to partner effectively with our clients, how our work fits into large frameworks of complexity and systems thinking, and how we can truly serve organizational and social transformation. These are the questions that are working me right now, and I gain nourishment from others who are further along the road that I am.”   

– Avril Orloff – http://outsidethelines.ca/

PRACTICE PROFESSIONALISM

“Professionalism is important in our field — professionalism in how we position graphic facilitation / recording, in how we present ourselves at events, and in how we contract / license our work. Another layer to this is encouraging each other to develop expertise in certain industries, types of events, or formats.

“I admire colleagues who are carving out niches and exploring new ways of applying graphics rather than one-size-fits-all. This pushes our industry to innovate and evolve!”

– Tanya Gadsby – Drawing Out Ideas

DE-PRIVILEGE THE PRETTY, EMBRACE THE UGLY

“As the field expands I admire professionals who are strategic about what organizations they reduce rates for, particularly those thinking of what they want to do in their own future work. There should always be a rationale for a rate lower than the local average.

“I see that the field needs to really encourage creative new approaches, dialogic processes, methods, materials and facilitators from new places, so that distinctiveness of each of our works is a priority. We ourselves need to de-privilege the pretty and embrace the ugly so that our clients are more likely to.”

– Aaron Johannes – Imagine a Circle

BE HONEST ABOUT WHAT WE VALUE

“I admire practitioners who put listening, service, synthesis, and clarity at the center of their work. Yes, I love beauty. Yes, I love imagination. Yes, I love technical proficiency in drawing…AND it’s NOT all about the beauty of the picture or image. It’s about the utility and meaning-making of the image. The field, as a whole, needs to get more honest about what we value.”

– Anthony Weeks @weeksonian

ENVISION NEW USES AND SETTINGS FOR GRAPHIC FACILITATION

“I admire practitioners who are delving into new areas that can benefit from graphic facilitation. For example, I’ve seen some interesting work with family mediation, mapping a personal journey, life coaching, and working with at-risk youth. There are so many ways that we can inject some creativity and connectedness within these conversations, and I think the opportunities are endless.”

– Liisa Sorsa – Think Link Graphics

PUT THE TIME INTO RELATIONSHIPS

“I admire the practitioners who have long-term relationships with trusted clients, and want to see the field grow in this direction. Not all visual practitioners are interchangeable – and we shouldn’t pretend we are, even if our handwriting matches. When we reach out for feedback about the images from the group and don’t hear anything – or if they just say things look ‘amazing’ – what we’re missing is trust. Everything changes for the better when it’s a two-way relationship.”

– Sam Bradd, Drawing Change

LEGITIMIZE VISUAL PRACTICE

“I admire practitioners who are working on the legitimization for our profession. We provide a valuable service that clients are still learning to discern. Educating our clients about the value we bring to groups can be challenging and the more white papers, studies, and well-researched and thought out articles help justify why every meeting should include a visual practitioner. Developing the science and “academics” behind it is a step towards true legitimization and I am deeply grateful to those individuals.”

– Sunshine Benbelkacem – That Girl Shines

ENGAGE IN SELF-REFLECTION

“I admire practitioners who engage in self reflection to deepen, stretch and improve their work on all levels. Not just drawing & lettering, but in their listening, in being present, in questioning their assumptions and biases. And in showing up authentically, being open to learning.”

– Emily Shepard – The Graphic Distillery

CONNECT THROUGH A SHARED COLLECTIVE VISION

“In our fast-paced, complex world, it’s no coincidence the field of visual practitioners has grown. Something we’re avoiding is finding our story as a collective visual field. What’s our vision? What values do we share? Should EUVIZ and IFVP join forces? As a Professional Coach, a similar conversation happened that resulted in the creation of the International Coaching Federation. I hope our visual field can find our collective vision too.”

–  Yiely Ho

VALUE LISTENING AS WELL AS ILLUSTRATION

“I admire people who are thought partners for their clients and consider themselves designers that deliver an experience, as opposed to a vendor that delivers a service. I also admire people who are looking at the outer edges of our practice and thinking about what’s next for us as a field, particularly with the rapid advent of tech tools (Jamboard by Google, hand drawn sketch animation software, drag and drop apps, etc.) that will inevitably “replace” some of the work we do.

“I would like to see our field place equal collective value on work that demonstrates deep listening in service to a group and its process as it does on highly illustrative drawing.”

– Giselle Chow – Giselle Chow Consulting

___________

Let’s continue these conversations into 2018, not just online but also in real life! Two ways we can do this are: meet up with me at the EuViz conference in Denmark this July 31 – August 2, 2018, or consider joining Sophia Liang and I for the Beyond the Basics workshop February 11 – 13, 2018 in Portland.

In the meantime, a happy and healthy holiday time to you and yours!

Question Well – a reflection tool for visual practitioners

the Question Well tool

Hello! We’re Jennifer Shepherd and Sam Bradd. We’re visual practitioners, educators and facilitators. We live across the country from each other in Canada, and have collaborated on a range of writing projects about visual practice in the last few years. This tool below is an excerpt from a chapter you’ll find in our co-edited anthology Drawn Together Through Visual Practice, published in 2016.

We hope you’ll put it in your visual practice kit and pull it out many times as you choose to reflect in mini moments that transform how well you draw.

 — PDF Download – Drawn Together Through Visual Practice Chapter  —-

We’re both committed to reflection as an integral part of our visual practice. As we make time to reflect, our active curiosity calls us to explore:

What more can we know about ourselves?

What new possibilities for action do we see?

How can we share what we’ve learned with others?

We’d love to learn from you, too.

How ready are you to draw?

How does the way you show up impact the quality and sensitivity of the drawings you make?

Picture it: there’s a clean slate of white space in front of you. You’ve got your markers or tablet all juiced up and the meeting is about to begin. You take a breath, look around, and ask: where am I in this picture?

 

Wherever you find yourself, we invite you to ask a second question,

What deep and careful reflection could I choose now to listen and draw at my best?

This small moment to pause has the potential to make a big difference – in our creativity, in our relationship with our clients and participants, and how we expand the field of visual practice.

We believe that taking mini moments to pause and reflect can transform how we draw and radically improve the value of what we do as visual practitioners.

And that is the premise of this Question Well tool. When we reflect in the moment, or on a moment from the past, we extend our awareness and care and create openings to expand our competence. This is true regardless of whether we hold a ready pen, offer input or bear witness to another’s creatives process or interpret a completed work.

We invite you – our colleagues, clients, and facilitation partners – to notice areas for reflection in your own practice, wherever that might be. When you’re ready to take a mini moment, dive with us into this rich well of questions and see what emerges!

What you’ll find in the Question Well tool:

  1. We introduce a new model for reflection that is unique to graphic facilitation and visual practitioners. What other models come to mind?
  2. We share the Question Well with 64 questions and 9 areas of focus. What new questions would you add?
  3. We intersperse anecdotes from our story as practitioners into the Question Well, and invite you to think about your story.
  4. We suggest ways to use the questions.

Let’s jump in.

Introducing a New Model for Reflection

There are many dynamics and relationships that are worthy of reflection during visual facilitation. Here’s a diagram that illustrates what we mean.

In this mini book, you’ll see questions in the Question Well organized into 9 areas of focus – one for each of the connections shown in the diagram.

We have crafted 64 questions to support your reflection. We’ve organize them in 9 areas of focus to help you navigate your way through the Question Well.

 

 

 

We offer these questions for how to use this chapter as a kind of personal workbook:

  • Reflect on your own, or gather with peers, clients, and others
  • Read the questions aloud, pause, and notice what answers arise
  • Phone a colleague and have a conversation
  • Write a journal entry and see what emerges
  • Bring your thoughts forward to the field of visual practice online or at a conference

We offer these methods as wisdom from our shared experience as a gift to the visual practice field. We’ve tried them all, and they work! These are only a start. Now, it’s your turn. We invite you to share your own questions on the Drawn Together Through Visual Practice website, too.

About the Authors

Jennifer Shepherd inspires well-intentioned and overwhelmed leaders to gain the clarity they need to create insightful connections and make their next move. She has oodles of facilitation and collaborative change experience working with local communities, regional networks and national networks from housing to hockey. She is known for asking questions that prompt us to ask more questions, draw together, and solve the complex puzzles of our time. Jennifer is an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator who loves to drum and walk the world in wonder. Contact her at www.livingtapestries.ca

Sam Bradd is a graphic facilitator and specialist in information design. He uses visuals for people that want to engage, solve problems, and lead. Together, we’re Drawing Change. In the last 15 years, Sam has collaborated with the World Health Organization, Google, Indigenous organizations, and researchers on four continents. In 2016, his side project the award-winning Graphic History Collective published a book of comics because how we tell histories can change the world. He has a Masters in Educational Studies (University of British Columbia). Contact him at www.drawingchange.com.

 


Read more in Drawn Together Through Visual Practice 

This Question Well tool is part of a larger book, Drawn Together Through Visual Practice. It is edited by Brandy Agerbeck, Kelvy Bird, Sam Bradd and Jennifer Shepherd and was published in 2016. This anthology demonstrates the power of visuals as a sensemaking device in an age of unprecedented complexity. It is available on Amazon.com in book and Kindle formats.

www.visualpracticebook.com.


WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT VISUAL THINKING?

Check out our Graphic Recording and Facilitation Workshop on October 28 – 29, 2017 in Vancouver, Canada

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