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.
- Julie Stuart and Claudia Lopez (bios below) and I are facilitating “A Brave space: exploring bias and how it shows up in the pen,” and
- The wonderful Brandy Agerbeck and I co-lead “The Rising Tide: your contribution to the growth and success of our field”.
They’re connected for me personally, as I want to promote equity and inclusion through my visual work, in my relationships, and also – 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
The internet is huge. There are so many resources, books, workshops, and forums to broaden my worldview, and challenge how I benefit from the privileges I hold. 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. I’ll be happy to share more of our workshop/learning tools after the session, too.
CBC: 18 books by Indigenous women you should read (Turtle Island)
Cultural Appreciation or Cultural Appropriation by Unsettling America
As visual practitioners
At the workshop with Julie and Claudia: “We will hold a brave space to have a conversation about bias and how it shows up in the pen for visual practitioners. We are being called to skillfully handle conversations and imagery about diversity, racial equity, and inclusion. When our clients are doing transformational work – whether it’s inside their organizations or about wider societal change – we must be aware of the intersections of race, gender, ability, sexuality, and more. As these conversations are driving real transformation – we need to be prepared so that we can support our clients better.” We’ll be working at the three levels of personal, practitioner, and the field.
Then, Brandy and I will host a conversation about impact, standards, quality and credibility, to help raise the tide: “At Euviz 2018, Brandy Agerbeck and I will begin with a context setting conversation, where we share what we’re seeing around the topics of Impact, Standards, Quality and Credibility. Then we move into workshopping time where YOU begin naming and shaping your contribution to the field. We’ll end by sharing our offerings with each other to gain support and momentum. Together, we’re rising the tide for all boats in the field. Individually, participants will have a stronger plan for their own contribution, such as your personal code of ethics, your statement of work, videos or ebooks that educate our clients, and other types of thought leadership.”
Resources for Visual Practitioners
- in 2016 I wrote a 4-part resource about cultural safety for visual practitioners and put it online for free,
- Jennifer Shepherd and I co-wrote a mini book on reflection,
- in 2017 I gathered ideas from a dozen visual practitioners about how they work in an informed way for diversity, then facilitated a workshop at the 2017 International Forum of Visual Practitioners’ conference to broaden the conversation.
In the field: increasing diversity, equity and inclusion
I’m active in our professional association, the International Forum of Visual Practitioners. You’ll usually find me behind the scenes, writing bylaws or helping with policy. The IFVP will be working on a new code of ethics this year, and it’s a great time for IFVP to also be considering how we as a profession can work on diversity, equity, and inclusion issues.
Change initiatives inside organizations take time. And doing a change initiative in a wiser way is always possible. It’s complex, of course, and starts with listening to people who are affected. This article below outlines broad, general steps that I think are helpful to keep in mind for large change initiatives.
There’s important work to be done. We can set the bar as a profession, and then help raise the bar for the overall field. Too often, organizations say they want to increase diversity/equity/inclusion, then jump into solutions like “let’s have a lunch and learn” or “let’s invite in a guest speaker”. As someone who’s known to jump to the “solutions” too fast, I know that feeling all too well.
Personally, I’ll be volunteering to help shape the IFVP code of ethics. It’s too soon to jump in and say what’s needed – I don’t want to fall into the trap of assuming I know what we need yet, and we don’t know who needs to be at the table. But that’s what this process is all about – finding out how to listen, then move to action.
See you at EuViz!
What are you excited about learning?
—— Euviz workshop biographies: This workshop is a team approach between Sam Bradd, Claudia Lopez, and Julie Stuart. We came together to host a conversation in a way that mirrors the positive changes we want to see in the visual practitioner field for greater diversity, equity, and opportunity. Julie (Atlanta, USA) and Sam (Vancouver, Canada) are white, visual practitioners who have made it part of their ongoing personal/professional practice to challenge the privilege and unconscious biases they hold. Claudia Lopez (New York, USA) is a native of Mexico, who having experienced both sides of privilege and bias as a Latina immigrant to the US and through her work in social justice movements, is committed to advancing equity in our field and supporting a shift to higher levels of professional responsibility to create equitable change through our work. As white people, Julie and Sam acknowledge how Black, Indigenous and People of Colour have done unpaid labour educating on bias for years; they are taking action to help people who hold a lot of privilege see where they need to make space.