Graphic Facilitation Workshop wrap up – Vancouver Canada

The Drawing Change team just wrapped up its annual Visual Facilitation training in Vancouver! This year we welcomed participants from the UK, the east and west coast of the US, Canada, and Japan. Here’s to your continued visual success, fellow visual thinkers. Here’s video highlights from our training, and thanks so much for the opportunity to learn together.

Reflections on new things from this workshop:

Eating together.  The dinner before the workshop starts is still such a highlight. It builds a comraderie and greater trust between participants – before we need to get vulnerable and make art together.

Towards Greater Cultural Safety. This year, I asked trainer Shawna Duncan to host a conversation about working with cultural safety and visuals. (At first, I thought a panel might be good, but Shawna guided me into how we could use Indigenous methodologies instead for which I am so grateful.) Grounded in the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, we used a variety of methods to discuss how to be in relationship, draw and listen wisely, and then how to find more resources to continue this work in our own lives.

Iteration. Philosophically, I’m refining my training style. I believe we creatively learn best when we try right away, then practice and iterate. So instead of spending an entire morning with our sketchbooks working small, we learn the basics and then get up to apply them to the wall right away to learn graphic recording principles. I’ve dropped some of the content-delivery I used to do, and focus instead on setting up participants to learn with each other at their own pace. There is no finish line, there is no desired outcome – only to be able to provide the opportunity for people to learn what they want.

Better Reflection. Speaking of peer learning, we also debriefed in a new way on Day 1. I didn’t go to art school, but I took one course in university that gave me a taste for what an art critique is like (anxiety, judgey, lonely) and I don’t think it’s a positive experience to build up creativity and resilience. So instead of me singling out each person’s work for feedback/feed-forward, I asked every person in the room to take post-it notes, walk around, and identify a strength on each person’s graphic recording. By noticing what we admire in others’ work, it’s often a sign for what we want to work on in ourselves / in our own work. One of those “one finger pointing out, three fingers pointing back” things. And such a success! Everyone had at least a dozen positive affirmations on their first graphic recording poster.

New: Third Day for next workshop. Speaking of more feedback and personalized attention, I think I’ll be adding a third and optional day to the next workshop. I’d like to experiment with a third day for longer projects, smaller groups, and the ability for me to work 1:1 with people who want that kind of learning environment. (For an excellent example of this kind of learning, I’d also recommend Brandy Agerbeck’s Lab – max of 6 people, in Chicago). Some participants can only take 2 days off work, so the 2-day workshop will stay intact – but some people would want to immediately be able to apply what they’ve learned in a supportive environment, and we can do that together on day 3.

I noticed that the field overall has grown by leaps and bounds from when I began teaching workshops. Participants are curious for resources, tools and practices that weave into their existing work and how to add visuals – I can’t wait to see where we will all go next.

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NEW resource that just launched – a custom magazine with resources, tips, and the foundations of a visual vocabulary for participants. For now, available only in-person at workshops.

Read more about the workshop content here, and the next workshop will be May 2019.