Highlights and resources from the 2017 IFVP conference

It was half family reunion and half summer camp (but with way more markers) – the annual International Forum of Visual Practitioners conference! Graphic recorders, graphic facilitators, illustrators, designers, and process consultants from around the world came together for a 4-day conference. This year I launched three new things at IFVP – a new workshop with Sophia Liang, a conversation circle on diversity in our field, and a mini-book on reflection. As always, I gathered a ton of new resources, too – here are my highlights!

(*note: I attended the pre-con and just Day 1, so head over to Tricia Walker’s update for a full picture.)

New workshop with Sophia Liang

graphic recording workshop

Sophia Liang, Founder and Principal of Graphic Footprints and I launched a new workshop, Towards Mastery – a 1.5 day intensive for visual practitioners with 3+ years of experience to advance their core visual skills and deepen their business development knowledge.

Our accelerated workshop was customized, highly experiential, and a peer-based learning environment – and brought together participants from seven countries. Folks had to answer a pre-selection questionnaire so we could tailor the content. Thank you for making the investment in your craft – and for joining us! 

Here’s a few highlights:

Using a Kanban Board

I’m a huge fan of the Kanban board, a visual tool part of Lean thinking.Why a Kanban? Just do three things at once. And the satisfaction of seeing what you did – ahhhh. And, it’s a visual system: you can use it to track your own work visually, or help clients during workshops/change projects. Here’s a quick primer.

If you know each day you’re going to be doing or moving forward only three things, life becomes manageable. When life becomes manageable, it also becomes more enjoyable and allows you to more easily identify the sources of that joy. Armed with that positive knowledge, you’ll know how to and when to recharge. This is exactly how I want to spend the rest of my life. – Via Design*Sponge

Using visual tools – beyond graphic recording

Visual facilitation is about the broadest umbrella of tools to support groups visually – including graphic recording, and beyond. We started a list to get people thinking of what their favourites are – the ones that are tried and true – and what new things can you consider. Choosing is key, and then, sequencing.

graphic recording workshop visual tools

Lettering with Rosanna and Sam

graphic recording workshop sam bradd tools

Sophia and I are pleased to be Neuland ambassadors – and they surprised us with providing beautiful lettering pads for our students to use, along with their generous support of other supplies. Rosanna von Saacken has been working on her lettering – (that’s an understatement!) and you can see some quick tips in this video. If you want to really jumpstart your lettering, sign up for a class with Heather Martinez. 



Listening skills are almost as important as drawing. Anthony Weeks’ new article about listening as a graphic recorder is a must-read. 

graphic recording workshop listening

Listening for Diversity – workshop

diversity and graphic recordingI hosted a workshop during IFVP about Listening for Diversity as visual practitioners. I wasn’t sure if there was interest for this – but almost half of the conference attended! My big thanks for helping to create this “brave space” together. This topic is about starting a conversation, not about finding one answer. As visual practice expands, it’s an exciting time for us to share techniques that work for practitioners, clients, and communities.

Two new tools to share:

[slideshare id=77567538&doc=ivfpslideslisteningfordiversity2017-07-170706082445]

new bookS and what to read

Currently reading Dan Newman’s new book, and thoroughly enjoyed the ‘Life of a Graphic Facilitator’ by Alfredo Carlo. 

Rachel Smith has a new book coming out about virtual visual meetings! If I could use five exclamation marks here I would.

The presentation by the Grove had this list of useful vocabulary and books. Reminded me of the work that Stephanie Brown did as part of IFVP 2016 around centering Dialogic OD. Glad to see this current continue.

graphic facilitation dialogic organizational development resources

And you caught the link above to Anthony’s new article about listening? Great.

PREVIEW: new tools for reflection

Last year, my friends and colleagues Brandy Agerbeck, Kelvy Bird, Jennifer Shepherd (plus 27 authors in all) launched an anthology for our field, called Drawn Together Through Visual Practice.  The very last chapter was co-written by Jennifer Shepherd and me, and it was a tool for reflection – a set of 64 questions in all.

They’re organized into a 9-part model to help practitioners understand the varied relationships in the room. For example, there’s a relationship between the practitioner and the artefact they’re making, and also between the artefact and the participants. What questions can we ask to each of these relationships to help do our work well? And we discovered, what’s almost as helpful as good questions  – is having them in a useful format! We made these mini books as an exclusive tool for people at IFVP. Questions for your pocket, marker kit, or something to pick up and thumb through once in a while.

We have plans for an online format soon, and an online Zoom call to start exploring ways to use the questions too, so stay tuned!


And it wouldn’t be an IFVP conference without meeting old and new friends: this was the Canadian contingent this year!

Next year the conference moves to Denmark for 2018 with Euviz. I was at the Berlin conference and the hosting, facilitation, and design details were phenomenal. So 2018 I’m looking forward to great people, bicycles, hygge and art – hope to see you there!

One comment on “Highlights and resources from the 2017 IFVP conference

  1. Thank you Brad most definitely aiming to join the Denmark gathering next year. Your blog gives some great insight snaps into some of the sharing and a lovely sense of the gathering. Very much hope to meet you next year in the real world 🙂 xx

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