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!


Sam Bradd

Sam Bradd


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 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.

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?

For 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.