Sustainable Development Goals Community of Practice at York University - documentation of the conversation

Sustainable Development Goals and York University

Developing a Community of Practice for the SDGs on Campus

Visioning, Sharing, Drawing: Co-Creating an SDGs-in-the-Classroom Community of Practice at York University

How are the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) important to you at York University? How could a Community of Practice about the SDGs support your work? And, what could ripple out today and begin new possibilities?

Engaging Cross-Campus Dialogue: World Cafe 

In March 2022, a powerful conversation was convened by Dr. Cheryl van Daalen-Smith (RN, PhD) Associate Professor and Provostial Fellow, 2021-2022 at York University about the SDGs and a new Community of Practice. The goal for this kick-off meeting was to “create a Community of Practice vision that works for York, is easy, refreshing, supportive and low-stress”. And what better way to bring in that energy – with creativity, art and graphic recording. The facilitation team used a World Cafe format because it was important to hear from all voices: students, faculty, staff and administrators who came together for a 3-hour dialogue. 

Online Graphic Recording to Summarize and Synthesize

Sam created this visual graphic recording in real-time to reflect and synthesize their work. For example, we heard that a Community of Practice could be a hub – both for pedagogy, connection, communicating the work outwards, and that it could incubate a wide range of activities. Overall, the Community of Practice would have specific ways of being together that felt energizing and creative, and would amplify good projects.

Online Meeting Success – Creatively

Online meetings and online graphic recording go hand in hand. For example, we layered in Google Jamboards during the World Cafe activities so each group could take notes in their own voices. While breakout groups were happening, Sam looked at these Jamboards and used them to prepare, and inspire, his graphic recording. Then, during the big conversations in the main room, he shared his screen while graphic recording in real time -so everyone could see how their ideas built on one another and scaffolded.

Zoom Out, Zoom In, then Zoom Out again – with visuals

This graphic recording had a spontaneous flow that matched the 3 World Cafe questions. The visuals are high level for the first, big picture question – it’s zooming out to see the landscape of SDGs. Then we zoom in for a detailed list of how the Community of Practice could be structured, which is reflected in the graphics with the lists and key ideas nicely sorted into 5 areas. Then, we take that energy in the ‘ripples’ and zoom back out with a question that asks us to look into the future. A wise practice with graphic recording is to match the types of questions with the types of imagery on the page – and here it follows the zoom in/out model. And – always making sure that we don’t shortchange the final part of the meeting with either not enough time, or not enough space! The great part about online graphic recording is that we’re not limited by page size.

Graphic recording images have many uses

The process of graphic recording supported a robust and energizing conversation online. Then, afterwards it was circulated to the attendees and posted online. In the future it can be referred to as an evergreen document when the Community of Practice gets together.

SDGs at York University Community of Practice graphic recording

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