Tag: education

2017 Trends in Graphic Recording: year end wrap up

It’s time for the annual wrap-up from some of my closest graphic facilitation and graphic recording colleagues.

Last year, we shared what we noticed about about human nature or communication (because we’re at hundreds of meetings!). This year, the questions are a little harder. Consider the work of visual practitioners we admire: how do they work? What are they doing differently? What do we notice? Secondly, what’s the one thing the field of visual practice needs to do next – but is avoiding?

Here’s why these questions are important.

When people see a beautiful graphic recording image, they’ll often say to us, “that’s so pretty”. Which is very kind, but at the same time – what if it’s a pretty picture of the wrong conversation?

The visual practice field has matured enough to look beyond the “pretty” in our work. It’s great to congratulate each other on a job well done, but we also need to make more room for the critical, the intangible, and the process behind our work – as a way for our industry to challenge itself and effectively grow. Making space for this conversation will help us meet our challenges head-on. Let’s talk about process and not just the end product.

This year’s questions were inspired by Julie Gieseke and Anthony Weeks, and I’m looking forward to hearing your additions in the comments.

CONSTANTLY ASSESS VALUE

“I admire practitioners who are working on bringing visual tools and methods to industries and fields that we don’t (yet) think of as visual to transform how work gets done.

“I see that the field needs to be less self congratulatory. Not all graphic Recording is helpful or “amazing”! We need to really ask how and where we can really bring value to clients.”  

– Nevada Lane – Lane Change Consulting

ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT THE VALUE OF OUR WORK

“I admire practitioners who are delving deeper into their practice, asking hard questions about the value of our work, what it means to partner effectively with our clients, how our work fits into large frameworks of complexity and systems thinking, and how we can truly serve organizational and social transformation. These are the questions that are working me right now, and I gain nourishment from others who are further along the road that I am.”   

– Avril Orloff – http://outsidethelines.ca/

PRACTICE PROFESSIONALISM

“Professionalism is important in our field — professionalism in how we position graphic facilitation / recording, in how we present ourselves at events, and in how we contract / license our work. Another layer to this is encouraging each other to develop expertise in certain industries, types of events, or formats.

“I admire colleagues who are carving out niches and exploring new ways of applying graphics rather than one-size-fits-all. This pushes our industry to innovate and evolve!”

– Tanya Gadsby – Drawing Out Ideas

DE-PRIVILEGE THE PRETTY, EMBRACE THE UGLY

“As the field expands I admire professionals who are strategic about what organizations they reduce rates for, particularly those thinking of what they want to do in their own future work. There should always be a rationale for a rate lower than the local average.

“I see that the field needs to really encourage creative new approaches, dialogic processes, methods, materials and facilitators from new places, so that distinctiveness of each of our works is a priority. We ourselves need to de-privilege the pretty and embrace the ugly so that our clients are more likely to.”

– Aaron Johannes – Imagine a Circle

BE HONEST ABOUT WHAT WE VALUE

“I admire practitioners who put listening, service, synthesis, and clarity at the center of their work. Yes, I love beauty. Yes, I love imagination. Yes, I love technical proficiency in drawing…AND it’s NOT all about the beauty of the picture or image. It’s about the utility and meaning-making of the image. The field, as a whole, needs to get more honest about what we value.”

– Anthony Weeks @weeksonian

ENVISION NEW USES AND SETTINGS FOR GRAPHIC FACILITATION

“I admire practitioners who are delving into new areas that can benefit from graphic facilitation. For example, I’ve seen some interesting work with family mediation, mapping a personal journey, life coaching, and working with at-risk youth. There are so many ways that we can inject some creativity and connectedness within these conversations, and I think the opportunities are endless.”

– Liisa Sorsa – Think Link Graphics

PUT THE TIME INTO RELATIONSHIPS

“I admire the practitioners who have long-term relationships with trusted clients, and want to see the field grow in this direction. Not all visual practitioners are interchangeable – and we shouldn’t pretend we are, even if our handwriting matches. When we reach out for feedback about the images from the group and don’t hear anything – or if they just say things look ‘amazing’ – what we’re missing is trust. Everything changes for the better when it’s a two-way relationship.”

– Sam Bradd, Drawing Change

LEGITIMIZE VISUAL PRACTICE

“I admire practitioners who are working on the legitimization for our profession. We provide a valuable service that clients are still learning to discern. Educating our clients about the value we bring to groups can be challenging and the more white papers, studies, and well-researched and thought out articles help justify why every meeting should include a visual practitioner. Developing the science and “academics” behind it is a step towards true legitimization and I am deeply grateful to those individuals.”

– Sunshine Benbelkacem – That Girl Shines

ENGAGE IN SELF-REFLECTION

“I admire practitioners who engage in self reflection to deepen, stretch and improve their work on all levels. Not just drawing & lettering, but in their listening, in being present, in questioning their assumptions and biases. And in showing up authentically, being open to learning.”

– Emily Shepard – The Graphic Distillery

CONNECT THROUGH A SHARED COLLECTIVE VISION

“In our fast-paced, complex world, it’s no coincidence the field of visual practitioners has grown. Something we’re avoiding is finding our story as a collective visual field. What’s our vision? What values do we share? Should EUVIZ and IFVP join forces? As a Professional Coach, a similar conversation happened that resulted in the creation of the International Coaching Federation. I hope our visual field can find our collective vision too.”

–  Yiely Ho

VALUE LISTENING AS WELL AS ILLUSTRATION

“I admire people who are thought partners for their clients and consider themselves designers that deliver an experience, as opposed to a vendor that delivers a service. I also admire people who are looking at the outer edges of our practice and thinking about what’s next for us as a field, particularly with the rapid advent of tech tools (Jamboard by Google, hand drawn sketch animation software, drag and drop apps, etc.) that will inevitably “replace” some of the work we do.

“I would like to see our field place equal collective value on work that demonstrates deep listening in service to a group and its process as it does on highly illustrative drawing.”

– Giselle Chow – Giselle Chow Consulting

___________

Let’s continue these conversations into 2018, not just online but also in real life! Two ways we can do this are: meet up with me at the EuViz conference in Denmark this July 31 – August 2, 2018, or consider joining Sophia Liang and I for the Beyond the Basics workshop February 11 – 13, 2018 in Portland.

In the meantime, a happy and healthy holiday time to you and yours!

Cultivating Cultural Safety in Education: visualizing histories to support Truth and Reconciliation

I recently had the privilege and pleasure to work with the Nanaimo & Ladysmith School Board during a conversation about Reconciliation. Graphic facilitation can help support open discussion around challenging issues, and organizations can use it as a methodology to affect meaningful change – just like the transformative Kairos Blanket Exercise and four other tools below.

graphic recording reconciliation reconciliACTION

The school board invited a wide range of Indigenous organizations and partners together to facilitate a discussion about their education system. The Kairos Blanket Exercise is a powerful tool that places participants in both Indigenous and non-Indigenous roles, in relation to the history of colonization. It encourages understanding, honest communication, and builds meaningful action.

Image from Kairos Canada

There’s a saying I’ve heard about working with issues of Reconciliation: we can’t have “Reconciliation” before we have Truth. And this means taking a look at history, first, and wrestling with the many truths of the ongoing impact of colonization on Turtle Island.

Image from Kairos Canada

As visual practitioners, we listen and draw to connect conversations and issues, so self-reflection is important if we use time-saving symbols to stand-in for concepts. Taking a moment to examine whether these symbols actually represent a cultural generalization that could be seen as disrespectful, is an important part of our practice to reflect on and be sensitive to. While working, we need to make choices – one of the most important of these choices is to not fall back on Whiteness as the default with which to mark difference against. A familiar way of drawing may not necessarily be the best choice. Being open to change, and working with humility are all key to helping personally participate in the transformation we want to see.

Resources

Another way we can inform our practice with more cultural humility is by continuing educating ourselves on current issues, and the myriad of resources that are available to share. Here are just a few for you to consider:

Crystal Fraser and Sara Komarnisky created a powerful list of 150 Acts of Reconciliation, to be practiced during the last 150 days of 2017. The year is not over yet, and this list is an important call to action, giving small steps towards action and learning that can build to create difference. The conversations around reconciliation still have great distances to go, and this list can help people to think about Indigenous-settler relationships as they exist in our everyday lives.

Crystal and Sara have built on #150acts by collaborating to create an incredible poster series that I encourage you to take a look at, with design and art by Yukon artist Lianne Marie Leda Charlie who is Tagé Cho Hudän | Big River People (Northern Tutchone).

The San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training website is also one of the leading resources in Canada. It includes the Indigenous Cultural Safety (ICS) Online Training Program, which educates participants about anti-Indigenous racism, enhances self-awareness, and strengthens skills for professionals working directly or indirectly with Indigenous people.

Cultural Safety and working towards ending anti-Indigenous racism are important tools for me as a settler as I work with Indigenous organizations and community groups. It’s important to reflect on how my work is representative of the people with whom I’m collaborating, and that I am more aware of the visual choices I make in each session. I encourage all non-Indigenous illustrators, graphic facilitators and graphic recorders interested in being a better partner to Indigenous communities where they live and work to look at what core competencies might be useful to this work – you can read more in my four part blog series here – and in my collaborative book, Drawn Together Through Visual Practice.

listening for diversity

Listening for Diversity – share your tips with visual practitioners

Visual practitioners, what techniques do you use to Listen for Diversity?
Do you have a tip about how you work? Interested in seeing one of your tips spread wider?

Take this 2-question survey!

listening for diversity

I’m hosting a session called Listening for Diversity at the 2017 International Forum of Visual Practitioners conference this June. I’m excited to hear from as many graphic recorders and graphic facilitators as possible about this topic – so if you are not headed to IFVP 2017 I also want to hear your tips.

You’re invited to participate in three ways:

  1. Spend 5 – 10 minutes on this survey (click the link)
  2. Be interviewed in a short video (1-2 minutes – click the link to sign up)
  3. Participate in a 10-12 person fishbowl discussion about diversity during the workshop, or NOMINATE someone (click the link to sign up)

I’ll compile everyone’s contributions and share them back to the field afterwards. You’ll get to hear what other practitioners are doing, and what is the learning edge for what is coming next. Answers will be edited for length.

Thanks again, and any questions can come to me at sam@drawingchange.com. Survey closes May 8th.

Take the 2-question survey

graphic facilitation drawing with diversity picture of sam bradd holding up a post it note with an iceberg on it Not ready to click to the survey yet? need to know more?

Picture an iceberg – what we draw is only what’s on the surface. We can support diversity in our drawings, and there’s also an opportunity to go even deeper.

I’m curious about questions/ideas such as:
– “When I find myself in an unfamiliar context, I get ready and find resources to help me by…”
– “I didn’t know how to draw xyz, and I learned that drawing xyz this way is important because …”
– “The power of the pen is also about what is unsaid – and I listen for … ”
– “I am a member of this ______ group, and I wish other practitioners would draw ME as ….”
– “I mentor someone with lived experience to co-graphic record with me in specific communities. Has anyone else done this, and what did you notice?”

What’s the first thing that comes to mind? Will it help someone else? Share it here:

That’s right, here’s the 5 minute, 2-question survey!

Thanks in advance!

——

About me:

I’m Sam Bradd from Drawing Change. I’m interested in how reflection and diversity can help us deepen our work. In 2016 I launched and co-edited the book Drawn Together Through Visual Practice with Brandy Agerbeck, Kelvy Bird and Jennifer Shepherd, and I wrote about working with cultural safety while working with Indigenous communities. This year Jennifer Shepherd and I are launching a new (free!) tool about reflection. I’m a graphic facilitator based in Vancouver, Canada and collaborate with communities working towards a more just, inclusive, and diverse world.

Sophia Liang from Graphic Footprints and I are also teaching a pre-conference class called “Towards Mastery” at this year’s IFVP conference, for participants with at least 3+ years experience. Spots are filling up and you can sign up here: http://2017.ifvp.org/agenda/. See you there! master class - graphic facilitation class 2017 with IFVP

 

sam bradd

Interview: my unexpected career path

sam bradd ubc interview graphic facilitationI admit, being a graphic facilitator was an unexpected career path. And I’ve never been happier.

I’m often asked if I retrained at art school, but instead, I pursued a graduate degree in Educational Studies from the University of British Columbia. I was thrilled to be interviewed recently and offer career advice to new grads.

Read the interview here, and my favourite parts are below.

I want every grad to succeed, and “You’ll figure it out” is never helpful career advice. Now, when I talk to students (be they undergrad or graduate), my career advice is about how to be valued by your colleagues and team.

Be useful, do good work, and stay true to your values – this will help you find career happiness.

 

“If I was a new grad, don’t stress about where you’ll work. Put the effort into how you’ll work, instead. This is about understanding your personal strengths: do you prefer team-based projects, or more autonomy, for example? Understanding what are the factors that help you be authentic at work will help you find a rewarding career in perhaps an unlikely setting, and might help you say yes to something you hadn’t considered.”

I use my degree every day. “What I love about this career is that I’m learning something new every day – it’s an amazing way to continue my lifelong education. Graphic facilitation brings together two important parts of my life: working with groups and visual thinking, and it’s led to a creative, rewarding career.CEDOXltUIAAveqQ

“When people find out I draw professionally, people are always surprised I didn’t go to art school. Instead, doing a graduate degree in Educational Studies helped me engage in the inner work that makes me a better educator and facilitator.

“My degree was an opportunity to examine my role in reconciliation, social justice, and cultural safety, for example, which is crucial to my cross-cultural work.”

Basically, any chance you get to learn things, anywhere, take the opportunity.

You can read the full interview here: https://www.grad.ubc.ca/alumni/profile/sam-bradd

Thanks to UBC and the Educational Studies department for a transformational learning experience, and good luck to all the grads of 2016!

Healthy Schools Symposium and graphic recording

Recently, I was graphic recording at the annual Healthy Schools Leadership Symposium, the signature event hosted by DASH BC and Healthy Schools BC. This conference is a chance to really connect the education and health sectors, because healthy students are better learners, and better learners are healthier.

What does that mean? If a child knows just two caring adults at their school, they are 50% more likely to graduate. It just takes two caring adults to change that student’s life. Amazing.

It’s a big job to bring the education and health sectors closer together at a school level, and graphic recording is a good tool to help Healthy Schools BC in this work. And it starts with a great event.

Graphic recording reveals ideas and connections visually. It’s a way to understand each other and feel heard. Together, that means graphic recording helps build cross-sector networks and strengthen connections.

Graphic recording shows up in 6 ways to help make this conference extraordinary. Read more

Surrey School Achievement Contract infographic

The Surrey School Board Achievement Contract communicates key information to parents, students, and community members. Now it’s a brand-new interactive infographic.

The Achievement Contract used to be a long, dense PDF and now it’s a visual to help tell their story. Surrey Schools is the biggest school district in BC, and there’s lots of innovation that needs to be shared!

So I created an infographic of a vibrant school – connected to a community – to highlight their work.

Visual of the Surrey Schools Achievement Contract in visual form, sam bradd, vancouver, canada, infographic, education, Surrey School District Achievement Contract, educational leadership, vision, visioning, public engagement, knowledge translation, knowledge transfer, illustration, union, unionized, illustrator, best practice,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And now it’s also interactive. On the Surrey Schools website, when you click on the titles in the graphic, it’s interactive and takes you into the website for further reading.

https://www.surreyschools.ca/Pages/Surrey-Schools-Achievement.aspx

This version is engaging, accessible, and tells the story of Surrey Schools’ successes.