Tag: facilitation

Celebrating our year at Drawing Change

It was a year to celebrate! Here’s a few things we’re proud of at Drawing Change:

  • We supported dozens of meetings that upheld the values of learning, cross-sector collaboration, and being in good relationships with one another. Thank you for your partnerships – we were invited to facilitate and graphic record in 9 provinces, three territories, 5 states, 4 continents, and Indigenous communities (First Nations and Inuit) this year.
  • Congrats, City of Surrey on the Gold award for this 10-year Parks, Recreation and Culture plan. Tiaré Jung, Annalee Kornelsen and I worked with the great folks at Think MODUS for engagement including illustration and graphic recording

  • Giving back – we expanded the way we partner, mentor, and give back, including a brand new graphic recorder accelerator program
  • Anniversaries – congrats to Director of Operations and illustrator Carina Nilsson for the 1-year anniversary with DC
  • This Being Black and Muslim event was Tiaré Jung’s favourite event in 2018, where “Participant stories honour vulnerability and created a tangible human storytelling tool for sharing the impact of meaningful conversation beyond the room.”
  • Bilingual graphic recording – Annalee Kornelsen is one of Canada’s only French/English bilingual graphic recorders, and she supported Unifor in Halifax this year as well as translating posters for other projects. Merci!
  • Michelle Buchholz, as well as graphic recording far and wide, taught graphic recording skills grounded in culture to a community planning workshop in Terrace (near her home town, too!) 
  • Seeing that the Heiltsuk Nation had submitted one of my graphic recordings to the Museum of Anthropology for an important display 
  • EuViz 2018 in Denmark brought together visual practitioners in Europe. Loved Kelvy Bird’s session and co-hosting two sessions about giving back to the field with Brandy Agerbeck and addressing unconscious bias with Julie Stuart and Claudia Lopez
  • More writing and publishing, including the Drawn Together anthology being published in China soon, the upcoming Visual Practitioners Field Guide, and the DEI developmental evaluation e-book

In 2019, I’m looking forward to more professional development with the Emergent Scribing community, facilitation work with the World Health Organization, and more teaching. I want to celebrate your creativity in whatever form it takes – from napkin sketches to practicing on the office whiteboard, here’s to your ongoing creativity, wherever your meetings may take you.

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Our next Graphic Recording & Facilitation workshop is May 11 & 12, 2019! Registration is live on Eventbrite, and spots are filling up. Send us a note at hello@drawingchange.com if you have questions – we can’t wait to meet you!

graphic facilitation graphic recording facilitation tips

How to Have Better Meetings in 2019

When it started getting dark at 3pm, we knew it was time to reach out to our graphic facilitation community and compile our annual wrap-up post.

This time last year, we asked what the field of visual practice needed to do next – but was avoiding. This year, we wanted to know what advice our colleagues wished one other person needed to hear when planning a meeting in 2019. Here’s wisdom from a group of people who’ve attended over 1000 meetings.

Connecting Emotionally

Getting people moving and connecting throughout the meeting, not just the icebreakers. I wish people would ask: how can we keep people connecting on an emotional level. Let’s stop being afraid of passion and emotion and use it to support each other. We get stuck in thinking about the actionable items and things we can solve with best practices and vision statements, and really, I’ve seen all of that hard work become effortless when folks feel heard, safe, supported and are chatting like old pals. Keep the energy flowing and moving. Use humour and movement. – Annalee Kornelsen

Intentionally Create Culture Together

In 2019, I wish more meetings would centre connection and the culture we co-create. Ask participants what personal experiences and narratives are they contributing to the whole? What values bring them together? Step into the circle gets people standing, moving, figuring out where each other are coming from. Being able to share deeply about oneself and learn about others is an opportunity to build trust. I’ve also use photo cards to ask each contributor “when have you felt most alive/excited/passionate doing your work?” Overall, what tools will help people bring their full selves into the room? And then, how can you intentionally create a culture together? – Tiaré Jung

Indigenous Pedagogy and Intergenerational Inclusion

This year I was honoured to attend meetings led by Indigenous peoples, or where the focus was on Indigenous communities. As a Wet’suwet’en woman, it was uplifting to bring my own teachings into meetings. It is most beneficial to begin meetings with a territory acknowledgement and grounding exercise to ensure that all participants are present. Next, circle or meeting “agreements” to follow throughout the meeting can assist in completing the work in a good way. The successful meetings that I witnessed, allowed enough space and time for human connection, reflection, and capacity-building. My Elders have taught me that there must always be time for visiting and sharing food, and I so encourage this in each instance where we gather together. The greatest instances of self-reflection that I witnessed occur when space is given to youth and Elders to share their perspectives, especially within policy processes and strategic planning sessions. I wish that more space will be given to inter-generational sharing and planning in 2019! – Michelle Buchholz

Use Movement for Reflection

In 2019, I wish more meetings would include somatic exercises that get people moving in space to support reflection and discussion. I’ve been using a lot more blue tape on the ground this year to create shapes and structures that people can physically step into. For example, a tape “wheel” where people choose a perspective to stand in, a line that people step over when they’re ready to commit to action, or a mountain peak that people cross to explore a new land. It’s powerful! – Nevada Lane

Decolonize Your Facilitation

I wish for all non-Indigenous facilitators to take a bigger and more courageous step towards anti-racism, reparations, and reconciliation with Indigenous communities. It could be an infinite list – because how we work together is the work. Here’s an easy step: let’s eliminate these harmful phrases that pop up in boardrooms that are actually about colonization. We can start or deepen relationships, so we can be in meaningful partnerships. We can hire Indigenous facilitators or co-facilitators, or get them hired. We can move aside when it’s time to centre others, and we can move up to address racism. Here’s to reading more history books and trainings by Indigenous leaders. Let’s amplify Indigenous women and non-binary folks. Meetings can shift from hierarchical models to Indigenous methods that centre culture, such as circles and intergenerational learning. And we can get outside. We can do the work together, and support each other to keep going! – Sam Bradd

The Year of the Body

In 2019, I wish more meetings would get physical. Meetings are heady things: we talk, we think, we ideate, we brainstorm, we talk some more. Almost all the activity takes place from the neck up. We might as well be heads on sticks. I would dearly love for meetings to start making space for the rest of our being, through embodied activities like singing, theatre games, improv, dancing, walking in nature – anything that lets us use our whole bodies! It’s scary, because physicality opens up feelings, and feelings can be messy. But it can also be cathartic and transformative. I’ve seen roomfuls of people become joyously unified through choral singing. Witnessed life-changing insights arise from theatre games. Watched ideas flow abundantly after a reflective walk in the woods. Let’s make 2019 the Year of the Body and invite people’s whole person into our meetings! – Avril Orloff

Go Multi-Sensory

In my Meeting Fantasia, it’s the rule rather than the exception that meetings are participatory, multi-sensory, and experiential. I know that sounds jargon-y, so here’s what I mean: Humans are whole beings with diverse learning aptitudes. Some of us need to doodle to think, some need to build, some need to move the body, most of us need to do it all. Multi-modal learning shouldn’t be an oddity – it’s just common sense. Because of our work, I DO see meetings rising to that occasion, but I’d love to see a world in which there’s an improvisational maker/hacker/D.I.Y./D.I.T. mentality in most group settings, as well as a deep awareness of, and appreciation for, a variety of learning styles. Unlocking our unique potential matters; so, when I see multi-modal techniques that accelerate learning, I’m all in.

Random, itchy, side note/industry request: Please differentiate the terms “graphic facilitation” and “graphic recording” in your own mind and when talking to clients. These practices are so fundamentally different as to almost be light years apart. – Sunni Brown

 

More Love

In 2019, I wish more meetings would be less about power and more about love. When vulnerability is welcomed and celebrated, I find participants show up in a more fulsome way – shortcomings, anxieties, and all – creating an environment of respect and trust, where fear and anxiety are reduced. Further, I believe that meetings where risk and debate are recognized and welcomed, result in meaningful conversations where a group can get to what’s happening under the surface, and transformative ideas are allowed to emerge. Both of these conditions take courage from meeting organizers and hosts, but it’s worth it. – Mark Busse

Less Fixing

In 2019, I wish more meetings would include time to brainstorm and reflect without (yet) “fixing” anything. As dialogic leaders we need to resist the perception that jumping in is an efficient use of time and energy, so that we can stop “fixing” things by providing inappropriate solutions that mire us all down further and become just one more layer on what didn’t work already. We need to get bravely clear about things like what brainstorming really is and why silence isn’t failure, and that if the right people (those who are being served) aren’t in the room, we should just start over when they can be. – Aaron Johannes, PhD

Meditation and Visioning

I wish more meetings would give people a chance to do their own visioning. I led a group through a meditative journey looking at the landscape of their own work/business, then they drew what they saw. Imaginative and metaphorical images that deeply resonated with them showed up as maps and touchstones forward. I gave a brief lesson beforehand using Bikablo’s stick people so they felt comfortable drawing people. – Julie Stuart

Digital Graphic Recording

In 2019, I hope more meetings try digital graphic recording. I was fortunate this year to graphic record at conferences where digital graphic recording was projected on big screens (sometimes super-wide screens!), and shared on participants’ phones/laptops almost in real time. This is essential for facilitating better breakout group discussions, as people could reference the graphic recordings immediately. Participants could also post comments/questions on the digital graphics. – Tanya Gadsby

 

Slow Down

In 2019, I also hope meetings slow down and try not to run at light speed. People need time to connect, reflect, and have deeper conversations. Some of the most profound conversations I’ve captured in meetings have happened when there was no pressure on the clock – Tanya Gadsby

Begin by Jumping Straight to the Answer

Groups can spend an entire day in conversation landing on the “answers” only at the end of the meeting. Instead, begin the conversation when people are fresh and ask participants to jump straight to the answer. Once these are elicited (we suggest capturing it visually), the conversation that follows will be from an advanced, richer place.

Instructions:

  • In an opening roundtable, go once around the room.
  • Participants have 30 seconds to introduce themselves briefly.
  • Ask, “We’ll spend the next several hours on shared actions that will transform you to do XYZ. For now, let’s jump right to the answer: if there’s one change we could make to transform XYZ, what’s that one change?”
  • Keep it moving rapidly and hold people to one answer.
  • Capture the roundtable visually and reflect back on it at the end of the meeting.
  • Ask, what did they discover? Did one or two answers wind up being major foci in the meeting and why?

This tool helps teams get clear on the big things they want to do, and lined up for actions that get results. – Lisa Edwards and Lisa Arora

Four Ways to be Different

In 2019, I wish more meetings would try… to include outside perspectives in their work. Bring in artists, engineers, community workers, a musician, etc. See how different perspectives can open up your creativity and perspectives in problem solving.

In 2019, I wish more meetings would be… open to creativity. Too often we see meetings fall into the same patterns. I’d like to see more meetings step out of their comfort zone.

In 2019, I wish more meetings would become… a place for dynamic conversations. A safe place to talk and allow time for synthesis conversations to happen.

And in 2019, I wish more meetings would include… storytelling and visualization. Fewer slideshows and ‘sit and get’ information sessions and more sharing and participant engagement. – Liisa Sorsa

Braver Conversations

In 2019, I hope more meetings will create space for braver conversations and deeper reflection. That’s where I’ve seen meaningful change.

Consider:

  • Go deep with community agreements. Don’t just name a few and ask for agreement. Ask participants to discuss, take ownership of and uphold agreements that will help create a brave space. As the meeting progresses, check in periodically on how they are working. If something feels misaligned with the agreements, pause and reflect.

When partnering with a visual facilitator, let her explain the visuals and reflect back what she witnessed prior to a gallery walk. And give participants a clear intention to hold while looking at the visuals, using prompts like: what does this evoke in you? What else isn’t reflected her? Share in small and large groups. – Claudia Lopez

Encourage More Stories

In 2019, I wish more meetings would encourage people to tell stories – in any form. We often forget that communication is not just about relaying messages, it’s also about creating connections. Stories are a powerful way to share a vision, re-launch a brand, shift an organization’s culture, manage complex change, and more. At your next meeting, ditch the PowerPoint and bulleted lists. Don’t ask for a report out or a presentation, ask your groups to tell a story.

Here are 4 simple questions to get you started: What is happening? Who does it involve? Why does it matter to your audience? What’s the challenge? How can they help? – Sophia Liang

 

Include Time for Listening

I wish that more meetings would include time for open, unstructured listening. So many meetings are scheduled down to the minute with the fear that “we don’t want to waste time.” Listening is never a waste of time. We do need to commit to it – and create the space for it. Find time in your agenda to let it emerge. You might be surprised what comes up. – Anthony Weeks

 

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Compiled by Sam Bradd at Drawing Change. Stay in touch about 2019 visual facilitation workshops in Vancouver BC, facilitation, and ways to make your meetings matter. @sambradd

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

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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.

Graphic Facilitation Workshop Vancouver

Teams, teaching, travel and a new reflection tool – Fall recap

Teams, teaching, travel, and a new reflection tool – it’s been a busy Fall 2017! I’m feeling so inspired by the incredible organizations and people I’ve worked with recently, and wanted to share some of the techniques we used together. There’s a variety of approaches one can use to lead visually: from graphic recording for public engagements, to engaging groups with graphic facilitation, to modelling visual thinking tools, and knowledge translation with illustration. 

TEACHING VISUAL FACILITATION

Drawing Well is online! Drawing Well is a new tool for visual practitioners and facilitators, and we put an excerpt online from our book – Sam Bradd & Jennifer Shepard – Drawn Together Through Visual Practice  – 64 Questions to help reflect and transform how well you draw. Consider it an early holiday gift from us to you.

Drawing Well Mini Book

 

Vancouver, BC – Drawing Change Graphic Facilitation Workshop

Drawing Change held a two-day graphic recording and graphic facilitation workshop, helping people think and draw through complexity. Participants came from across three countries to engage and inspire each other.

Graphic Facilitation Workshop Vancouver

There is a real struggle out there to be able to tap into, and sustain, our personal creativity in our professional lives – if you are able to know how to USE your creativity on a daily basis and know how to access it, consider yourself very lucky. Many people wrestle with how to find it when they need it. It might be 5% inspiration/95% perspiration, but it’s still something I trust I can rely on.

The best part of teaching – learning alongside each other. I personally learned new facilitation metaphors from the participants that were applicable to diverse work and contexts: e.g. a strategic planning template that used Indigenous beadwork designs to structure the page (way to go Jeska Slater). Big thanks to Avril Orloff, Yolanda Liman and Michelle Buchholz for leading sessions, too.

Want to join us next time?

I’m keeping a wait list for the next intro workshop in Spring 2018.

Are you already working visually? A new workshop has just gone up for Visual Practitioners with 2+ experience in February 2018, at the Ace Hotel in Portland Oregon, in collaboration with Sophia Liang.

Geneva Switzerland – World Health Organization (WHO)

I was happy to return to Geneva for this project. Over a few days, we worked deeply on important curriculum involving infectious diseases and epidemics. The thing about public health is that winning means…nothing happens! You can view this curriculum by signing up for the free Open MOOC courses online.

Geneva World Health Organization

 

Visual Facilitation

 

Graphic Recording

Kamloops, B.C. – National Indigenous Fisheries Institute 

We travelled to Kamloops to participate in two days of graphic facilitation with the National Indigenous Fisheries Institute. The images/posters from this meeting are great examples of how you can use a visual language the client already understands, to further illustrate your key points. In this case, the lifecycles of the salmon were a useful way to explain the categories of our discussions:

Graphic Recording

The second image, below, is a poster mapping what services exist, and then the identification of funding opportunities. The conversation was grounded in land – where all wealth (money and not-money) comes from.

Graphic Recording

 

Brussels, Belgium – 4th International Neonatal & Maternal Immunization Symposium

This symposium used graphic recording to distill a large amount of complex, highly specific information, and the large volume of slides meant we needed a super organized graphic recording layout. Lucky for us, cartoons are popular in Brussels, so our scientific drawings were well-received!

Graphic Recording Layout

 

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories & Winnipeg, Manitoba

Anti-racism and reconciliation is the biggest conversation we need to have in Canada. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to keep learning and to be willing to make mistakes, and keep trying; otherwise, nothing is going to change fast enough. We all need to create the conditions where people are willing to ask questions, feel secure enough to ask for help, and keep building relationships. That’s how we’re going to work towards implementing the Calls to Action in the Truth and Reconciliation report.

Truth and Reconciliation Report

 

“We’ve been holding our breath for generations – we need results.”

Quotes like this go right to the heart, and I hope the decision-makers are listening.

During a discussion about anti-Indigenous racism and reconciliation, I heard and drew this image above, as a reference to her ancestors giving the woman strength through her hands and  looking forward.

The illustration below comes from our discussions held at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights. Many museums across the country, and internationally, have made great changes in how they collaborate with, and are inclusive to, originating communities – particularly in regards to access and repatriation of Indigenous artworks and objects from their collections. As places of learning, they can expand the public memory, bring in diverse voices, and incorporate new ways of seeing into discussions that can affect our world.

Illustration Museum of Human Rights

Visual Facilitation

Boston, Massachusetts

This was a team graphic facilitation project, and is one of my favourite types of projects. We were a team of 10 scribes to help debrief small groups, and engage them as their facilitator. Our first task was to help groups identify the key learnings from their program, and then our second task was to create a visual take-away from what they were going to do next as leaders. The graphic facilitation makes sense of rich and complex information.

Visual Facilitation

As a practitioner, it’s fun to work in a big team. Here you can see the same title done six different ways. My submissions are the top right and bottom left.  Often we do this work solo, and reflection is a key part of delivering clear and useful results, like a good editor pointing out what works and what can be taken away. After we finished our work, and went for dinner – three of us came back and did our own little “gallery walk” of what we appreciated of our colleagues’ work!

Team Graphic Facilitation Project
Photo by dpict

Vancouver, B.C. – BC Patient Safety and Quality Council

Here we used journey mapping around substance abuse, as a tool to effectively explore and understand the Indigenous peer and health care provider lived experience around the opioid crisis in B.C. Facilitators led small and large groups through a mapping process, which resulted in the post-it notes below.

This project was all about layering in the information: it went from journey mapping to graphic recording, and as a next step all of this information is going to inform some very polished, digital infographics.

Journey Mapping
Photo by Christina Krause

Ottawa, Ontario – Digital Youth Summit

This design thinking workshop at the Digital Youth Summit, was particularly rewarding as we engaged with an almost-full room of women in tech! Incredible. Young people inventing, designing, and making their own dream jobs.

Design Thinking Workshop

We used templates for the group work, which I”ve written about before – so I’ll share a tip for capturing short, 6 – 8 minute presentations:

  1. Keep moving.
  2. Draw one anchor image + key phrases for what the problem is + end with their unique solution.
  3. Don’t try to explain all the details about the problem they’re trying to solve.
  4. Make sure you leave space for what their big idea is – even if it comes at the end of what the speaker is saying.

Victoria, B.C. – Team Visioning Event

This was a team visioning evening event with Colleen Stephenson, Tanya Gadsby, and Minh Ngo. It was an evening meeting – so it had to be super interactive. This is what we did:

Live Graphic Facilitation

  • After an opening activity that generated wide, broad ideas, we each took a small group for live graphic facilitation.
  • Each group focussed on one topic, so we could go deeper into four topics. Then the fun part –
  • As participants had dinner, the four of us got to work synthesizing and making connections from all the data and drew out a big group summary poster in 2 hours (!), and presented it at the end of the night – total success!

Group Summary Poster

 

I have a few more things to wrap before the end of 2017  … stay tuned for the return of “reflections from the field” from visual facilitation colleagues, too.

Question Well – a reflection tool for visual practitioners

the Question Well tool

Hello! We’re Jennifer Shepherd and Sam Bradd. We’re visual practitioners, educators and facilitators. We live across the country from each other in Canada, and have collaborated on a range of writing projects about visual practice in the last few years. This tool below is an excerpt from a chapter you’ll find in our co-edited anthology Drawn Together Through Visual Practice, published in 2016.

We hope you’ll put it in your visual practice kit and pull it out many times as you choose to reflect in mini moments that transform how well you draw.

 — PDF Download – Drawn Together Through Visual Practice Chapter  —-

We’re both committed to reflection as an integral part of our visual practice. As we make time to reflect, our active curiosity calls us to explore:

What more can we know about ourselves?

What new possibilities for action do we see?

How can we share what we’ve learned with others?

We’d love to learn from you, too.

How ready are you to draw?

How does the way you show up impact the quality and sensitivity of the drawings you make?

Picture it: there’s a clean slate of white space in front of you. You’ve got your markers or tablet all juiced up and the meeting is about to begin. You take a breath, look around, and ask: where am I in this picture?

 

Wherever you find yourself, we invite you to ask a second question,

What deep and careful reflection could I choose now to listen and draw at my best?

This small moment to pause has the potential to make a big difference – in our creativity, in our relationship with our clients and participants, and how we expand the field of visual practice.

We believe that taking mini moments to pause and reflect can transform how we draw and radically improve the value of what we do as visual practitioners.

And that is the premise of this Question Well tool. When we reflect in the moment, or on a moment from the past, we extend our awareness and care and create openings to expand our competence. This is true regardless of whether we hold a ready pen, offer input or bear witness to another’s creatives process or interpret a completed work.

We invite you – our colleagues, clients, and facilitation partners – to notice areas for reflection in your own practice, wherever that might be. When you’re ready to take a mini moment, dive with us into this rich well of questions and see what emerges!

What you’ll find in the Question Well tool:

  1. We introduce a new model for reflection that is unique to graphic facilitation and visual practitioners. What other models come to mind?
  2. We share the Question Well with 64 questions and 9 areas of focus. What new questions would you add?
  3. We intersperse anecdotes from our story as practitioners into the Question Well, and invite you to think about your story.
  4. We suggest ways to use the questions.

Let’s jump in.

Introducing a New Model for Reflection

There are many dynamics and relationships that are worthy of reflection during visual facilitation. Here’s a diagram that illustrates what we mean.

In this mini book, you’ll see questions in the Question Well organized into 9 areas of focus – one for each of the connections shown in the diagram.

We have crafted 64 questions to support your reflection. We’ve organize them in 9 areas of focus to help you navigate your way through the Question Well.

 

 

 

We offer these questions for how to use this chapter as a kind of personal workbook:

  • Reflect on your own, or gather with peers, clients, and others
  • Read the questions aloud, pause, and notice what answers arise
  • Phone a colleague and have a conversation
  • Write a journal entry and see what emerges
  • Bring your thoughts forward to the field of visual practice online or at a conference

We offer these methods as wisdom from our shared experience as a gift to the visual practice field. We’ve tried them all, and they work! These are only a start. Now, it’s your turn. We invite you to share your own questions on the Drawn Together Through Visual Practice website, too.

About the Authors

Jennifer Shepherd inspires well-intentioned and overwhelmed leaders to gain the clarity they need to create insightful connections and make their next move. She has oodles of facilitation and collaborative change experience working with local communities, regional networks and national networks from housing to hockey. She is known for asking questions that prompt us to ask more questions, draw together, and solve the complex puzzles of our time. Jennifer is an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator who loves to drum and walk the world in wonder. Contact her at www.livingtapestries.ca

Sam Bradd is a graphic facilitator and specialist in information design. He uses visuals for people that want to engage, solve problems, and lead. Together, we’re Drawing Change. In the last 15 years, Sam has collaborated with the World Health Organization, Google, Indigenous organizations, and researchers on four continents. In 2016, his side project the award-winning Graphic History Collective published a book of comics because how we tell histories can change the world. He has a Masters in Educational Studies (University of British Columbia). Contact him at www.drawingchange.com.

 


Read more in Drawn Together Through Visual Practice 

This Question Well tool is part of a larger book, Drawn Together Through Visual Practice. It is edited by Brandy Agerbeck, Kelvy Bird, Sam Bradd and Jennifer Shepherd and was published in 2016. This anthology demonstrates the power of visuals as a sensemaking device in an age of unprecedented complexity. It is available on Amazon.com in book and Kindle formats.

www.visualpracticebook.com.


WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT VISUAL THINKING?

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