Tag: knowledge translation

Graphic Recording is truly global

In 2016, I saw the power of graphic recording and graphic facilitation around the world first-hand. Visuals help people connect, find belonging, and work on urgent problems. And visuals are now a global approach.

In Tanzania, I worked for three days in a tent with zoonotic disease researchers:


graphic recording one health tanzania zoonoses sam bradd

And it was a good thing I learned a lot about rabies and One Health, because the OIE (World Organization for Animal Health) invited me for graphic recording in Bangkok, Thailand for a conference on veterinarian education:

OIE Conference on Veterinarian Education graphic recording sam bradd

The visuals at the conference, with 180 delegates from 90 countries, were a huge hit on social media and online afterwards. Thailand was stunning (and delicious):


I returned to Geneva to work with the World Health Organization for a second time, this time about Yellow Fever. 

world health organization graphic recording sam bradd geneva

The urgent discussion was so inspiring, that I gladly donated a custom graphic recording illustration to the Global Health and Diplomacy magazine on a related topic.

global health and security graphic recording global health and diplomacy magazine image sam bradd

And then joined the OIE for the 4th Annual conference on animal welfare in Guadalajara, Mexico.

“After three days of fruitful discussions, the 430 participants of the 4th OIE Global Conference on Animal welfare representing more than 100 countries have endorsed a range of recommendations:”


graphic recording images OIE  OIE-Animal-Welfare-Draft-Recommendations

We wanted these graphic recording posters to stand out from the June session, so I created a different icon for each session:

graphic recording one health sam bradd one welfare

Not the usual weather for me at Christmas!

It’s a true privilege to be able to go where I’m needed. I also spent a lot of time this year working closely with Indigenous organizations across Turtle Island. From Tl’etinqox territories to Fort William First Nation, I heard and visualized stories of resilience, wellness, economic development, and reconciliation in the justice system.



As a white person working with Indigenous communities, working in partnership and capacity building is important to me, and so I’m teaching and mentoring this year.  Read more about my approach to visuals using cultural safety in this 4-part blog series, in our book on Visual Practice.

graphic recording graphic facilitation book drawn together through visual practice sam bradd brandy agerbeck kelvy bird and jennifer shepherd

And speaking of our new book – it’s out in the world now! We’ve shipped it to all sorts of far-flung places, which is exciting, and it’s started many conversations which is even more exciting. With 27 chapters and 25 contributors, it was a great opportunity to gather with colleagues online and in person, advance the graphic facilitation field, and spread visual thinking even further.

This new global collaboration by Gestalten on graphic recording looks fantastic:


Visuals help people tap into their creativity, too. People email me photos of the first time they drew during a work meeting from halfway around the world, and also share their students’ projects (thank you twitter). I love seeing what inspires you.

Can’t wait to see what 2017 brings for our visual practitioner community!


graphic recording and visual facilitation pacific herring summit indigenous knowledge

Graphic recording supports science and traditional knowledge

Pacific Herring Summit Haida Presentation and opening

Graphic recording isn’t just about the images. It’s what you do with them that matters. 

The recent Pacific Herring Summitgraphic recording of indigenous knowledge on Day 1 supported a deeper understanding of the technical information that followed on Days 2 and 3.

These visualizations, started at the beginning of the conference, helped to literally hold space in the room for traditional knowledge throughout the gathering.  

Pacific Herring Summit Cowichan graphic recording

The Oceans Modeling Forum’s Summit brought together technical experts, policy makers, government and First Nations from California to Alaska to talk about the small and mighty Pacific Herring.

But ecosystem stats alone don’t tell the whole story. Its collapse has changed a way of life for people up and down the coast. The Summit was a moment to think differently about scientific knowledge.

The Summit centered human dimensions of the management of herring with traditional indigenous knowledge on Day 1. I was there to capture this part, visually.

OMF-Herring-Kitsasoo-Xaixais-WEB updated
What graphic recording did was to honor this wisdom. It made these teachings visual, and gave these perspectives a permanent – and prominent – place in the room. I created a 4×8 foot poster for each presentation, and hung these posters on the wall. On its own, graphic recording changes the space. The imagery often can bring a purposeful, fresh, or creative energy into the room. Simply put, the 6 images literally surrounded participants throughout the rest of the gathering. These visual stories were the counterpart to the presenters’ words and histories. The visuals are not better than, or more important – they are in service of the content, and became a tangible part of the room.

Pacific Herring Summit Heiltsuk graphic recording

There was powerpoint and data, but traditional indigenous knowledge provided for powerful and unforgettable moments of resilience and recognition.

We heard stories from the grandparents, tales about the land. We heard about when herring was so thick in the water it shone like silver, and the Heiltsuk Herring Song.

Graphic recording honored this wisdom. It made these teachings visual, and gave these perspectives a permanent – and prominent – place in the room.


OMF Herring Nuh-Chah-Nulth graphic recording


Simply put, the 6 images that were created literally surrounded participants throughout the rest of the gathering.

The visuals are not better than, or more important – they are in service of the content, and became a tangible part of the room. On its own, graphic recording changes the space by bringing purposeful, fresh, and creative energy into the room.

I would say that the graphic recordings became a re-framing tool for Days 2 and 3. I heard participants relate data back to the stories of land, culture and people who are directly affected, and center the human dimensions of herring.


Now a few months later, and I’ve worked on transforming the group work notes into a final illustration, and the prominence of human and cultural impact on herring in this model is still central.

Interestingly, this conference also changed how I draw oceans in my graphic recording work.

I live in Vancouver, BC on unceded Coast Salish territories, relatively close to the Pacific Ocean, and so I like to draw the familiar wide blue seas and expansive views. A few months after the conference, instead of choosing to draw an empty blue sea, I drew a close up small child collecting herring roe on cedar.

It was a small detail, but I thought of the Herring Song, and ocean acidification, and passing on knowledge to the next generations. The little herring helped me see how it’s all connected.



Mental Health Commission of Canada


Mental Health Commission of Canada


Groundbreaking mental health report needed a youth perspective. 


Knowledge translation into visuals: Synthesize key information and draw over 100 bilingual images in French and English. 


A youth-friendly report that is accessible and engaging. Read it here. Shouldn’t every national strategy be this easy to understand? Thanks to 123West for fantastic layout. 


Your graphics really made this a unique document for the MHCC, and we’re excited to see how it impacts discussions around mental health. Christopher Canning Manager, Knowledge Exchange / Mental Health Commission of Canada

Read more on my blog

more knowledge translation

MHCC-strategic direction 6

Arthritis Research Centre


ARC is the largest arthritis clinical research Centre in Canada


Annual research day called eROAR “Reaching Out with Arthritis Research” to bring active research to people living with arthritis.


Graphic recording made the research clear and easy to share, including on social media and webcast.


Transformed the 8-minute talks into graphics, worked with the social media team to tweet out sections online, and images are posted in print and online.

Surrey Schools



Surrey School Board and Superintendent Jordan Tinney


Transform dry statistics from an annual report into an online portal that welcomes parents, students, and staff to learn more.


Clickable infographic. I engaged senior administration at a facilitated session to design a new approach, created an infographic, then liased with school board staff to put it online.