In April, Sam Bradd (Vancouver) and Tanya Gadsby (Victoria) co-hosted an social evening for graphic facilitators and visual practitioners. Thank you to everyone who came – from 6+ cities and by car, ferries and even a plane – to network and talk shop.
You know you’re in the right space for a visual practitioners meetup when someone else has already drawn on the walls. We rented CityStudio, a creative collaboration space for urban planning: there’s a giant blackboard wall, picnic tables, and an affinity map of post-it notes connecting City challenges with students eager to solve them.
We all felt right at home! (Need a similar venue? Try using the “Airbnb of space rentals”, ThisOpenSpace.com.)
The Vancouver community hosts quarterly meetups, and we usually alternate between something social and a skillshare. This was our first Vancouver/Victoria collaboration – it was great to build more bridges with colleagues in other cities. And of course thanks to Neuland for the ambassador gifts – they were a huge hit!
Tips for other hosts:
⁃Keep it simple, and don’t over program the night. Let people move around and meet each other. We had a 15-minute introduction activity, including drawing and “what’s your superpower?”
⁃Alternate socials with more hands-on demos/ topics to attract different people
⁃Host at a roomy, public venue (not someone’s house) once in a while so new folks will feel welcome / safe attending
⁃Keep in touch: use a social media platform or email list so people can RSVP or plan for the next one
⁃ A light potluck on a work night is always a hit, it feels like we all know not to bring chips for dinner by now.
Regional meetups are great to connect practitioners for sharing skills, opportunities, and building a supportive community in between IFVP conferences, and to attract people to join the IFVP for an even stronger network.
It’s not even over yet, but I can say that March was amazing. My time was shared between group facilitation and graphic facilitation which felt like a great balance. Here’s three dynamic projects this month — on three continents!
Nepal: Facilitation for Oxfam Canada
Recently, I had the privilege of facilitating for Oxfam Canada in Nepal. The Creating Spaces project is a 5-year initiative about ending violence against women and girls, and the meeting brought together over 30 activists and programmers from Oxfam and partners in all six countries. Any other organization could have settled for reading powerpoints to each other for a few days – but not Oxfam!
Together, we built a facilitation plan for 5 days that featured simple shifts for more participation, and was an engaging and meaningful event. It included:
Presentations at a strict 10 minutes or less, to enable maximum time for questions; share detailed powerpoints after
Graphic recording to help summarize and synthesize key parts of the week
Varied Q+A formats: we used post-it notes, pair-and-share before plenary questions, panel format for group questions, and more
Carving out time for relationships, such as a group dinner and outing – in our case, a 7am event for International Women’s Day
Share leadership and facilitation energy among all the participants and convening team – many people can lead energizers, songs, and host mini-skill shares
The event’s purpose was to “review preliminary results of our mid-project learning review, discuss research and …brainstorm campaign and advocacy initiatives and ways to amplify our results over the remaining two years of the project.” Here’s to the continued success of Creating Spaces!
Geneva: Graphic Facilitation for World Health Organization
After some giant travel hiccups leaving Nepal, I went to Geneva to support the World Health Organization’s event Vaccines2030 Vision, working with facilitator Chris Colaco and for WHO lead Kate O’Brien. The meeting was the Global Vaccines & Immunization Post 2020 Initiative’s Consultation Meeting, in Switzerland.
I’ve loved my long-standing relationship with WHO focussing on emerging and infectious diseases, and as a result I’m pretty passionate about life-saving vaccines and immunization. Here are some cel phone/ twitter snaps of work in progress.
#Vaccines2030Vision had a session on value propositions and key stakeholders. Big themes included new data, linking health to other sectors, and I personally liked this one: advocacy is a two way street. it’s win-win when you can strengthen other’s sectors that mutually benefit yours.
One interesting thing emerged, that I also hear in other sessions: a tiny list of words of things to include/not include gave me great hope. Equity made it to the top 5, and jargon like “vaccine hesitancy” and “last mile” may be on their way out. Also, the room had a good reminder for work of any kinds: people need to see themselves reflected in any document, and importantly, in the process that builds it. It’s not “build a document then socialize it”, it’s build a process to socialize a document.
Allies in Aging – North Vancouver
And closer to home, Allies in Aging was an extraordinary event in North Vancouver also in March. “Nearly 250 seniors, service providers and community leaders gathered for our Allies in Aging in Action Conference on Feb. 28. The Pinnacle at the Pier ballroom buzzed with conversation and laughter as we connected around our collective work.”
Here’s live graphic recording images from that day, featuring a very moving keynote by Vickie Cammack of Tamarack Institute. You might wonder, why bring visuals into a meeting with scientists, policy makers, or anyone? To help surround you with your ideas. To have a dedicated listener and rapporteur. To invite a type of creativity that can hold emotion and momentum in a different way than flip charts can alone.
Meanwhile, the team at Drawing Change was travelling with their markers for a wide range of projects. Most of the work was confidential, but we’ll have photos from the team’s public-facing projects soon! Here’s Michelle Buchholz graphic recording at the CreativeCityStrategy for the City of Vancouver, along with Yolanda Liman and Tiaré Jung:
Session 3: Securing Local Arts + Culture Spaces, the forever problem of Vancouver. Thinking today beyond affordability to decolonization, and the spaces that can and should exist for racialized communities. #CreativeCityStrategypic.twitter.com/DF8BfOGtd1
Six weeks into 2019, and lots going on at Drawing Change. Here’s a few exciting highlights and resources:
Graphic Facilitation Training – in the Arctic
This Southerner spent two weeks in the far North. I taught a graphic facilitation workshop in the Arctic Circle in beautiful Cambridge Bay, Nunavut where it was minus 58 degrees Celcius. (Someone skied to my 2-day training workshop!) The demand for new, visual ways of working is always growing – my hunch is we’ll soon see a new network of visual practitioners in the far North – building on a rich history of artistic practices – who will transform graphic facilitation skills with a Northern worldview. Being up North changes your perspective. This is a must-read blog post about Qallunaat.
Thanks to Aurora College for inviting me to Yellowknife to give a keynote about the role of visual practice for adult educators, and to facilitate part of the in-service. It was a chance to share my ideas around using graphic facilitation to bring us closer together – for a sense of meaningful belonging, and to transform learning. It was an honour to share a stage with Drs Angela James and Suzanne Robinson.
Next public speaking engagement is in Vancouver for the Graphic Designers of Canada-BC Chapter AGM on Feb 20th. I’ll be sharing part of how I came to this unusual career, and how creative practitioners can also use graphic facilitation skills – even if you don’t think you can draw (…yet! The secret to our field is that fancy drawing skills are not always required). Thanks to the #Neuland Ambassador network for the fun swag for these workshops – if the talk has boring moments, at least you can ask me questions about fun markers, right?
Graphic Recording for Public Engagement and Strategic Planning
The team was busy – in January, the team supported a dozen events about public engagement and strategic planning. Highlights included UBC’s Sexual Assault Awareness Week where Tiaré Jung was graphic recording at this Decolonizing Consent workshop with Dr. Sarah Hunt and Dr Natalie Clark at the UBC Longhouse:
Yolanda Liman provided graphic recording at a strategic planning session in Las Vegas for a client who’s transforming their industry to be even more ethical – we’re always happy to work for US-based clients who want to make the world a better place. And, Michelle Buchholz teamed up with the amazing folks at Alderhill Consulting to support Indigenous-led strategic planning.
Generative Scribing and Experiments in Systems Thinking
I went to NYC for an advanced workshop in generative scribing with Kelvy Bird (who I co-edited a book with) and Alfredo Carlo – a chance to experiment and go deeper into my own practice and systems thinking. Here’s a great new resource by Jessica Rhiel about systems thinking.
Generative scribing gives us more choices to listen and connect to what is happening in the room. How I work always depends on the context – some groups will need the visuals to distill complex information into knowledge translation tools, and other groups will benefit from visuals that show a possibility that is being generated and is yet emerging. My purpose is to honour the lifetimes of experiences of participants both in the process, and in the visuals that are created.
Practitioners shouldn’t be tied to one way of working – because this creative, intellectual and intuitive work is more than “just show up and draw”. I don’t believe that practitioners should be interchangeable, or that we should approach each session identically. From the practitioner perspective, with training, mentors, communities of practice and experience – we can all deepen our work from our wisest source. And when we ask ourselves to work from this place, we can also help the room work from this place, with intention and purpose.
the 300 Rule – a great business tip for emerging graphic recorders
For newer graphic recorders wondering “what to do when nobody notices this great piece of work I just shared?” – I really enjoyed this article about the 300 rule from Alex Mathers. . I’ll be at this year’s IFVP.org 2019 conference on the business panel, so I’m collecting wisdom from people smarter than me in the meantime!
And, Registration is OPEN for this year’s graphic facilitation workshops, too.
Drawing Change believes in growing the field of visual practice, graphic facilitation, and graphic recording – and so our FREE Community Scholar spots and Volunteer Spots are back for our 2019 Visual Facilitation Workshops! *update: as of April 2019, applications for 2019 Community Scholar and volunteer spots are closed – we had a huge number of applications for May. These folks will now be considered for October – to minimize the amount of work people are asked to do in applying again. Thanks for your understanding and importantly thanks for applying!*
Community Scholar Spots for 2019 (3)
We have spaces open to support people working in community, grassroots, and social justice movements. So many professional development are expensive, and assume that participants are being sponsored by well-funded organizations. Instead, Drawing Change wants to spread the skills widely and with an equity lens. Priority will be given to self-identified Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour under 30(ish). To apply, email email@example.com and tell us why you’re interested, a brief note about your facilitation experience, examples of your drawing skills, what organization/movement you’re a part of, and what your plans are to share these skills afterwards.
Cost: $200 as a deposit (versus $1500 regular rate) + GST
Choose either the May 11-12th 2019 or October 5-6th 2019 workshop. There is 1 Scholar for the May workshop and 2 for October.
Deadlines are below.
We will collect names and then select people so it’s not first-come-first-served. Community Scholars will receive a full supply kit, all supplies that regular participants receive including hot lunch, and there’s no volunteering expectations.
You pay $200 to hold your spot (talk to us if this is a barrier)
Optional 1:1 coaching support: Instead of taking the workshop then jumping in, Sam can provide support and small suggested projects/assignments before the workshop. This would be 2-3 hours of optional time.
I’ll offer you at least $200 in paid work after the session to continue your practice.
No expectation to be “working” /supporting others during the course in a way that distracts from your own learning
Volunteer spots (4)
How it works:
We will pick volunteers one month before the workshop so it’s not first-come-first-served
Deadlines are below
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us why you’re interested in visual facilitation, what useful skills for supporting meetings/workshops you can offer, and what your plans might be to share these skills afterwards
Additional Info for Volunteers:
Arrive very early for setup and takedown (7am to 6pm)
The priority is that you’re working during the event to make the workshop a success for participants – you will have time to do most of the activities, but not all
Tasks will include: helping participants, room setup, cutting paper, meeting the caterer, registration desk, social media, moving furniture, running the audio/visual, and in return get the workshop for free
Basic drawing supplies will be provided
Free food both days
All volunteer responsibilities happen during the workshop from 7am to 6pm
The volunteer team is responsible for documenting the workshop: social media, photos, and a collaborative graphic recording
Some people will do kneeling/lifting, but work can be adapted.
May 11-12th workshop: email email@example.com by April 1st to be a community scholar (1 space) OR volunteer (4 spaces). We will inform people by April 15th.
October 5-6th workshop: email firstname.lastname@example.org by September 1st to be a community scholar (2 spaces) OR volunteer (4 spaces). We will let you know by September 15th.
Travel and accommodation to the workshop (Vancouver, Canada) not included
If you’re thinking about registering for the full workshop, great – payment plans available upon request, just send us a note at email@example.com.
Last year’s visual facilitation workshop sold out, and participants came from the UK, Japan, the US and across Canada! Folks applied their new skills in the fields of mental wellness, community organizing, municipal engagement, health care, organizational change and so much more. We will also have teaching led by Indigenous team members at Drawing Change. Can’t wait to see what this year brings.
I want you to have meetings with more belonging and connection – and visual facilitation is a way to do that. There’s no shortage of information anymore. Even when we have all the data and people in the room, it doesn’t always add up to a great meeting. What’s missing are people who can help groups make sense of information and tools to help people feel heard. This is the moment where graphic recording and graphic facilitation have impact. Invest in your meeting skills with this two-day foundational course in Graphic Recording and Graphic Facilitation. In 2018, workshop participants came from the UK, Japan, the US and across Canada – join us in 2019!
When we see visual process work in action, our eyes, ears, mind and heart begin to make connections. We listen more deeply. The seeds of action start to take root. When we see our words and thoughts expressed in front of us – live – we are rooted into what is happening in the room.
Graphic recorders and graphic facilitators use listening and drawing skills to help groups reach a deeper understanding, engage with each other, and solve problems. With this 2-day foundational workshop, you can make meaning and affect change at your next meeting.
Graphic recording workshop with Fostering Change BC and Amanda Fenton | photo courtesy of Yumi and Vancouver Foundation team, 2017
Excited to see Copenhagen this summer! I’m co-facilitating two workshops at the EuViz 2018 conference for visual practitioners, and I thought it was a great opportunity to share resources I’m using these days to help me grow, and change. (And help me recover from making mistakes. I make lots of mistakes.) What’s most important is that it’s not just about what you draw. Our work is informed before we pick up the pen.
Julie Stuart and Claudia Lopez (bios below) and I are facilitating “A Brave space: exploring bias and how it shows up in the pen.”