graphic facilitation

I started thinking I’d make a slideshow of some of the new graphics I’ve been having fun with, and then started adding more… so this was going to be a kind of overview of the last few months, but then i decided to put in some older things as well.   I got introduced to the idea of graphic facilitation years ago when I first was introduced to People First and used to travel with Arnold Bennington to the National Meetings.   David Hasbury did these amazing drawings of their conversations, and covered the walls of the hotel board-rooms – I’d never seen anything like it.   Arnold and I decided that we should try something like that at the next BC People First Conference, so I drew while people talked, for 10 hours.  It was so much fun.

Later, when I worked for a bit with the Vela Microboard Association, Linda Perry introduced me to PATHs and then I went on to study with some other people.   My background, prior to supports for folks with disabilities, was in fine arts and I loved the idea of combining my two avocations.   I happily did PATHs for years, and then started illustrating books.   But I’ve always admired the work of people like David, and more recently Avril Orloff, who has been the graphic facilitator for meetings I’ve been part of leading, and wondered how they do this meta-listening thing…

So as a Christmas gift to myself, I signed up for Avril’s course, The Artful Visual Facilitator – and decided to actually give myself a couple of days of learning around what I’ve been doing by the seat of my pants.   It was an amazing couple of days.   Sam Bradd, one of our co-students, blogged about it brilliantly here and now Sam is available as a graphic facilitator.  If you are interested and can spare a couple of days for Arvil’s course and wonder if it will be worth it, sign up 🙂  the next one is in December 2012…  Actually I’d jump at taking any of courses with the Masterful Facilitation people and will when I’m done the studies I’m involved in now.  Graphic facilitation has a few different meanings, but the one that I took away from Avril’s class was that it is the use of graphics to make things easier, to “facilitate” – from “facile,” french for “to render easy.”

There is some great information on how graphic facilitation is being used, but the ways I’ve been liking to use it are to involve people in kinds of democratic / leaderly processes.   Essentially, graphics engage another part of our brains and allow us to think and rethink, but also to clarify what we aspire to.   I was particularly delighted by how much difference it made when I did a recent weekend planning retreat for B.C. People First – when we started up the next day people had spent the evening before and the morning going over the drawings from the day before and had a whole different sense of where they wanted to go.   The next day was facilitated by Fred Forde, talking about the history of people with disabilities, a fascinating topic in a room full of leaders with disabilities…

So I thought I’d post some of the things I’ve been working on.   I’m not quite sure where it’s all going yet, but last year’s objective was to look at at least one art work a day, which was lovely, and so far this year I’ve made art every day – which has been great too.   I’m doing about eight days of graphic facilitation over the next months.   Eek 🙂

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2 thoughts on “graphic facilitation

  1. Sam Bradd says:

    Hi Aaron, what an amazing post. Your art is inspiring and I loved the part about self-advocate art in Whistler and the ‘mountain’ of images.

    When I moved my website earlier this year, I changed the post you’re linking to- my mistake! Here’s the writeup:

    http://www.sambradd.com/graphic-recording-training/

    • Aaron says:

      thanks Sam, that’s really kind of you! i’ll make the change. btw have you seen this? http://www.shift-it-coach.com/ i know Avril studied with her and i’ve heard great things. i might do this online facilitation course with her in october… she’s teaching one at the beginning of may but we’re going through accreditation right then :/

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