Category Archives: facilitation

Download My Chapter from Drawn Together in Visual Practice

aaronpathbooklaunch2I had a great time yesterday at the Vancouver book launch of the new anthology, Drawn Together Through Visual Practice, edited by Brandy Agerbeck, Kelvy Bird, Sam Bradd and Jennifer Shepherd.   You can download my chapter below.   I’m really pleased with it – these were great anthologists and editors to work with and I’d jump at a chance to be part of something like this again with the same folks (whereas most of these publishing experiences don’t end with me wanting to repeat the experience!).

drawntogethervancouverpresenters

Stina Brown also wrote a great chapter and was MC for the event (check our her blog and an upcoming training in visual practices that she’s doing); you can find out more about the really amazing Sam Bradd on his blog “Drawing Change“;  Aftab Erfan wrote a chapter on her practices in Deep Democracy facilitation work and gave a great introduction to some of those ideas.    Our short presentations were amazingly recorded by two of Vancouver’s finest visual practitioners, Avril Orloff and Corrina Keeling.

AvrilAndCorrinaDrawnTogetherRecordign.JPG

The information was great, the vibe was cool at the Galerie Gachet, and the book is lovely but really it was just like a terrific party of people moving forward towards a more wonderful world.   I was exhausted after a really busy week and it was just what I needed 🙂

pathpresentationgraphicMy chapter, “Sensemaking through Arts-Infused, Person-Centered Planning Processes,” is about PATH.  I used this graphic in my talk, which focused on an idea we worked with David and Faye Wetherow to learn with groups of B.C. families – that person centered planning events are an opportunity for invitation to all kinds of folks who will add all kinds of ideas.   The unicorn in the graphic represents the idea that, always, if we focus on this idea of invitation someone will show up with a magical idea that you’d never have thought of before and, “magic happens.”

MagicHappens.JPG

Below are links to my chapter, and to the handout (a little foldable PATH-ezine that you can print and turn into a tiny booklet) that I used.  You can learn more about the book and how to get a copy on the site (subscribe for updates!) and there is also a Facebook page.  In Canada, check it out on amazon.ca (just released: a Kindle version).

Chapter: drawn_together_johannes

PATH ezine (feel free to print and distribute):

pathzine

Please feel free to forward this!   Contact me imagineacircle@gmail.com for permission to republish or if you’d like to talk co-creation for your events, projects or research.

#clmooc Learning and Gaming Cycle 3

The stone game is a great way to communicate with teenagers :) (given that it involves listening!)

The stone game is a great way to communicate with teenagers 🙂 (given that it involves listening!)

Many good conversations and makings during this third cycle of #clmooc.   It got me thinking about the stone game, and then I remembered this video I made.  This was one of the first gigs* that I had, in which I was graphically recording what was happening in the room and, in this case, online as the facilitator was on an island across the strait, leading the group in a conversation that began with “the stone game.”  I had just taken some basic training in graphic recording and my only rule was that I wouldn’t say “no” – a game I play with myself when I’m entering new territory as I know it is my tendency to want to say no and think I can’t do things.

From afar, David had given each participants a pile of stones and then used them to negotiate a conversation, with them paying attention to their dynamics.  This led them to a very fruitful conversation about their goals and how they were moving forward together.  One of the most brilliant pieces of facilitation I’ve seen and transformational for me…

It began a long lovely recipricol relationship for me with the Family Support Institute of B.C. (I volunteer as much as I can with them and they let me get experimental), was the first of many many graphic recording and facilitation gigs, started us working for a couple of years on projects with David Wetherow, one of my heros who I never expected to work with and a fascination with the stone game, which I’ve used with smaller groups as a facilitation tool.

*While I am now a bit embarrassed by the quality of the graphic recording, it is still one of my favourite sessions and videos.  The distance between what I wanted to do and what I could do compelled me to go learn more 🙂

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

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#clmooc Remediation Make Cycle 2

I’ve been really fascinated by what’s coming across my social media feeds as educators of all kinds have tackled the idea of “reMEDIAtion” over the last week in the #clmooc group.  As my avocation is special education for adults, I was particularly interested in this idea: “Remediation – as we’ll be thinking about it here – is unrelated to another use of the term in education: we are not talking about “remediating kids” as in “remedy”-ing them.  Here, the focus is on media, and ways in which moving from one medium to another changes what we are able to communicate and how we are able to do so.”  On the other hand, I’ve been travelling, and teaching in some new places, and trying to wrap up some projects, and dealing with a hospitalized family member and a paper I am supposed to be readying for publication so I wasn’t putting too much pressure on myself…  but one of the folks was talking about the idea of constraints as compelling…

I’ve been teaching drawing as communication to adults, and it’s always fascinating to see who is scared of what.  To watch someone draw perfectly well and beat themselves up with every line.  To watch someone who didn’t think they could draw anything, draw something recognizable, and then the next day come back to say their children were so thrilled they insisted she hang it on their fridge door.

Yet, as interesting as it is, it’s a bit hard to relate to, honestly.  I’ve always been able to draw pretty much anything, and while I had a few art teachers who didn’t think that was true, or wanted me to want something “more,” the shyness people have about this skill range is difficult for me to fathom.  Thinking about this, I realized how invested I was in the idea of control…  even when I decided I’d rather fail the drawing course than do what was wanted, I was in control.   About the same time, I ran across an old reference in some notes I was looking at, twitter bots – in this case, twitter-bots you send images to and they re-create (re-mediate) your images – either randomly or by sending them commands.  This led to me discovering a whole family of twitter-bots that, as it happened, were at war!

TwitterBotWar.08 AM TwitterBotWar.39 AM TwitterBotWar.33 AM

As a graphic recorder and facilitator (and illustrator and researcher), my actual job a good part of any month is re-mediation – I listen to the conversations people have about certain subjects, and turn them into drawings.  In my research I get a lot of people talking about one subject and then turn that into a drawing as a recording.  This was part of my Master’s thesis and is part of what I am continuing to look at in my PhD program.

So, this kind of interaction:

CommunityMappingVictoria

Turns into this kind of documentation, through my drawings and (often) the incorporation of drawings and work by the groups (in this case, “name tags” in which the “my name is…” was replaced with “the gift i bring to community is…”):

CommunityMappingVictoriaGraphic

There are lots of good things about such projects but in essence what I like is that we focus on the ways people can communicate (visually) as a way of congregating information that they can present to those who are empowered to make changes.  In this project we went to six different cities in the end, in which agencies, government and policy makers were as excited to hear what people with disabilities wanted as people with disabilities were to tell them.

I also continue to be fascinated by technology and its effects on our lives and relationships.  So I started sending some of the documents and images to the twitter bots.

I combined a picture of me drawing with a drawing and send them to imgblender – which takes two images and overlays them in different ways: 

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Then, using the twitter-bots JPGglitchbot, imgshredder, lowpolybot and Quilt Bot, I continued to experiment with the photo of me drawing a research project plan for a collaborative group of researchers with intellectual disabilities:

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This led to me combining and re-mediating more of the graphic recordings, and in particular one of me and my family, combined with a recording about how people who live with folks with disabilities feel about their “jobs,” lives and the idea of “home”:

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Finally, I made myself stop but then, in bed with my iPad and reading one of my favourite comic series, Paul Pope’s Batman Year 100, I could not resist combining the iconic cover of this future-Batman in a dystopian world with a publicity photo of me, and really liking the effect 🙂

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and then, the next day, I discovered the twit-bot UShouldFrameIt and decided my new portrait needed framing:

BatEducatorFramed

and then, in an act of post-structuralist robotics, that a sarcastic comment from LowPolyBot to UShoudFrameIt as part of the twit-bot-war needed a little framing too….

TwitBotWarFramed.47 PM

To see the Imgblender Gif in action, go here.

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