I was introduced to graphic recording about 30 years ago when David Hasbury was hired to work with People First Canada to document their national meetings in ways that were accessible to all the participants, most of whom had disabilities, literacy issues, and some of whom were French-speaking. It blew me away and I came home to experiment on my own, but until Avril Orloff, a local pioneer in our field, started working in this area I wasn’t sure where to look for more information on how to do it. I started working with Avril as much as possible when I facilitated meetings and planning sessions, and then eventually took a course that she designed. From there, I just wanted to learn more, and studied first in Brandy Agerbeck‘s inaugural BrandyLab course in Chicago, and then with Christina Merkley in a series of great courses, during which I became a Shift-It coach and also worked with Christina learning how to use visuals and facilitate at the same time.
I really loved working with people one on one and the processes that Christina has developed. One of my main areas of interest in person centred planning and this method is one of the best, though requires real commitment from both the person doing the planning and the person facilitating.
I went on to use graphics in arts-based research during my Masters degree research which focused on education and equity studies and looked at leadership opportunities for people with disabilities, and during my PhD, which focused on critical disability studies through the lens of leadership and accessibility.
I have worked with lots of different kinds of groups, ranging from architects looking to promote “green architecture” to teachers to children rethinking what their schools might look like, to researchers planning projects, to (many) organizations planning their futures, to parents of children and adults with disabilities through my volunteer work with the B.C. Family Support Institute. I love organizing workshops and curriculum which involve teaching people to “draw their stories” and synthesizing the themes of groups of various kinds for strategic planning. Incorporating visuals into Community Based Participatory Research is a great way to get everyone on the same page, make sure everyone is heard, and include all participants. At every event I work at in the role of graphic recorder, visual facilitator or facilitator/host utilising a graphic recorder, I am amazed at how much further we get using these techniques that bring with them such a sense of fun, exploration and innovation. They are seminal story-telling tools.
I work with a select few groups and prefer longer-term relationships in which both they and I grow together and learn as we go. I am happy to consider working with you; please send me an email to start a conversation about what we might do together.
Here are some samples of my work:
The R.I.S.E. program is an exceptional innovation in Vancouver Parks and Rec in which young Indigenous people are brought in, mentored in various ways, and then invited to apply for positions. This event was a reflection on some of the work done by them over the previous year as they prepared for more events, activities and increased leverage.
A parent led group put together this event, which looked at the different roles parents take in schools and community over the course of the life of a child with a disability as they grow into adulthood.
A graphic used in a talk introducing my chapter on using visuals in person centred planning for a new anthology.
A year into a project on “employment first” for people with disabilities, a group of self-advocates in Victoria seized the opportunity to talk about their successes and plan for what they would do next.
Some of the graphics from a three day conference on supported employment, attended by about 300 people from all over the province, all with different perspectives depending on their roles.
Planning for a community development project that took us to six different cities to look at was working well.
The UBC Centre for Community Engaged Learning hosted a reflective event and while people mingled and talked, they would come and tell me stories about their successes. This was the result.
One of a few booklets that I have illustrated.
Discussing different ways of looking at leadership – from being led by a single driving personality to folks working together to come to consensus and, in the process, generating new and better ideas.
Poster for a workshop series.
Interested in person centred planning or coaching? As well as working with groups in various ways, I teach PATH and MAPs as exemplary person centred planning tools through Spectrum Society a few times a year, and am also a certified visual coach in the Shift-It process. Email me for more information!