Every semester I facilitate a short workshop in the basics of visual communication. The goal of the workshop is to get some practice in visualizing ideas and discussions in real-time. This has proven to be a very useful skill in interdisciplinary team work because it forces at least one person in the team to listen, synthesize and visualize the research and design process in a meaningful way.
Visualizing as embodied understanding: a making practice
This post is under making because I consider visual facilitating a form of understanding that is not merely text-based, it’s the kind of shared understanding that emerges through the making of artefacts that are visible, tangible. What happens in these workshops is that understanding of concepts and interpretations of ideas are ‘kneaded’ through by transforming them into drawings, rather than developing them through -only- verbal expression or text.
What this workshop is all about
What I cover in this workshop is which basic elements can help you organize the information visually, and to get in some practice on how to translate concepts to images quickly, to build a personal visual vocabulary. From there the participants can pick it up in their day to day work, and refine their drawing skills as well as their speed in visualizing ideas and concepts in real-time, but also as reflection afterwards. I often have only 2 hours to do this, barely enough to scratch the surface, but the bit of extra confidence it generates in the participants’ is enough to explore and practice it further on their own account. I am recently also developed a workbook and workshop format to extend the reach of the workshop beyond the 2 hours, to 4, 8 or 16 hours.
Sources and resources
The work of Bigger Picture has been really helpful. Their video describing the 7 elements of graphic facilitation has helped to structure the topics covered in the workshop. I followed a masterclass with Martine Vanremoortele from Visual Harvesting and what I try to bring to the workshops I teach is her philosophy of listening, and being ‘neutral’ and aware of interpretations. And secondly her exercises in building visual vocabularies have been a great influence.