I recently returned from the International Forum of Visual Practitioners’ 22nd Annual Conference, where I had the opportunity to once again be a part of an immersive experience with other artists/visual practitioners. Taking this time out of my daily work has proven to be a source of inspiration and motivation. It’s a reminder to look up and look around- get out of the my day-to-day routines, and see what else is going on in the world with regards to this very special field of work – graphic facilitation/graphic recording.

Conference life is not necessarily all fun all the time… the pursuit of professional growth and development is hard work. Every time I attend a conference as a participant (rather than a as person supporting the conference) I am reminded of how exhilarating and exhausting it can be.

I found myself wishing I had a little more wiggle room in between sessions. A few more opportunities to chat with others and share best practices. I regularly hear participants of our design sessions we facilitate voicing their fatigue about being on such a “Go! Go! Go!” schedule, and I may occasionally have thought “Yeah, yeah…get going! Move it along!” As a participant myself at the IFVP conference, I feel the same way! (Note to self: remember this feeling on the next session CN is facilitating!)

This year the gathering was a bit smaller than last year, and I ultimately decided that was better, because it did make it slightly less overwhelming to navigate (physically and socially) and allowed for deeper connections. I had a chance to catch up with a few friendly faces that I remembered from last year, and to talk with some people who I’d never met before.

There were too many breakouts for me to share here, but here are a few highlights:

Listening for Diversity
with Sam Bradd

During this breakout session, Sam shared results of feedback he gathered from the field, and facilitated a fishbowl conversation. During the fishbowl, participants alternated between being IN the circle (participating in the conversation) to scribing the conversation as it was evolving in the circle. It was a fascinating and engaging session that provided the space and structure to dig deeper into what it means to LISTEN for diversity.

You can see the results of his breakout here:


Diamonds in the Rough
With Jim Nuttle

During this breakout session, we practiced polishing the visuals we use to give them some extra sparkle. What I really enjoyed about this session was having the time to work on some new techniques on the board. The workshop was geared to a more experienced group of practitioners, and it was fun to just work on sharpening my own skills.

Treasure Mapping
With Greg Whicker

This breakout was so fun! We organized into small teams and had to quickly agree on a movie or story (my team ended up with “Beauty and the Beast”) and we were asked to plot out the key moments from the movie and to create a “journey map” or visual timeline. The work was fast and furious; we felt the pressure of our deadline looming in the background as we tried to agree on the content of our map and how to distribute ourselves to do the drawing. Add to that the fact that none of us had worked together before! It was a rewarding experience.

Neuland Marker Demonstrations
With Guido Neuland

During the conference, Neuland (official equipment supplier of IFVP) offered several opportunities to try out their products during informative demonstrations. I really enjoyed the demos on filling their refillable markers with ink and using and refilling their acrylic markers. Neuland also generously treated attendees with free samples of their products, which was a bonus!