This time last week I attended the first ever UK meet up for visual practitioners or UKVIZ for short. This took place in Cambridge. Defining a visual practitioner is pretty tricky, but basically anyone who uses visuals to support business, organisations or education. Most of the people present were from one of two key groups:
- Graphic Scribes / Recorders, that is people who listen, refine and draw out key messages of meetings, conferences or talks as they are taking place.
- Graphic Facilitators, that is people who use visuals in their work as “process” facilitators or moderators. Typically this is done by preparing pre drawn visuals, similar to the one on my home page.
The day was very eclectic and had a great range of sessions. They were a mixture of
- “What is important to our community?” type sessions
- Competency development sessions
- Networking sessions.
People also bought a tonne of visual books for others to peruse and Keith Warren-Price of Pinpoint facilitation was present with a range of products.
The day was really good and everyone, I think, agreed that the next session needs to be longer – possibly two days. Personally I like the one day format, even if the time is short (possibly longer days?)
My reason for going was really to support my Working Out Loud goal of becoming a scribe my March 2017. As a graphical facilitator, I have some core skills, but really fall down on the drawing side.
My key take aways from the day were:
Networking: Over 35 people were present from all of the UK and beyond. This is estimated to be about one third of the whole of the UK’s practitioners. I met people face to face, from the Facebook Facilitation group for the first time and a whole load of other people. I think I picked up a tonne of ideas in the conversations that took place.
View styles and techniques: Having worked alongside visual scribes a fair bit over my career, I had never taken time to watch them work, as I am always busy facilitating the conversations. It was great to watch different people work on the various boards present for the sessions. The same also applied to using digital tablets. I saw a range of tablets in use, with different apps and approaches to drawing digitally.
Pick up practice tips: I was keen to learn from the great range of professionals present. Two of the sessions I attended (sketchnoting & Visual practice improvement) really focused on how to build competence in the whole process, but particularly the drawing side.
Sketchnoting: As well as the formal session it was great to see everyone working in sessions doing sketch notes. I learnt a lot about style, technique and tools used. Based on this day, I have decided to sketchnote the content of B629, the course I tutor for the Open University.
Overall it was a great day. Very short and could have gone on for longer, like a lot longer!
Keen on knowing more about what happened? A hashtag was setup on Twitter #UKVIZ and I set up a twitter list of people present who are were tweeting at the event. There is a Facebook group, but I am not sure how this will be developed going forward. One thing is sure, there will be another event!
Anyway, enough writing, time to get back to sketchnoting!