Complicacy, complexity and the art of hosting a community: the 2018 visual practitioner conference EUVIZ in Denmark

Special venue, special crowd and mediterranean weather: Rungstedgaard just a few miles north of Copenhagen was the place to be for the international visual practitioners community and the IFVP in the first week of August.

EUVIZ was originally set up as a gathering of EUropean VIsualiZers in Berlin 2014. The second edition, kindly, creatively and professionally hosted by Mara Callaert (NL) and Christine Hemmingsen (DK), brought together a global crowd from Canada to Ethiopia with an attitude of openness and empathy, sharing sophisticated questions to the field and the industry.

Around 200 people drew, discussed, danced the night away and dived into the Öresund during three hot danish summer days that will stay in our memories for a long time.

bikablo was represented by Karina and me, Andrea, who manages the bikablo bildwerk projects, Frank as the head of the global training program, visual facilitators Martina, Kirsten and Yasmine, and finally Jill (New York City) and Xiaoli (Shanghai) from the global trainer team.

Karina and me had the pleasure to conduct the opening session about how to „stop reducing complexity“. We talked about the difference between complicated and complex issues and how visualization can make them accessible instead of oversimplifying them. We discussed the different roles in the field of visual practice between visuals and facilitation and offered examples how to cope with complicated content and complex processes.

(Graphic recordings by Brandy Agerbeck and Malte von Thiesenhausen)

US Graphic Facilitator Kelvy Bird did the day two session out of an opposite perspective: Her concept of „Generative Scribing“ showed us an  approach from the heart to visualize group dialogue that opened doors to a new way to facilitate change processes, closely connected to the presencing practice of Theory U.

A lot of discussions actually arose between these two poles: cognitive strategies of creating value with the pen in multistakeholder, multi-layered challenges on the one hand, intuitively capturing the process dynamics in energetic drawings on the other hand open up a continuum where visual practitioners can develop their skillset, mindset and professional identity for different assignments and contexts.

Luckily, there were plenty of opportunities to meet, continue the discussions, gain insights in workshops and open space sessions – and test new markers by the conference sponsor neuland.

Finally David Sibbet, grand seigneur of the visual facilitation movement, closed the conference with a map showing the different foundations, neighborhoods and influences of our industry.

We say thanks to everybody who made this experience an exceptional one. The community is growing and the questions are becoming more and more ambitious. Hope we will meet again soon to continue the quest for the best answers!


PS: Happily we will have Kelvy Bird for a bikablo masterclass on Generative Scribing in December to continue exploring the space between the poles.

Visit the conference documentation on Flickr

Photo Credits: Orest Tabaka and the bikablo team