On January 29 this year Lotte and I traveled to Estonia for the MARKERS Erasmus+ training course about graphic facilitation with no expectations but to learn something new and meet new and interesting people, since we did not know much about the subject. How did it go?
Basics of graphic faciliation
When we arrived in Tallinn in Estonia we met the other participants of the training course at Shokkin Estonia’s office, before we traveled by mini bus to the arena outside of the town where we spent the next seven days.
The first days we went through the basics of graphic facilitation, like ‘The ABC of Simplicity’, templates and ‘The 8 Essentials’. On the third day we started to develop our own visual vocabulary in a small group. Each group had different subjects, started an elimination process to choose words connected to the subject and started to draw icons for the words we had chosen.
During the seven days we learned what graphic facilitation really is about, how to do it and when to use it (basically all the time you usually take notes). Since any of us had not drawn much before the training course, we really learned new skills during the course.
Arranging local workshop
The main goal of the training course was to arrange a workshop about graphic facilitation back at Shokkin Estonia’s office on the seventh day of the training course, which we used day six to prepare for in groups.
Thanks to energizers, group work, cultural night, sauna talks, a birthday party and time to socialize (and play card games) in the breaks and in the evenings, the group got pretty close and we got to check off the expectations about getting to know new and interesting people!
On the seventh day we travelled back to Tallinn. We got some time to explore the town before we started to set up the stations in groups for the workshop the same evening.
Everyone seemed to be both excited and nervous before the workshop, but we think everyone did a great job and that it went really well! We celebrated that it went well with pizza afterwards.
On day eight we reflected on the event and had a presentation about the result, and the same night everyone gathered at a restaurant and had a goodbye dinner.
Outcomes of the project
This is how Olalla Gonzales, the coordinator of the project describes the process and outcomes of the project:
Participants had the chance to go through a full graphic facilitation journey. From the most basic shapes and principles of visual thinking, to building their own visual vocabulary, creating summary flipcharts to support oral input and even producing a set of practical resources for other youth workers. The programme had also two areas of focus: on one side, how to integrate visual elements while facilitating sessions (internal perspective) and how to summarize information in a structured and logical way from an external perspective (as graphic recorders).
The participants created tangible outcomes of the course were a series of 6 Visual Dictionaries with ready-made visualizations of key terms based on six topics relevant in the youth work/educational field:
- Social inclusion and equality
- Mental and physical well-being
- Intercultural, intergenerational and interreligious communication
- Environmental sustainability
- Entrepreneurship and employability
- Active citizenship and civic engagement
In addition to that participants created Mood cards, a set of visual printable cards to support the reflection and/or self-exploration process in various contexts and with various target groups.
All material can be found on Shokkin Group International webpage here.
The project was implemented by Shokkin Group Estonia together with Shokkin Group Norge and Shokkin Group International funded by Estonian National Agency Noorteagentuur under the Erasmus+ programme of the European Commission.