Dr. Nick Sousanis, a scholar, educator, and artist has agreed to serve as the keynote speaker for the 2016 Sketching in Practice Symposium. Dr. Sousanis is the author of the ground-breaking book Unflattening (Harvard University Press, 2015. Described as “an experiment in visual thinking,” Unflattening “defies conventional forms of scholarly discourse to offer readers both a stunning work of graphic art and a serious inquiry into the ways humans construct knowledge.” The book is “an insurrection against the fixed viewpoint” that uses the collage-like capacity of comics to show that perception is always an active process of incorporating and reevaluating different vantage points.”  Dr. Sousanis is currently a post-doctoral researcher in comics studies at the University of Calgary and a much-sought international speaker.
Find out more about Nick Sousanis at his blog Spin Weave and Cut http://spinweaveandcut.com/.
 Quotes from the Harvard University Press catalog: See also http://spinweaveandcut.com/unflattening/ for links to reviews.
Session title: Drawing for Information Design
Workshop overview: Drawing for Information Design will interactively engage designers, writers, and illustrators interested in communicating complex stories in visual form. For this workshop, I will draw upon my six years of experience in the Art Department at National Geographic Magazine. Here, we told stories whose visual needs could not be fulfilled by photography and text alone. Most of these stories preceded the invention of photography, such as those set in the Jurassic Era or Ancient Egypt. Many other illustrations involved the explanation of natural phenomena or complex processes. This workshop will draw upon the Art Director’s method for generating rapid ideas and storyboarding, and it will also cover how to sketch records of observations that remain more quantitative in nature: data visualization. We will use the visual alphabet, promoted by illustrator Dave Gray, to draw anything that can be imagined. Participants will creative fictive information design projects for National Geographic Magazine, for print and interactive experiences. We will cover the differences in unpacking content in both media, and show how we can plan for an overview, filter and zoom, and details on demand.
Andrea Kantrowitz, EdD., is an artist, researcher, and educator who has lectured and given workshops internationally on art and cognition. She is the director of the Thinking through Drawing Project at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Session title: Drawn to Discover: a cognitive lens on contemporary practice
Workshop overview: What can cognitive science teach us about the kinds of thinking enabled and enacted through the drawing process? This presentation will address how drawing is a model of the human brain and mind in action, recording and revealing how we observe, understand and invent. The presenter will share results from an interdisciplinary study that integrated methods and theory from art and cognitive psychology to study cognitive interactions underlying contemporary artists’ improvisational drawing practices. In this study, drawing was used as a research tool, to analyze the data and visualize underlying concepts. Artists often say that drawing allows them to engage in a kind of (largely non-verbal) conversation with themselves. They draw to see and play with their thoughts on paper: This dialogue can be understood as a series of directed, top-down, and sensory, bottom-up interactions, as the drawer sees and responds to the marks she has made. Drawing can be understood as the visible trace of the ways in which we think not just with our brains, but with our hands and bodies as well.
Jessica Motherwell McFarlane, Ph.D.
Session title: Creating Comics to Deepen Student Reflections, Increase Engagement and Have More Fun!
Workshop overview: As a diversity and social justice instructor, I frequently ask students to write journal entries to reflect on difficult concepts in my course material. When I noticed how popular comics were becoming, I asked myself, “how can I introduce comics-sketches and “selfies” into students’ reflective process?” I could not have guessed how simple, fun and academically successful this innovation would be.
One spectacular result with this comic-sketch technique was when I asked students to read pages from the Truth and Reconciliation 2015 report (on Aboriginal history in Canada) and create “graphic novel” pages depicting the events they read about. Most of the students’ reflections showed they experienced a deeper understanding of Aboriginal history than with previous read-and-write reflections.
Session approach. We will begin with a review of few of the sketch/comic activities I have used. Then you will try these super-easy techniques.
Find out more about Jessica Motherwell McFarlane’s work at: http://blogs.ubc.ca/drjamm/
Session title: Return to Eden
Session overview: Drawing as Experience
In the age of information, we assume technology will provide answers to all questions. Yet, vast amounts of data often generate irrelevant responses, leaving us disenchanted and unfulfilled. Our knowledge relies on experiences and experiences cannot be digitalized.
Drawing as Method
Drawing has a capacity to converse and articulate our knowledge. For this workshop I propose a series of drawing exercises to experience a simple act of eating apple and discuss & draw all possible associations. Participants will sit in a circle and engage in a dialogue, sharing personal feelings and constructing a collective map of their sensations.
Drawing as Learning
This workshop uses deconstruction as a principle to investigate complexity of a simple action. Participants will be encouraged to share experiences trough collective drawing and discover limitless power of this medium to gain new insights.
“Return to Eden” is an attempt to regain creativity through drawing.
Session title: What if? An experiment to explore if/how structure, format and media influences our interactions
Session overview: Are you ready to be the principle investigator and subject for a short experiment? Join us in this hands on, fingers dirty, experiment on the impact of structure, format and media influences on our interactions with each other. You will be assigned a cohort upon entering the room, with some degree of instruction and materials. You will participate for 20 minutes with that cohort. Then we’ll do a gallery walk and debrief of the experience. Magic or mayhem? Or both? Let’s explore.
Find out more about Nancy White’s work at: http://www.fullcirc.com/
Session Title: Using Storytelling Models to Communicate Research
Session overview: The ability to communicate complex research in ways that are both meaningful and engaging to non-specialist audiences is fast-becoming an expectation of funding agencies. Classic storytelling models, such as the narrative arc or storyboards, can be effective tools to help academics—particularly early career ones such as graduate students and postdoctoral fellows—begin to identity both the inspirational and emotional aspects of their work. In this session, I will lead the audience through two activities in which visual models and drawing will be used to help researchers create the foundation for high-impact communication.
Through this workshop, participants will:
- be familiar with two visual activities that can help researchers deliver high-impact communication.
- be able to describe how visual tools can help generate new insights into communicating research.
Find out more about Jackie Amsden’s work at: https://twitter.com/jackiecamsden
Joan CawleyCrane is a Senior Lecturer at Central Washington University, in the Department of Art, in Ellensburg (AKA The Heart of) Washington. Joan teaches art history, drawing, printmaking, and paper making, and organizes the annual Dias de los Muertos.
Session title: The Daily Log: an Uncommon Commonplace Book
Session overview: I start every day by writing and drawing. These are the methods through which I ground myself, make sense of my world, problem solve, plan/create, and – most importantly – see. After 15+ years of this practice, I know the value of that discipline, and of direct mark making.
The Daily Log, a 5’10” artist book I have been working on for several years, contains drawings done as a daily practice; a form of moving meditation. Being present is crucial to our understanding of the world, and of ourselves. The hands on process of pencil to paper provides a direct link: eye/mind/hand, and sometimes the unexpected occurs – when I draw more than what I thought I had seen.
Presenting the book and the processes will provide viewers exposure to a multi-year art making project/process. Will share resources and examples/exercises for future exploration.
Will show images, explain my process, and engage in discussion/questions.
Suk Kyoung Choi
Session title: Drawing out the metaphor: How do we share meaning through drawing?
Session overview: We attempt to communicate when we make drawings, but what is it that is communicated? Do we have similar or very different readings of visual information? This workshop explores the conceptual abstraction of drawing. All levels of drawing experience are welcome.
Starting with a brief presentation of my research interests in conceptual metaphor, we will examine the creative association of text and image. Metaphor implies an intuitive perception of the ‘similarity in dissimilars’. In order to explore this notion, we will engage in a paired participant drawing game, devising a personal but communicable visualization through reflective drawing in response to simple textual poetics composed by participants using words drawn from a semantic pool. The intended outcomes are an increased awareness of how meaning is wrapped up in embodied (personal) metaphor, and a deeper understanding of the factors influencing meaning through the abstraction of image creation. This workshop will be a blend of experimentation, exploration, reflection, and fun!
Find out more about Suk Kyoung Choi’s work at:https://skchoi.org/
Brad Ovenell-Carter has spent more than 15 years exploring the impact of technology on education. If there’s one thing he’s learned in all this, it’s that the essence of technology has nothing at all to do with anything technological.
Session title: YOur Braion on Paper
Session overview: In 1973, the MIT historian, Charles Weiner, interviewed the great physicist, Richard Feyman. Looking at one of Feynman’s notebooks, Weiner thanked him for transcribing his thoughts. “No, are it’s not a record, not really. It’s [my brain] working. OK?”
Your Brain on Paper (also the title of my upcoming book) looks at the history of externalizing our brains and makes the case for developing a sketchnoting practice in K12 education as a way of making thinking visible. This practice is better suited to modern pedagogies that are shifting from building factual recall to building conceptual understanding. Participants will leave with a basic sketchnoting toolkit and an understanding of three theories that support its implementation: the Gutenberg Parenthesis, dual-coding theory and Dewey’s ideas of functional transaction.
Find out more about Brad Ovenell-Carter’s work at: http://www.ovenell-carter.com/about/
Session title: Drawing Together: a Liberating Structures Activity
Outcomes & Overview: Participants will experience the very flexible “Drawing Together” Liberating Structures activity and consider ways to apply it in their own work/practice. This is a full description of the activity: http://www.liberatingstructures.com/20-drawing-together/.
Approach – this is a highly participatory session – participants will first practice drawing 5 basic symbols and then combine them into their own visual story. Stories will be shared in pairs, then posted for a gallery walk where we will consider the visual stories together. We will finish with a brief conversation about how this activity might be adapted for use in other contexts (in teaching, facilitation, work teams, etc).
Find out more about Tracy Kelly’s work at: http://www.tracykelly.net/
Dr Robyn Schell’s research focuses on games and simulations for education, life long learning, gerotechnology.
Session title: Let’s Parti: Creating Engaging Discussion around Design
Session overview: Join our hands-on experience that illustrates the use of Parti software to stimulate discussion and feedback on design through real time sharing of sketches submitted by participants.
Parti is a software that allows designers to use their mobile devices or laptops to capture and upload photos of their sketches, which can then be sorted and displayed by the facilitator as examples for formative assessment.
This session will be led by SFU SIAT instructor, and Parti developer, Andrew Hawryshkewich, who will demonstrate how Parti can be used to collect, display, and comment on digital submissions with the objective of building expertise in understanding and applying design principles.
The creation of Parti was funding through SFU’s Teaching & Learning lntegrated Centres’s Learning Technology Development Program. Robyn Schell, Learning Technology Specialist, will briefly describe this program and grant availability.
Find out more about Andrew Hawryshkewich’s work at: http://andrewh.ca/
Find out more about Dr Robyn Schell’s work at: https://www.sfu.ca/tlc/staff/rmschell.html