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January 2018 Member in the Spotlight: Linda Gilbert

Your name, business name, title and location:
Linda Gilbert, Drawn Together Ltd, New Zealand

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How long have you been an IFVP member?
Since 2014 (three years)

How many IFVP conferences have you attended?
None yet but I am hoping to attend one in 2019

How many years as a visual practitioner?

How did you come to the field of visual practice?
I have always doodled, drawn and painted. Working as a lawyer and policy advisor for most of my business life could have been a bit dull, but I found that including some sort of creativity made life a lot more interesting! Colleagues like it and working more creatively brings a fresh perspective to serious meetings. I came across graphic recording while I was doing some research in the field of health and consumer engagement. It immediately sparked a fire in me - and I was off! I learnt everything I could about it. I have many years experience as a facilitator, but the role of graphic recording was new and very exciting to me. I even took time out of my honeymoon in the USA to attend a workshop with Laurie Durnell at The Grove in San Francisco! I love the way graphic recording engages audiences, unpacks complexity and has the potential to turn meetings into vibrant and memorable occasions.

Share an extraordinary experience you’ve had as a visual practitioner:
Early one winter morning, I fell on ice and broke my right should and wrist. I had been in business with Drawn Together for just one year.  At that time I was the sole earner in our family. It shook my world. I feared that I would never draw or paint again. I started to teach myself to draw with my left hand. The results were actually quite cool! Much looser with a child-like quality I really liked. I spent hours in rehab and undergoing a major operation. So my business went onto ice too. I call this time my ‘Big Break’ because while I was in rehab with time to think outside the square I hit upon the idea of transforming myself into a digital graphic recorder. I bought an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, downloaded the Beta version of WorkVisual and started talking to the wonderful Holger Nils Pohl. I was off again!  I haven’t looked back either. After getting to grips with the ultra slippery surface and the digital programme, I find it is easier on my body, environmentally friendlier, and my clients love it. I’m quite a small person so carrying large foam boards onto planes and trains etc. was always tricky! I miss my markers though - so sometimes when I have time, I’ll make up some pretty boards to use on assignments I do. 

What would like to see from the IFVP in the next 12 months?
It would be great to see some virtual peer groups supported and set up. They could be used for mutual support, peer to peer support, mentoring, developing policies for the group, ethics, working together for charities (ie. sharing the load, but being able to offer value)… etc.

What’s on your bookshelf?
I love Brandy Agerbeck’s book 'The Graphic Facilitator’s Guide' - its my Bible and I usually slip it into my bag when I go to draw events. Of course I never get time to look at it, but I feel better just knowing a little bit of Brandy is with me in the room!  'The Idea Shapers’, Brandy’s latest book, is on my wish list. “Drawn Together Through Visual Practice”, Edited by Brandy Agerbeck, Kelvy Bird, Sam Bradd & Jennifer Shepherd is another favourite go-to book. Then let’s not forget the wonderful 'How To’ series written by Lisa Arora of Get the Picture and illustrated by Manuela Bernard of Rocketpics. These are magnificent resources and useful for helping clients to understand how best to work with Graphic Recorders.

What is the best piece of advice you received from another visual practitioner?
I love my work because the attitude of cooperacy and sharing is so strong amongst graphic recorders - this knowledgeable and caring group has answered many of my queries, either directly or via threads I’ve read. But perhaps the most important piece of advice I’ve received is around not trying to capture everything that is said, to slow down. I’m not a stenographer - verbatim content is not needed! This is hard for me as I learnt shorthand many years ago, so I’m trained to listen and capture everything! That can be soooooo exhausting! So my motto now is “Less is more!” 

Share a piece of your work with us:
Here is a simple chart I use to keep me on track. You’re welcome to share this. you are welcome to share it.

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This image was drawn as part of a quality improvement series of workshops - specifically around the topic of opioid harm. I like it because it isn’t too busy and explains a business process clearly.

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You can connect with Linda Gilbert here:

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