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Why I joined the IFVP Board of Directors_Miryam Artola Dendaluce

I have worked in international-cooperation for twenty years. In 2008, one year before the Coup d’Etat, I was joining some proceedings in Honduras with two organisations who had significant experience and presence in the area. It was imperative to draw up lines of action that would encourage the general public to engage and participate. Realistic, ambitious lines of action that would respond to a tense socio-political environment that was economically polarised. It was not an easy task. The analysis and starting situation they described to us told us it was a tricky, complex situation. Filled with violence and impunity. A social structure that was shifting between uncertainty and fear. Two highly dedicated organisations, with a clear commitment but with their own uncertainties and fears (both personal and organisational). At that point, we spread a large, blank piece of paper out on the wall. We began by identifying the questions that arose in that concrete time and place in the country. We wrote the answers directly onto that blank piece of paper. We moved the conversation away from us, the people there in that space, and we focused our attention on the sheet of paper, upon which we began, little by little, to construct an image (using words and pictures) that summarised the whole big picture, with details emerging from that overall common narrative. The complex, tangled reality we were facing transformed into a more neatly ordered ball of wool, as we untangled the threads we needed to weave together a sound, focused proposition for work that responded to the challenges we faced and was grounded in reality, with real possibilities that the organisations were able to implement. I didn’t know it at the time, but the thing we built together on that wall was my first conscious exercise in Visual Thinking.

5 years later, having spent time as a visiting scholar in Boston College, I discovered the discipline and science of Visual Thinking, and I co-wrote a book on Visual Thinking (Pensamiento Visual, murales para innovar Ed. Mensajero, 2015) and created my own company. Since then, my professional activity is now dedicated to visual facilitation, team coaching and communication. The same work and focus, working with teams, companies and organizations to contribute in a positive way to  meaningufl change.

I use to say that I found my vocation on my 40´ies. And being there, in 2015 I participated in my first IFVP meeting. That was awesome. So many gorgeous people, doing what I was doing, expressing from I was expressing… and they were there for the last 21 years!!! I found a place, a community from where I could learn and share, in a very growing nourishing way.

So, when Launa asked me last summer to jump into the IFVP board, even I knew I was “new” on the IFVP, and knowing I have so much to learn, I breath deeply and I decide to jump on this adventure. The more I know the IFVP, the more I know the field of the visual practitioning, the more I know my colleagues and some of them, becoming friends I am more aware and rooted on the idea that our contribution with the visualfacilitation, bringing the language to the field, is a strong and powerful way to work with teams, to develop projects and ideas, and to contribute to a meaningful  organizational development.

For that, now in the side of the IFVP board, I am trying to contribute to hold the visual practitioners community.