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A Brief History of the International Forum of Visual Practitioners

The International Forum of Visual Practitioners (IFVP) was the vision of Leslie Salmon-Zhu, a graphic recorder working in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1980s. Leslie recognized a need to create a forum where those working in visual fields could come together to share ideas, tools, techniques, and stories. She organized and funded the first meeting of what would become the IFVP at a small retreat center in the Marin Hills.

Together with Karen Stratvert, Susan Kelly, and Lynn Kearny, Leslie Salmon-Zhu organized several annual conferences held in the western United States. The intent of the conferences was not to go from one conference to another, but rather to develop our community of practice internationally. At one of the conferences, Jennifer Hammond Landau introduced the term “visual practitioners” to describe the diverse group of people working in visual fields. Later, Jennifer would also suggest that the organization adopt the name “The International Forum of Visual Practitioners.”

A few years later, at a conference held in Mt. Alvisio, California, IFVP member Greg Gollaher spearheaded the effort to establish the IFVP as a non-profit organization with the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS application fees were paid by several individuals, who would became the first board of directors for the IFVP. 

Over the years, our organization has grown into an international forum with hundreds of members. Our annual conferences offer educational, marketing, and networking opportunities for our members. Become a member and be a part of our exciting organization, as we work together to advance the field of visual practice.