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John Ward, familiar to longtime Infoblog readers from previous postings about his work, wants to leave us with a vision. And if you’re in San Jose this weekend for Infopeople “Master Speaker” series events at the California Library Association 2008 Conference and Exhibition, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to share and help construct that vision.
Ward, as a graphic facilitator, visualizes meetings and other events—but not in a text-based way: “I won’t be interacting with the speaker or the audience. I’ll be listening hard, and whenever I hear anything important come down, I’ll find a few words and an image and get it up on the wall…It’s not a recording process, it’s a capturing process,” he explained.
What Ward and other graphic facilitators capture in real time are simple, memorable images and a few key words. Combining these simple elements, they produce a finished mural on paper. Digital copies are made accessible to participants and serve to create a visual reminder of events which otherwise might quickly fade from memory.
The process will be on display to conference attendees throughout the weekend. Ward himself will provide a brief explanation of how the process works in a session which begins on Saturday, November 15, 2008 at 10:30 a.m. in the San Jose Conference Center, Ballroom A, and will invite attendees to join him in graphically recording what they are experiencing. The mural-in-progress will remain on display for more contributions, and additional murals will be created by Ward as he captures presentations by Daniel Pink Saturday afternoon and William Crossman Sunday afternoon.
What attendees will be left with is a cohesive exercise in creatively combining words and imagery as they interact with Ward and two master speakers whose presentations themselves are meant to inspire us all to think beyond the constraints which we usually create for ourselves. And for those of us who are involved in training-teaching-learning—as most of us working in or around libraries these days are—what could be better?

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