Published in The Langara Voice
B.C. businesses, service providers and community organizations are increasingly turning to graphic recordings to tackle heavy topics, saying they are more effective when it comes to sharing difficult experiences and educating the public.
A graphic recording is a large-scale drawing created by an artist who documents a discussion as it happens. This new technique is an alternative to minute taking, report-writing and audio-video recording.
Amal Ghazal, the director of SFU’s Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies (CCMS), recently asked artist Tiaré Jung to create a graphic recording of their Being Black & Muslim event where attendees discussed discrimination based on race and religion.
“Recording in this way did not impose in the way that video would,” Ghazal said.
Ghazal said the recording captured the most important elements of the discussion, and she has been sharing it online to educate the public.
Some of Jung’s other clients include Indigenous organizations, women’s groups and community service providers. In some cases, she is asked to record an entire discussion or the top three ideas. Clients have said graphic recording has distinct benefits when approaching difficult subjects, such as colonization, poverty and sexual exploitation.
Jung said the visual and interactive nature of a graphic recording makes it easier for participants, particularly marginalized people, to confidentially share their stories.
“But it still animates the experience in a way that fully captures the emotion and life,” Jung said.
“Visualization really helps people see and hear themselves and also see and hear each other.”
Graphic recording workshops
Sam Bradd, the founder of Drawing Change which hosts workshops on graphic recordings, said that unlike a lengthy written report, an image is a compelling way to engage and educate people about pressing social issues.
“It’s that hook to get them involved,” Bradd said.
“Where we’re at in society right now is that we have infinite information but what we need are tools to help us make sense of it.”