Last July, I did some graphic recording for a group of Educational Leadership MA students. It was a pretty big piece – I recall about 18 feet long. The students were just starting their blended program (on campus residencies blended with online course terms, then reunite on campus at the end, for convocation). Anyway, it was a great session (lots of energy and ideas, most accepted the spontaneous invitation grab a marker and join in). And, as I always do at the end, I packed up my gear and left the drawing with its rightful owners: the group.
Always, these pieces get photographed and the images shared in various ways. Usually, these pieces get hung in an office for a time, perhaps used in a debrief session among the facilitators. And always, they eventually get disposed of, having served their purpose.
Fast forward to week, I was talking to a colleague involved with this group who told me that the students had decided to:
- cut it into several pieces
- each take a piece home with them
- bring the pieces back and re-assemble it when they reunite for convocation
They cut it up?! How wonderful! Definitely a graphic recording first for me (and does make me think about how to do it intentionally in the future). I so wish I could have been there to see it happen!
What I love most is this group – clearly – knows it belongs to them. It’s their work. Not my drawing, or even really a drawing – it’s a recording. And they are using it for their purposes, well beyond the session, and well after the GR has left the building.
It can be easy for groups to respond to this stuff as if it were “art” (especially, I suppose, if they play the part of “audience” instead of “participant” in the drawing). It’s well-intentioned to appreciate what a graphic recorder creates on the wall, but, as in this case, it can be a missed opportunity to stop there.
So, I’m going to keep tabs on this story, and if they do end up re-assembling it in a year or so, I intend to be there to see it happen!