Celebrating our Learning Community

It looks like a book, but it feels like a learning community to me.

As our anthology Drawn Together Through Visual Practice is officially released into the field today, I feel called to celebrate the guides, creative partners, thinking partners, and joyful supporters who shaped my journey to this mAmplify_Support_Lead_Onoment. Thank you.

To the Contributors: Thank you for sharing the wisdom in your words and images. Though I haven’t met many of you in person (yet!), I’ve heard your voices in my head for over nine months. I’ve read and re-read every draft and polished work submitted, and I keep learning and discovering something new each time.

One day at the wall, I drew something rather unrecognizable. I heard Eva-Lotta Lamm ask me gently, “Ah, so it’s not what you intended to create. Improvise. Play! What else could this be?” And so it was. Shortly after reading the first draft of “Visual Improvisation: How improvising influences my sketchnoting”, I was already applying new learning – on the page and in practice. Thank you, Eva-Lotta.

There are more anecdotes like this and deeper stories to be told. I’ve made a list. And every time I think, “Ok, that’s it”, more influential people come to mind and the list keeps growing. In his chapter “Using Perspectives to Build a Practice”, Bryan Coffman invites us to look back and reflect on who and what has shaped our practice.

In the restless nights before today’s announcement, I awoke over and over with thoughts of gratitude and names to scribble down. What an enlightening and nourishing ride it is to acknowledge who and what has inspired my learning path to this moment. In the weeks and months to come, I intend to write about these influences and share them publicly to make the learning visible in our community. Thank you, Bryan.

To my fellow editors Sam Bradd, Kelvy Bird, and Brandy Agerbeck: Thank you for creating a beautiful container that drew us together and kept us together to create together. We’ve worked across and through tremendous diversity in perspectives and approaches while supporting each other in life, and learning across difference with love. Thank you for sharing your gifts and holding space to discover the wisdom within and between us in this collaborative project.

To our early community of readers: I’m listening to your words of congratulations pour in from around the world and hear your excitement to read the book. Yes! Enjoy this first volume of voices from the field. Whether we know ourselves to be visual practitioners – or have yet to discover this in ourselves – we can all make marks that allow us to see and think through new lenses and find the common ground needed to solve the puzzles of our time.

Drawn together, we help people speak up and listen, think critically, find themes, chart relationships, reach understanding, and take action. May this book ignite deep learning conversations and inspire you – and those you touch – to shape our collective journey from here.

Jennifer Shepherd