Visual Practice Workshop: New York

Am happy, in these challenging times, to announce that registration for another visual practice workshop is officially OPEN. To sign up immediately, CLICK HERE. To learn more, keep reading.

It’s my strong belief that visuals serve as key facilitative aids for collective seeing and navigation. And as visual practitioners, we face a particular need and opportunity to expand the awareness, mindsets, and choices that feed our outward expression.

This latest program will push the boundaries of our current delivery model. Over three days – in a dedicated residence/retreat environment – we will combine theory, exercises, reflection, and peer learning to explore the following:

  • A model of practice that grounds inner cultivation
  • Ways to locate and relax into our most authentic selves
  • Levels of listening, systems thinking, discernment, and generative scribing
  • What it means to draw from, and for, an emerging future reality
  • Mapping next steps for projects and/or professional development

The immersive program is designed for intermediate and advanced visual practitioners who wish to strengthen and deepen their existing knowledge, towards developing mastery in the profession and field. While non-scribes facilitators are welcome, drawing will be the primary form of practice; be prepared to use this expression as the main means of application over the course of the program.

We’ll start getting to know each other over dinner on Tuesday, May 16th, and work at a sometimes intense and sometimes relaxed pace through Friday the 19th. The venue is well-known to me: Edith Macy Conference Center in Briarcliff, NY – a stone’s throw away from where I grew up in Croton-on-Hudson. It’s a particular joy to bring this activity back to the place that held my youthful, wooded wandering.

I won’t go into more details (you can find them here) – will just add some pics from the latest workshop in Bologna. Please email me with any questions. And please share this post freely with anyone who might be interested.

Visual Practice Workshop: Bologna

Having experienced a fruitful workshop in Taipei November 2106 (above photos), we are happy to announce an upcoming workshop in Bologna, Italy 15-17 February 2017. Costs: Individuals €1,800 – Students €600 – Scholarship on request.

This workshop is designed for intermediate and advanced visual practitioners and facilitators who wish to strengthen and deepen their existing knowledge, towards developing mastery in their profession and field.

DOWNLOAD FLYER: EnglishChinese
REGISTER HERE or contact Alfredo Carlo:


In times of widespread transition, visuals serve as key facilitative aids for collective seeing and navigation. Live scribing–giving form to the content of a social body, in the moment and across boundaries–is a method especially suited to address today’s great challenges. As visual practitioners seeking to meet and influence these current realities, we face a particular need and opportunity to expand our awareness, mindsets, and choices that feed into our outward expression.


Over the three days we will combine theory, exercises, reflection, and peer learning to explore the following topics:

  • Highlights of work from around the world to surface trends and leading examples
  • The call of our times for visuals as a primary means of communication
  • A Model of Practice that grounds inner cultivation
  • Extensive work in areas of Presencing, levels of listening, systems thinking, discernment, and generative scribing
  • Dialogue on what it means to draw from and for an emerging future reality
  • Review of experience with large scale change initiatives


Drawing will be the primary form of practice. It is not required that participants be skilled scribes – but be prepared to use this expression as the main means of application over the course of the workshop.


The workshop will be led by internationally recognized practitioners:

Kelvy Bird has been working as a scribe in the fields of human and organizational development since 1995, with a focus on leadership, collective intelligence, and systems thinking. As part of the Presencing Institute’s core team since 2007, Kelvy has helped shape many of the global community offerings, most recently the edX course: U.Lab: Leading from the Emerging Future, for which she provides extensive visual material. In 2016, Kelvy co-edited the anthology: Drawn Together through Visual Practice, and is currently completing her manuscript: On Scribing. At heart, Kelvy is an abstract painter, having received a BFA and BA from Cornell University.

Alfredo Carlo, born in 1975 in Brussels, is a designer of collaborative processes and a graphic facilitator. He’s the founding partner of Housatonic Design Network and since 2011 partner of Matter Group. Together these organizations deliver graphic facilitation and collaborative sessions to facilitate complexity in organisations and in communication. Alfredo is a member of The Value Web, a not-for-profit organization made of an international facilitators and designers network, which helps big and medium organizations all over the world in their processes of research for systemic and complex problems solutions.

Jayce Pei Yu Lee is big at heart, small in size, and organic in spirit. Born in 1972 in Taipei, Taiwan, she studied Typographic Design and Fine Arts while lived in New Zealand for 8 years. She has diverse professional experience ranging from graphic design, visual merchandising, retail marketing, and sales. She devotes her time to creative work and bilingual graphic facilitation (Mandarin/ English) with the MGTaylor Methodology and, since 2010, in collaboration with The Value Web at the Summer Davos in China. She is a member of The Value Web, a fellow traveller of Theory U, and a visual collaborator with the u.lab MOOC since 2015.


Dates: Wednesday 15th February (starts 09.00) to Friday 17th February (ends 16.00)

Venue: Housatonic Studio, Via Battindarno 159/2, Bologna, Italy

Costs: Individuals €1,800 – Students €600 – Scholarship on request.

Fees include lunches & coffee breaks every day, as well as course materials and basic supplies. Accommodation and dinners are not included. Recommended hotel options will be sent with registration info.

REGISTRATION: CLICK HERE or contact Alfredo Carlo:

To receive notices about the upcoming North America workshop 17-19 May 2017, please sign up for our general mailing list here.


Images by Tsunami Lin from the Taipei Workshop, November 2016

u.lab 2016

Here are higher resolution images from the 4 live sessions of u.lab 2016:

u-lab_wall_20160915 u-lab_wall_20161006 u-lab_wall_20161027 u-lab_wall_20161215

For reuse of these images, please contact me via email: bird(at) Thanks!



Almost every scribe I’ve talked with shares some apprehension when facing a blank wall at the onset of a session. Many of us are introverts by nature, and need to summon courage to even be at the front of a room, audience at back.

As we try to follow cadence of voice and quickly make sense of streaming words, accents, acronyms, metaphors–and just as quickly choose what to draw–confidence goes down, and questioning of self goes up: “Am I worthy? Why do they want me here anyway? What on Earth am I drawing? Will anyone notice if I crawl up and hide behind this easel?!

The line “I can’t….” creeps in easily and perennially. And unless we learn how to notice this running tape in our heads and abruptly turn it off in favor of another line, it’s really, really easy to get psyched out and freeze. It’s a slippery downhill slope.

I’ve also heard countless people say, “What you do seems so cool, but I can’t draw…” To which I almost always respond “Oh–you would be surprised how little it takes…”

Recently, to strengthen my (physical) core, I’ve enlisted the help a personal trainer, Carl. When he asks me to try a new exercise, of which I can barely do one repetition, I often find myself moaning “Oh, man, you have GOT to be kidding! I can’t…!” He stops me in my tracks: “Once you decide you can’t, you’ve pretty much guaranteed you won’t.”

“I can’t” is a belief.

It festers in (some of our) psyches, ripe to bolt out and take the stage at the slightest challenge. It’s belief that I am, for example: not strong enough to lift a particular weight, not capable of staying fit over time to even be at the gym. Sometimes it’s not about what I can or can’t do, but is about who I am. The line in this case would be “I am, by nature, lazy.”

And here is where judgement comes in, residue from past experience that leads to the formation of belief. Something happened, we felt embarrassed, rejected even. Shame might have set in, reinforcing future choices and outlook.

As a young girl, I played municipal softball with great enthusiasm. Then at some point, I tried out for a local basketball squad, and–after falling flat on my face when attempting a layup–was the only girl who did not make the team. My enthusiasm for sport quickly dwindled. And now, some 35 years later, I have Carl’s voice helping to turn around an old, hardened belief that I am inherently unskilled at physical activity.

Maybe “I can’t” is a kind of stop sign, a temporary pause until we turn the light in our mind green. We face a choice point: collapse into old attitudes, or face this moment fresh, opting new possibility?

Maybe every “can’t” is really a gift in disguise, a twisted offering to reframe within the present to a mindset of “if”?