Visual facilitation is #visualstorytelling w. felts and paper

Many of you know, I love mind mapping.

If you say, can I talk to you?

…you know that I will first pull out felt pens and paper before saying- talk to me.

I usually work either one-on-one or with small groups, in order to facilitate deeper dialogue and connection, as well as help with personal and project planning.


It is the best way to engage right and left brain to create the big picture.

Mind maps integrate both right-brain and left-brain thinking by capturing your stream of consciousness in a structured way. – Jennifer Lee


I find myself lately visually facilitating much larger group discussions and workshops!  And I have to say, it feels like home!

For example:

• Community Engagement in Retirement Living

Large mind map created live during workshop facilitated by Beverley Pomeroy

The graphic recording/visually storytelling/mind map process engages participants in a friendly and whole-brain way and, most importantly, allows all voices in the room to be heard and visually recorded.

Whole-Brain thinking provides you with a strategic road map for creativity, problem-solving, innovation and transformation. These processes can be used to develop creativity and innovation capabilities within the individual and organization. – Linda Naiman


There is something absolutely profound and magical that happens when participants feel heard, visually!  The process creates an overview of the big ideas; themes and key phrases naturally form in real time.  Mind mapping facilitates dialogue and reflection.   The resulting map also serves as a guide for subsequent reporting and recommendations.


The process itself feels like a dance between the key facilitator, the graphic recorder/visual storyteller and the participants.


It is such an honor (and a blast) working with author and community engagement strategist, Beverley Pomeroy.

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And during our first workshop, we were joined by artist, Emily Cowan, who enriched the experience for participants by drawing a portrait of the group during the event:

Emily's drawing

Bev and Kat by Emily Cowan
Kat and Bev by Emily Cowan

What a delight for everyone involved to be captured by Emily!!!

• Think!Well

A little less than 2 weeks ago, I was asked to visually record youth voices during:  Think!Well– an evening to explore youth mental wellness, get connected with youth and community resources, and talk about the importance of taking care of our minds.

What a treat to spend 5 hours visually storytelling and developing a large mind map for the youth as a take away!  This map serves as a real-time art piece, celebrating the profound dialogue during the evening and all the hard work and leadership exhibited by the youth facilitators and support staff.  The art will hopefully now act as a springboard to further youth-run workshops around mental wellness.

Large mind map created live during Think!Well youth conference on mental wellness at Burnaby Neighborhood House




This visual storytelling is not new.  Nor unique.  It’s been going on for a long time by many practitioners.  But there is so much of it happening in the world of graphic recording, visual facilitation and visual storytelling right now.  I am LOVING being part of the current movement!!!

And I am also excited about the opportunities that are unfolding!  Cheers to the power of felts and paper!!!  Cheers to what lies ahead.


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5 Comments Add yours

  1. This is amazing Kat!

    1. Kat Thorsen says:

      Thank you! TONS OF LOVE TO YOU, NINA!

      1. MUCH LOVE TO YOU! Until we meet again, big hugs! Xoxoxoxo

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