The use of drawing as a participative practice can be considered a tool, or even better an instrument of work, which allows a personal or collective idea to be identified with clarity and efficacy, focusing on its main concepts. This methodology is used in several areas of contemporary studies, including the social sciences: visual participative methodologies, textual approaches in visual studies, etc. This participative tool has long been used by psychologists to measure cognitive development and as a projective technique that allows issues and experiences of the conscious and subconscious self to be explored. The use of drawing as an instrument of elaboration and transmission of human thought is as old as human beings (prehistoric graffiti and cave paintings).
Drawing as a participative instrument can be used in processes of participative training and project design, or in all those instances where communication might be complicated and conflicting, and the exchange between participants must be facilitated, alongside the identification of shared ideas or differences. It is therefore a methodology which is functional to team building and the elaboration of shared ideas and common sense in a group of people. It allows the synergy between participants and the group spirit to be strengthened, as well as describing and comparing different visions on specific issues through images.
This is possible thanks to the specific and unique characteristics of drawing and images:
- The figurative language as visual memory: drawings are more immediate and easy to memorize than a written text;
- Images are a universal language: they don’t need interpretations to be understood. They are a strong instrument of representation and can also be used to symbolize abstract thoughts. For this reason, they are particularly suitable when working with difficult categories such as children, foreigners, and people with learning difficulties, or groups of people who do not know each other;
- Drawings have the capacity to activate a deep, playful, immediate communication level, and to refer easily to an idea, a concept and/or information, putting into action what is usually referred to as “visual memory”.
How to implement it
During the Clim’Act Camp training week this method was used to draw “climate justice” in a minute, and, when the time had expired, participants had to look for similar drawings among the other ones. Once they had identified the similar drawings, subgroups were created to understand the reasons behind the choices made, to delve into the different visions and subsequently share a moment of analysis between all subgroups.
Session “Building an international climate justice campaigns’ strategy”
Thor Markussen – Friends of the Earth Europe
Climate Justice – Download