Advice WANTED: Sketchnoting teams at conferences

I have been asked to put together a ‘strategy’ – let me call it an ‘action plan’ so that it sounds less formal (we’re in academia so that explains the want for formality which kind of clashes with the conversational tone of a blog post) – for a sketchnoting team at an upcoming conference and I was wondering what other folks are doing in this area. The conference is in the educational technology field, see

Please share info as a comment:

  • Are you a lone sketchnoter at conferences or part of a team?
  • If you are part of a team, what is the size of your team and how you manage roles, responsibilities, etc.
  • Do people pick sessions they are familiar with or interested in and sketchnote those or does it ‘just happen’ i.e. is there a plan of action and someone coordinating what is done where and by whom
  • Do you recommend that ‘official’ conference sketchnoters read speakers’ papers beforehand? Or at least the abstract and title to develop a template? i.e. how familiar do ‘official’ conference sketchnoters need to be with the content of a presentation
  • If you have a small team, how do you prioritize who or how much to sketchnote?
  • Any tips for team processes and mentoring new conference sketchnoters? (not that I claim to be an expert)
  • What do you think about the idea of a t-shirt for a sketchnoting team at a conference that one can also use as prizes at workshops on sketchnoting?

I would be interested to get some feedback on these points and please share links to your flickr albums, Twitter handles, etc. for added inspiration – I would love the opportunity to network with fellow sketchnoters:)

In addition to the questions, what are your favourite apps or drawing tools? Are there any collaborative sketchnoting apps out there? Google Draw? We had an activity in mind as part of a workshop. Does anyone have the main elements of their visual library as images in a gallery that you import into an app like Papyrus? I found this strategy useful for adding a CC license.

RE Open Licensing: I was also wondering if adding a CC and making sketchnotes ‘open’ is okay when what the person is saying at an academic conference might not be? What if they are presenting on a paper that is in the review process for a journal or published and has an embargo period, etc. How would a sketchnoter know and do you have any advice? Should a sketchnoter ask permission from a speaker first in the same way as taking a video clip or making a sound recording if you are planning to share it online?

My colleague Rondine @RondineCarstens and I (below) currently do workshops for university staff on sketchnoting for conferences and for teaching and learning as part of staff development workshops at CILT at UCT. Here are some of photos of us and some sketchnotes that form part of my sketchnoting journey (you’ll find more via Twitter) and we also use the hashtag #TLCdoodles on Twitter and Instagram for our own doodles and encourage our workshop folks to use it to share their sketchnotes with us. (FYI: Yes, those are hula-hoops in my office LOL!)



One thought on “Advice WANTED: Sketchnoting teams at conferences

  1. Hi Nicola, I’ve give this some thought and thinking back over many years of conference and seminar attendance, and reams of unread/illegible/unintelligible notes, and having moved to sketchnoting quite recently, my responses are as follows:

    – I’ve only ever sketchnoted (SN) as an individual – Although I’ve never been part of a team, I would think that being able to pick sessions based upon prior knowledge or interest would be important and influence the quality of what is produced – I would think it very beneficial to read speakers’ papers beforehand whenever possible, certainly the abstract would be a minimum, and wherever possible also have access to a copy of the presentation itself – that should facilitate framing of a template beforehand (noting also that presenters very often have last minute thoughts and make changes to the presentation – but they are usually not substantial – On how much to sketchnote, that would depend on what documents will be available post-conference, but it would be critical to cover the question and answer sessions in great detail, because those are live and possibly not captured elsewhere. – T-shirts are an absolutely wonderful idea – fostering a team spirit – bringing attention to sketchnoting by others new to the concept – and yes wonderful for workshops.

    I hope that this is of some use. Warm regards sylvia hammond MPhil (UCT), MHRP (SABPP), MSDP(ASDSA)

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