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April 29-30, 2018

Being responsible for keeping the fire alive on a moving trail of an emerging community of visual practitioners in Europe was both a challenge and a motivation.

Inspiration began at our first stop, Dimad - La Central de Diseño - an association created by talented designers as a tool to build the culture of design as a way to contribute on the transformation and development of the society. They are based on one of Madrid´s landmarks - MATADERO - a melting pot of cultural initiatives and they were happy to host us at one of their signature halls -La Sala de Columnas- an open space that was going to become the perfect frame for us. Also, we shared time and space with a big exhibition, the 25th edition of the National Design Awards.

April 29th arrived, we were eager to talk, share, and engage with the generous spirit that was seeded throughout 2017. Based on the idea of “making the trip worthwhile" emerged the concept “OUTSIDERS PERSPECTIVE” to enhance the experience. Then I realized how lucky I am and how much talent surrounds me and that many of my friends speak English wonderfully. I was able to build an agenda of diverse and brilliant keynote speakers. Enormous thanks to all of them!

The morning started listening about the meaning of Europe and its current context thanks to the knowledge of Alessia Putin, lawyer, Professor of International Relations, Ph.D. in Law  Cum Laude and Master in Government, Public Policy and Leadership, that recently shared space with Obama on a conference about innovation and circular economy.

Then Guillermo Nagore, Brand and Communications Manager of Fundación Juan March, a cultural heritage institution that promotes the humanistic and scientific culture in Spain, shared with us his experience about using information graphics and design as a transformation tool in corporate environments.

After him, Mariano Martín and Marta Pascual, both designers and also members of Dimad, showcased their work as product designers and how they use drawings to capture the world and turn it into wonderful projects: exhibition design, furniture, carpets, bags and a myriad of amazing pieces. 

Because our profession is a game-changer discipline for learning, Inma Urteaga was invited to widen our perspective on the intersection and impact of visualizing on education. Inma is a teacher of English in Basque, a challenge itself, and due to personal reasons based in developing the capacities of her wonderful daughter Ursula, she has become an expert on the brain and form a scientific perspective how neurology impacts on learning. Her talk focused on the shifts in the way we see and how visual thinking can profoundly impact the classroom.

The agenda was tight and the Spring weather brought us unexpected rain so the next activity MARKET & MARKERS was a bit under stress but definitely amusing. Participants received an envelope with the picture -Madrid Productores- with a 5€bill on it. Madrid Productores is a monthly food market of local producers on a square inside the Matadero premises and the task was to go and buy the ingredients for the dinner using their drawing skills to explain what they wanted to buy to the probably non-English speaking food salespeople.

Closing the session, Esther Trujillo, an expert on vision definition for organizations and stakeholders dialogue, talked about important values and led an activity to impulse personal thoughts on building ethical challenges with a systemic approach.  Ilaria Fresa was in charge of the icebreakers and led a delicious session to introduce participants and help discover the others in a visual way.

The afternoon began with the lovely VISUAL COACH team, Jana Erbenová, Kateřina Koželská and Marcela Janíčková with Klára Keharová shared their experience on how to prepare and develop a project.

Then it was the time for the EVP core team to share the update of their work since the Paris meeting in November, Bea Broskova and Matt Buck represented the core team in Madrid . The connection with the Euviz team was very important, and it was so great to be able to have the presence of Christina Hemmingsen and Renatta Algalarrondo among us.

Since the goal of this gathering was to build a sense of community and create spaces for sharing and being, preparing dinner together was understood as an unbeatable opportunity. Thanks again to the network and my friend Alvaro Nieto who offered himself to be the Masterchef of the night, the ingredients bought at the market in the morning were taken to COCINANTE –a space with a kitchen and an incredible coal oven (josper) to cook together and create a feeling of belonging. This formula also brought a local flavor from the Basque Country, Miryam´s and myself homeland, where people get together in “sociedades” or “txokos” to be free to cook, drink, sing, debate or anything that groups do when they feel happy.

The 30th, Sunday, started with Mathias Weitbrecht and me honoring the presence of support of Neuland and its 50th anniversary and also the willingness of the IFVP to understand particular needs and the will to build a strong global community of practitioners backed on the history and milestones of the organization.

Miryam Artola led an amazing session about building purpose and looking into the future of a European visual practitioners network that puts everyone in sync. In the afternoon Claudia Steinau  offered an interesting presentation on how visuals facilitate the process of thinking and design of interfaces with a user experience approach. Suggested by Carlotta Cataldi and with the help of Sara Seravalle and Marco Serra the afternoon was enhanced with community thinking and people worked together in groups to identify what conversations should take place before we leave and possibly continue after.

To close the meeting we received our last keynote speaker, Hector Olarte engineer and an expert in visual storytelling from “Inside Comics, shared with us seven different ways to tell a story, picked from a hundred ways to tell a story that we were not able to fit on our schedule. Also, community wise Luis Gonzaga from Portugal joined as, talked about education and the International Sketchnote Camp in Lisbon.

Special mention and thank you to the team, Miryam Artola, Sara Seravalle, Ilaria Fresa and Marco Serra for stepping up and support and improve the experience.

Thank you,

To Miryam for creating the beautiful bags and badges.

To all the participants to make the effort to come to build it.

To all not present but involved and supporting.

To the CORE TEAM for taking the lead and making it grow.

To Renatta Algalarrondo and Christina Hemmingsen for their “big screen” presence.

To Verity Harrison for working so hard as a photographer to build a visual story of the event.

To the courageous scribers that capture the event knowledge, Matt, Mathias, Marco, Ola 

To the generous speakers Alesia Putin, Guillermo Nagore, Mariano Martín, Marta Pascual, Inma Urteaga, Esther Trujillo and Héctor Olarte.

To Alvaro Nieto for bringing its soul food to the community.

To David Pérez, my life partner who helped on the background to have everything in place.

To the Dimad team for opening the doors and making it super easy for us.

To MICE catering for being ready and nurture us every day.

To La Cantina, slippery to grab but great food and atmosphere.

To IFVP for being present and supportive.

To Neuland for being always there with the right answer and wonderful materials to make it real.


Please take a look at all the images for a complete the picture of the conference

And see you all in Hamburg!!!