At Housing 2023 we are joined by Julia Miranda, a graphic artist, who has helped us put together visual representations of trending issues in the sector relating to governance and ESG. We recently spoke to her about her process in creating these works.
What inspired you to do visual minutes?
I always connected with the concept of art for communicating ideas. I trained in graphic design and one day a friend suggested I give visual minutes a try, so I went along to a meeting and truly fell in love with it. It’s such a great way to learn so much, whilst doing what I love. And I get to incorporate my own humour and style, I am very lucky to have discovered this job!
What is the process of creating visual minutes like?
Most people talk using visual metaphors and imagery, so it is easy to draw inspiration literally from their words. For example, people may say “cross that bridge”, “a real lightbulb moment” or “break through the glass ceiling” and that can translate into images for me, which is a real gift for people like me.
It usually starts with a quick drawing of whatever is the core of what people are speaking about or, sometimes, whoever is speaking.
How do people impact your visual journey into the minutes?
It’s undeniable that there is subjectivity involved, so I have to be incredibly careful to keep that out of it and just reflect what it is the speaker is saying. The thing I find most interesting about my job is the wealth and diversity of opinion and experience that people have. It’s important for me that I record beyond not only what keynote speakers are saying but the responses to things at the stand or during coffee breaks. And for me, that’s where the magic is. However, I do have to be careful that I am not misinterpreting what people are saying. So, I like to do research ahead of time to come armed with information so I can understand the issues clearly but still be able to respond to things impulsively as things happen in conversations. It is so unique day-to-day what impacts people's conversations as well so every day is different!
How do visual minutes differ from written minutes?
Ultimately visual minutes are an artist’s interpretation! There is an element of entertainment as well because the visuals show you the development over the day whilst you are taking in a lot of information. Also, it is very helpful for visual learners to walk away with a summary of what are the key moments or issues. A lot of my clients choose to frame their visual minutes and use them to record the importance of a day.
We do this at Convene actually! We love to see a development of what has come through our various Housing Conferences and how issues are evolving. What do you find is usually the response that people have to you doing visual minutes at our Conferences?
The last conference I was at with Convene ESG was at Housing Finance in Liverpool, I had so many juicy conversations on the topic of ESG and governance with those who came up to the stand. People came at the topic from so many different angles; some of them expressed their fear and used very colourful language to express that they felt overwhelmed or that they felt intimidated by the size of the task in front of them. It was really interesting to be able to see Convene ESG step into that gap holding out a lifeline when it did feel like people were floundering, but it led to some really great conversation. My drawing style is very friendly and open, with humour and that helps people feel like they can stroll up to me and have a chat. It always allows people to come and have a water cooler moment around my drawings and build a community.
At Convene, we want to thank Julia Miranda for her inspiring drawings that she has made at all our Housing Conferences and look forward to the next opportunity we get to collaborate with her!