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footage by Steve Delahoyde, Delahoyde Projects

Welcome!

Loosetooth.com Lab is Brandy Agerbeck's signature workshop experience. An in-depth retreat into the world of visual thinking through the lens of graphic facilitation. In this challenging, yet safe environment, we immerse ourselves in mapping concepts and conversations live and large. You and 5 other "lab partners" will be led in three days of inquiry, exploration and growth of your visual practice.

Every Lab starts with the same exploratory exercise on our first morning together - then the agenda emerges from the needs of the people in the room.

Since 2012, Brandy has lent her 22 years of professional experience as a graphic facilitator and 40+ years of personal drawing experience to set up exciting, hands-on experiments, facilitate deep discussion, and to guide your work giving direct and constructive feedback

Immerse yourself in the tools and techniques, learning through three full days of hands-on action and reflection.

See your visuals with a critical eye that helps you strengthen the visual skills you contribute to the world. Discover and dissect our mental and visual choices and how they build the maps we make. 

Delve into synthesizing information to cultivate your critical thinking skills. Become a better faciltator, thinker, communicator and problem solver.

"In Brandy's Lab, I was thoroughly delighted by the range and usefulness of the learning activities, the generous pack of resources and materials Brandy provided and the match of feedback and suggestions to each participant's level. I would highly recommend this course to both complete beginners wanting to explore the idea of using visuals in their work/life and seasoned practitioners who bring their own experience and wish to expand their repertoire. Brandy shares her unique style and wealth of experience generously."

Michelle Walker, Creative Catalyst & Coach, michellewalker.com.au
North Lismore, Australia | Chicago Lab 2015

Who is welcome in The Lab?

Visual thinkers and graphic facilitators, anyone ready to experiment with and strengthen your visual practice:

New Visual Practitioners

You are new to the field and ready to dive in! Get a career catalyzer with Brandy's experience, guidance and constructive feedback. The Lab is a great space for starting strong and developing your own style

Experienced Visual Practitioners

Beyond beginner, but you are feeling isolated, in a rut, or like your work has plateaued. Join Brandy in The Lab to dive deep and reconnect to the power of your profession. We'll challenge your habits to shake things up and discover a new side of you

Visual Thinkers

You don't want to be a graphic facilitator when you grow up. You know visual thinking is pivotal to your work and you seek the time and space to strengthen your ability to listen, analyze, organize and synthesize. You'll return to your work upleveled to handle complexity with paper and pen. 

Visually Curious

You're not even sure why you're here! You're drawn to this kind of drawing or to Brandy as your guide. Perhaps you're at a crossroads and want to explore this path of visual practice. Welcome!

As of 2018, roughly 45% of our lab partners come specifically from the field of visual practice (graphic facilitators, graphic recorders, scribes), 65% come from adjacent fields or are looking to add visual practice to their repertoire or are at that visually curious crossroads. Brandy has hosted about 90 fine folks in The Lab from 19 countries so far. 

Our emergent agenda adapts to the people in the room. Brandy welcomes any level visual thinker with a willingness to work hard, experiment and have fun. While she definitely leads The Lab, the shared learning from each other is unparalleled.

What makes The Lab unique?

Watch this video to see The Lab's 3 differentiators: 1 Brandy as your guide  2 our laboratory approach and Brandy's strength to lead discussion and share constructive critique  3 our emergent agenda that adapts to your needs.

A couple notes on this 2012 video: 1 After the first Lab, I lowered the group size from 10 people to six to have more time for each person and to foster one discussion together. 2 Given that more lab partners aren't graphic facilitators, we rarely discuss the business side of graphic facilitation. We can, if all lab partners are interest in that topic.

What happens in The Lab?

Whatever we make happen. Brandy will bring her lifetime of drawing experience and 22 years of graphic facilitation experience to create the space and time for you to question, test, observe and learn from your work and the work of your colleagues.

You will have all the physical materials you need, though you're welcome to bring the tools you like, or something you've been wanting to test out. Content will be provided for us to map and we'll map our own conversations. Brandy will have some experiments at the ready, but our three days are wide open to the needs of you and your 5 colleagues.

We will definitely be mapping video and audio content in real-time and at a large scale. We will observe each others' maps of the same content as a crucial way to get into the nuance of graphic facilitation. Beyond those foundational exercises, our time is what we make of it.

You can try mapping blindfolded. You can try mapping with no words or only words. We can embark on a field trip to the Art Institute, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Millennium Park, all within easy walking distance of our Lab's location, the Summit Executive Centre.

The Lab is three days for the 7 of us to explore and deepen our visual practice. You will have my support and all the materials you need. Please bring your questions, your observations and perspectives and most importantly, an openness to experiment.

Ready to join me in The Lab?

I have 6 spots open in each Lab. The registration fee is $3000 USD.

All Chicago Labs include the three-day retreat, plus breakfasts, lunches, beverages and snacks. All materials are included along with this unique access to me. I don't offer one-on-one coaching, so this is the best opportunity to work together in a small group format. Plus you'll get your own kit of supplies to use and take home. 

Dependent on timing, a three part installment plan may be available. A $75 convenience fee will be applied. 

2019 Labs:

Note: After extensive teaching tours in Europe and Australia 2017-2018, Brandy is sticking close to home with all Chicago Lab this year. If you have a group eager for a Lab or a venue suggestion for 2020, please contact Brandy and let her know. 

❄️Winter Lab | Chicago ❄️

January 2-4, 2019
Timed before school & work resumes, with great travel rates & post-holiday sales galore. 

☀️Summer Lab | Chicago☀️

August 7-9, 2019
Aligned with the IFVP Conference (see IFVP.org) in New Jersey the week before.

🍁 Fall Lab | Chicago 🍁

October 16-18, 2019
Cancelling this Lab – I’m getting married! 💕 Am considering a November Lab instead. Click here if you want to attend.

ADDITIONAL DETAILS

Our Chicago Location

Our CHICAGO location, the Summit Executive Centre, is located at 205 North Michigan Avenue. I chose this space for its flat walls, great, healthy food, terrific staff and stellar location. For example, the Summit is:

🙂🙂🙂🙂 0.4 miles / 600 meters to the Clark/Lake train stop. At this stop is both the Blue Line to O'Hare airport and the Orange Line to Midway airport. This is also the closest stop for the Brown, Pink and Green lines.

🙂🙂 0.2 miles / 300 meters from the closest Red Line train stop on public transit.

🙂 0.1 miles / 200 meters to Millennium Park and the Chicago Cultural Center

🙂🙂🙂🙂 0.4 miles / 600 meters to the Art Institute of Chicago

🙂🙂🙂🙂🙂🙂🙂🙂🙂 0.9 miles / 1.4 kilometers to the Museum of Contemporary Art

🙂🙂🙂🙂🙂🙂🙂🙂 0.8 miles / kilometers to Hostelling International Chicago, a hostel with a capacity of 500 people and no age restrictions.

Our location is steps away from many hotels. Details will be shared upon registration. And I hope you'll add time to your trip to explore my most favorite city.

Ground Rules for The Lab

With an open, emergent agenda, we are guided by these ways of working:

  • We enter The Lab with an open mind, a sense of humor and a willingness to do the work and learn from each other.
  • Each of us has valid experiences and opinions we bring into The Lab. The visual practice veterans have on-the-ground experience and plenty of tips and tricks and know-how. New folks bring in the beginners mind, ask "why" and "what if" and challenge our assumptions. Those joining us from adjoining fields bring us the insights from their industries. We learn from each other at all levels.
  • You do not have to love everyone, but you do have to respect everyone. We all create our space together for these three days.
  • We are colleagues, not clients. This is a sales-free zone.
  • Critique and feedback is the fastest way to learn and grow. We will share our observations in ways that are constructive and make us all better practitioners.
  • You manage yourself and your energy. We will have three, intense days together. You pace yourself. We want you to participate fully, but you are welcome to sit back for an exercise. Go take a walk if you need a breather. Party all night if it's what keeps you going.
  • Speak up for yourself! The Lab works with an emergent agenda. We need to know what you want to try, what questions you have, so we can make the most out of our time for everyone.

Those are the only requirements for The Lab.

Who is NOT going to ❤️ The Lab

The Lab is a space for us to adapt to what the group needs and wants to do. Our agenda emerges from the group. We will learn by doing, more than learning from watching. If you like to dip your toe into the proverbial pool, you may not enjoy this dive into the deep end. If you like knowing what you'll be doing at 2:15 or knowing the exact agenda over three days, you are unlikely to feel comfortable with the openness of The Lab's schedule.

And yes, the Lab is a participatory process. Easily 80-90% of our lab partners self-identify as introverts. This work attracts introverts. If you are one, you are in brilliant company. This does tend to mean we get past chit chat quickly and into deeper discussion sooner.

If you have any questions about if The Lab is right for you, contact me.

English as a second language

The workshop is the conducted in English. About 30% of our past lab partners are non-Native English speakers.

I try my best to minimize my American idioms so everyone will understand. I adjust the content we map to work for our group (pacing and accents of speakers, content that's not so American- or English-language-culture centric). In workshops past, the native English speakers completely understand the challenge of mapping a conversation in a second language in a second language.

Bring headphones or earbuds along with your smart phone, in case you choose to listen to content in your native language. Since 2012, no one has opted for this, but it is a possibility.

Lastly, make sure you rest well before, during and after. The Lab is intense even without the layers of live translation. 

Drawing as a foreign language

There will be a variety of levels of drawing experience in The Lab. You don't have to draw well, you just need to be willing to draw.

In my experience, about a third of visual practitioners come from the visual arts. Two-thirds from the people arts. Often when people draw well, the drawing gets in the way and they need to unlearn habits and learn to focus on process, not product.

Those who come from the people side usually have stronger listening skills and awareness of group dynamics. So crucial in working with groups, processes and complex systems. The drawing parts are very learnable and get better with practice. 

As I say in The Graphic Facilitator's Guide, drawing is a balance of listening, thinking and drawing skills. We all bring our strengths, weaknesses, and past experiences and roles into this work.

Experience levels

There are a lot of introductory graphic facilitation classes, dipping your toes into the pool of visual practice.

Let's cannonball into the deep end.

I welcome you to join me in this immersion. The three days will adapt to your questions and your needs. I believe the right people will be in the room. The veterans can look at their work with fresh eyes from the beginners. The inexperienced can learn from the experienced. We will all learn from our shared experience and experimentation.

That said, consider that we will balance your needs with the needs of others. If you feel like you'll have a metric ton of questions, you may want to do an introductory course first. If you are fine with sitting with your some of your questions and observing, you are welcome to swim with us.

Contact me if you have questions.

This reminds me of a time when I was a thwarted learner. As a ten-year-old, I attended a Girl Scout Jamboree. I wanted to go to the class on making a monkey's fist necklace, but the teacher insisted it was ages 12 and up. My scout leader stood up for me, but the teacher refused. I was furious. I knew I could make a frickin' frackin' monkey's fist knot.

This story is to illustrate that if you share this defiant, monkey-fist willingness to challenge yourself, you are a good candidate for The Lab.

Accessibility

The Summit Executive Centre is accessible. We will be on the 10th floor of a skyscraper that has ramps and elevators. While we generally tend to work standing at walls, you are welcome to sit and draw at a table. If you have any questions about the space, please contact the Summit. If you have any questions about the workshop itself, please contact me.

Cancellations and Substitutions

Cancellations are accepted up until 30 days before the workshop, with a 60% refund. Cancellations within 30 days will be subject to the entire workshop fee.

Substitutions can be made at any time (i.e. someone can take your place if you are unable to attend).

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