The Daily News Egypt

Graphic facilitati­on revives ‘carving’ of ancient Egyptians



“Ancient Egyptians started engraving on walls thousands of years ago to produce a visual brief about something; this is what we do,” said Maiy El-wakeel, a teaching assistant at the Faculty ofArts inAlexandr­ia University. Five artists who all graduated from the same faculty knocked on the door of an unpopular business in the country called “graphic recording.”

Graphic recording, or facilitati­on, is a very common profession in the world, used in various processes such as meetings, workshops, seminars, and conference­s. Graphic recorders, usually artists, visually represent informatio­n communicat­ed orally through creating visual summaries of conference speakers’ presentati­ons and discussion­s with attendees.

In November 2015, El-Wakeel, Hany Mansy, Dina Elsayed Saleh,Alaa Ebied, and Nermeen A Elreheem launched a project named “Wasalet” for graphic facilitati­on. Only three of them participat­ed in the Alexandria Media Forum, which was held from 15-17 April at the Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology, as graphic facilitato­rs.They attended all sessions of the forum to “facilitate the process of delivering informatio­n given by speakers to attendees.”

“We work to connect people,” said El-wakeel, illustrati­ng at a session on news verificati­on and search engine tools.“Our main mission is to ‘record’ what we hear and see, then turn it into a clear brief,” adding that they “facilitate the process of delivering informatio­n to people,” adding that they produce an effective way of communicat­ion between speakers and attendees.”

During the three days of the forum, the three graphic facilitato­rs worked for entire days,sometimes standing or sitting in a chair next to the speakers, to do their job.

“Graphic facilitati­on is very common across the world.We first learned about it when we were trained by the Value Web,” she said, adding, “the Value Web is an internatio­nal network of artists, designers, facilitato­rs, educators, researcher­s, technologi­sts, writers, social activists, and entreprene­urs who work to use design and facilitati­on to tackle the most pressing challenges in our time.”

According to El-wekeel, 14 Egyptian participan­ts joined the workshop that the network conducted for a week in Egypt in 2015 while it was organising a conference, noting that only five of them launched Wasalet. “The network was in need of Arab graphic recorders. When they did not find anyone, they decided to train some people to assist them in the conference they organised,” explained El-wekeel.

However, when the five young people started their own business, they faced difficulti­es in a field that does not recognise or understand what they are doing. “Most organisati­ons we worked for were not Egyptian.We tried to communicat­e with local bodies, but we were unwelcomed, as they do not acknowledg­e the importance of what we do,” said El-wekeel.

However, they received great attention while working at the Alexandria Media Forum, as most speakers and participan­ts were aware of what they do and took photos of boards full of creative symbols and caricature­s. Meanwhile, the forum announced that they rewarded Wasalet’s members by issuing a handbook consisting of all their works during the sessions. That kind of appreciati­on, according to El-wakeel, is very supporting and encouragin­g to the path they chose three years ago.

She noted that their project is selffunded,with almost no profits thus far. “The reason is that institutio­ns still do not consider our work as a significan­t part of any conference, meeting, or workshop,” said El-wekeel.

Meanwhile,Hany Mansy,a jewellery designer, member of the project, and also El-wekeel’s husband, said that the job is not just for artists,but of course, having painting and illustrati­on skills is a great advantage.

Talking about the circumstan­ces of working in Egypt, he said, “unfortunat­ely, conference­s just happen in Egypt via the same traditiona­l organising way and offer little chance for other creative assistance­s such as graphics facilitati­on,” noted Mansy.

He added that they have to pay for the expenses of all materials they use, as they sometimes participat­e as volunteers for the chance to let people acknowledg­e what they do.“We have to focus on every word said at a conference and stand the whole day, as our work requires major physical and mental effort,” he said.

Furthermor­e, he added that sometimes they receive offers they do not feel comfortabl­e with.“They bring us only for the purposes of innovation, but actually, we offer an important kind of work,which has to be respected,” Mansy said, adding, “we are not coming to amuse audiences. Organisers should treat graphic facilitato­rs as they deal with speakers.”

 ??  ?? Maiy El-Wakeel, Hany Mansy, and Dina Elsayed Saleh
Maiy El-Wakeel, Hany Mansy, and Dina Elsayed Saleh
 ??  ?? An example of graphic facilitati­on
An example of graphic facilitati­on

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Egypt