We Are Boundary Catalysts

paper theater as tool for creative visualization
Visual Facilitation Theater

I think Sarah Honeychurch was remarking that “catalyst” was one of her favorite words. Mine, too.  Then I ran across this blog post by Chris Glynn and knew I had hit a very rich vein that I could share with her.  Here is the quote that thrilled me and I hope you like it, too, because I think it represents one of the those disciplinary crossover moves.  What I mean is I am going to steal this idea to motivate myself and maybe you can as well.

Illustrators are like actors, teachers and politicians: we are boundary catalysts, able to engage with emotionally charged, strategic, learning situations. Illustrators have always been interpreters and translators. However, in addition to illuminating a text or idea from within, or commenting from the side-lines, or speaking for others from a brief, we can take the main stage and occupy an expanded role by hosting, influencing and directing the conversation, and animating the exchange of energy and ideas.

Job description anyone? Teacher as Illustrator? I like it.

Note: this post has Hypothes.is annotation extras in the side margin. Feel free to add your own annotations. You don’t even need to ask permisson, just have at it, hoss.


  1. // Reply

    I’ve been thinking for a while that the images we choose to illustrate our writings are far more powerful than I’d realised. They are more than just pretty pictures, they direct our readers’ thoughts in ways we probably didn’t intend.

  2. // Reply

    What has excited me about the #clmooc since 2013 is how it models all sorts of ways that young people (and adults) could be using their own talent to create a better understanding of problems we face, and solutions that are possible. Learning to create is one set of skills. Learning to share in on-line spaces, on an on-going basis, is a different, but equally important skill. Learning to interact, praise, comment, hack, re-mix, are all parts of the process.

    However, the catalyst is the one that has the ability to spark on-going interaction by creating new visualizations, videos, blog articles, etc.

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