Systems scribing is a visual practice that combines scribing—visually representing ideas while people talk—with systems thinking. This is a new, tangible approach to representing dynamics, occurring in the moment and over time, between a scribe and a social body. This discipline develops a critical skill to facilitate a system’s ability to see and sense itself, as well as crystalize ideas into action.

This online lab will create a space to learn and practice systems scribing by exploring multiple directions of coming to understand systems: outside in—where cognition determines understanding, and inside out—where we function from a place of inherent interconnectedness.


Program Overview

Week 1: Containers
Containers are energetic holding spaces that foster trust, risk, and truth. In this session we will set the foundation for the lab by: getting to know one another, mapping the terrain of the 5 week learning arc, and establishing some key parameters for our time together.

Session 2: Systems Thinking
Here we dive into the basics of systems scribing and present models, methods, and  techniques for practicing this new methodology, including 2D modeling and visual vocabulary.

Session 3: Systems Being
We continue to explore systems scribing by introducing the mindset of systems being—a deeper knowing of interconnection that guides our responsibility to living species, restores dignity to the land, it’s peoples and cultures, and informs preservation of the planet.

Week 4: Systems Living
We will review drawing from within a place of systems being, adding elements of time, presencing, and generative scribing.

Week 5: Practice Case
This session will provide an opportunity for a longer conversation—and scribing session—on one topic (to be determined) that addresses a systemic issue we face in the world today.



Online: Each 75-minute Zoom session will include: framing and content that we encourage participants to scribe; break out groups for sharing; full group reflection; questions and answers.

Offline: Community space in Mighty Networks where participants can further share their insights from the live sessions, application in practice, images, questions, insights, and additional resources.


Dates and Times

The live sessions will take place every Wednesday in October at 8:00pm EDT, GMT-4, ie New York (Thursdays at 8:00am GMT+8, ie Beijing). We realize this makes it difficult for those in Africa and Europe to join, but hope this is a first prototype that will repeat in the future, adjusting for various time zones. 

Week 1: Wed 2 and Thurs 3
Week 2: Wed 9 and Thurs 10
Week 3: Wed 16 and Thurs 17
Week 4: Wed 23 and Thurs 24
Week 5: Wed 30 and Thurs 31


Who should participate?

This lab is open to all who are interested, with no previous experience in scribing or systems thinking required. Drawing will be our primary form of expression, and conversation the primary form of shared reflection. You do not have to be a skilled scribe or artist – but be prepared to use visual language as the main method of practice during the lab.


Delivery Team

Kelvy Bird has been working as a scribe in the fields of human and organizational development since 1995, with a focus on innovation, collective intelligence, and systems thinking. As part of the Presencing Institute since 2007, Kelvy has helped shape many of the global community offerings, most recently the edX course u.lab, for which she provides extensive visual material. In 2016, she co-edited the anthology: Drawn Together through Visual Practice, and in 2018 released Generative Scribing: A Social Art of the 21st Century. Kelvy received a BFA and BA from Cornell University, and currently lives in Somerville, MA USA. More


Jessica Riehl is charting new territory in “systems scribing”, helping to define and deliver studio sessions and labs. She is a designer and facilitator who uses collaborative-based design processes to gain insight and empower change. She employs visual and systems thinking, mindfulness, storytelling, ethnographic research, cameras, sharpies, and Post-it notes. As an entrepreneur, nature lover, photographer and former Naval Officer, Jessica brings a unique perspective that informs her design process and facilitation. She is located in Tigard, Oregon where she lives with her son, husband, and two cats. More


Dwayne Mallard is Chairperson of the Wajarri Yamatji Native Title and an experienced negotiator, with a demonstrated history of advising complex cross-sectoral collaboration. He has engaged in extensive volunteering, most recently with R U OK suicide prevention and the Repatriation Commemoration of Mungo Man, with the common thread of addressing social ills of the disenfranchised members of Australian society. As the founder and director of Arjaway, he manages social economic business development for collective impact. Dwayne studied at The University of Western Australia, and lives on Yamatji Country in Carnarvon, Western Australia.


Dr. Renu Burr is the Director of Burr Consulting and has been a faculty member of the University Western Australia’s Business School since 1992, with 30 years of consultancy expertise in leadership development, systems, organizational and personal transformation. Renu has worked in senior roles to improve business and leadership effectiveness in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors in Australia and overseas. She currently teaches the postgraduate Leadership for Social Impact course at UWA, and is actively involved in their Centre for Social Impact. Renu will provide container support and sense making for the Lab.


Michelle Sampaio started her journey with dialogue in 2015, and has been bringing meaningful conversations to the world ever since. One of her passions and focal points of research is capturing the intangibles of conversation into images through visual facilitation. She works as a Professor of Sustainability and Botany at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro State (UNIRIO). Michelle has hosted online environments since 2017, connecting people around the globe. She supports the lab’s online spaces from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. More




Required Technology

Participants of the live sessions will need to have access to the following technology:

  • A computer or tablet with Zoom installed – or – a phone to dial into the weekly calls
  • A computer, tablet, or phone to participate in the Mighty Networks community
  • A wireless connection or phone signal that can support video conferencing



In order to include a range of participation from around the world, we are experimenting with a model of a self-selected fee. Please register at the rate that feels most appropriate to your local economy, stage of professional development, and income. Whether you join the live sessions or not, all rates include: recordings of live sessions, access to the online community, and resource materials.

  • Rate One – Live Sessions $500 (Strong global currency, experienced practitioner, steady income…)
  • Rate Two – Live Sessions $300 (Emerging markets, those building their business, varied income…)
  • Rate Three – Recorded Sessions $200
  • Scholarship – Email your request
  • 10% discount for Visual Practice Workshop alumni


Refund Policy: The amount paid minus a $35 processing fee will be refunded for all cancellations received in writing before September 30, 2019. No refunds will be granted for cancellations received after that time, but registrations can be transferred to other participants at no additional cost. The Organizer is not liable for an event cancellation due to riots, epidemics, or disabling weather conditions.