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Hello! I'm Brandy Agerbeck and welcome to my laboratory.

[cue sound of liquids bubbling, thunder in the distance and a tesla coil crackling.]

Oh, wait, I'm not mad. I'm one of those good scientists. Ahem. Well then. Welcome to:

Loosetooth.com Lab is a three day retreat into the world of visual thinking and graphic facilitation. In this challenging, yet safe environment, we immerse ourselves in mapping concepts and conversations live and large. You and 5 other visuologists will be led in three days of inquiry, exploration and growth of your visual practice. Our Lab takes place in downtown Chicago in a vibrant spot near much of the magic of Chicago, including Millennium Park and the Chicago Cultural Center.

The Lab is a fantastic opportunity to learn through experience and experimentation. We make live maps together, make observations, share feedback and move onto the next experiment.

Immerse yourself in the tools and techniques, learning through three full days of 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.

What makes The Lab unique?
Watch this announcement video to see me describe what's unique about this three-day retreat:

Who is welcome in The Lab?
Visual thinkers and graphic facilitators, anyone ready to experiment with and strengthen your visual practice:

You are new to the graphic facilitation field and ready to dive in! Or you know you think visually and want to learn how the skills of graphic facilitation can help you think, problem solve and communicate better. You don't want to be a graphic facilitator when you grow up. You work in another field (education, facilitation, design, consulting, etc.) and know the power of integrating words and images. You seek a safe space to explore graphic facilitation's powers to bring them back into your work. You are a graphic facilitator with a few or umpteen years experience and you're looking for this rare opportunity to confer with colleagues in-depth. You're ready to power up to a new level. Or you're feeling a bit creaky and want a boost of new energy into your work.

Whoever enters The Lab are the right people to be there. We work with these ground rules:

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. 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.

I do recommend you read my book, The Graphic Facilitator's Guide: How to use your listening, thinking and drawing skills to make meaning. I think of it as my introductory course all in a $30 book. I'll be referencing it frequently during the Lab. After registering let me know if you would like me to send a print copy, a Kindle copy or give you a copy at The Lab to share with a friend.


What happens in The Lab?
Whatever we make happen. I bring my lifetime of drawing experience and 16 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. I 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 have a conversation around the business side of graphic facilitation. 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.

Images from the first Lab

Thank you to Lab #1 participants Aaron Johannes, Nicola Bailey, Kelly Kingman and Cathleen Bridgeman. Photography by Jennifer Girard

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


Ready to join me in The Lab?
I have 6 spots open in each Lab. All 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.
Look below for registration rates and details.

Ready to experiment and
strengthen your visual thinking skills?

Secure your spot for three days together to listen deeply, think critically,
draw swiftly and learn from each other in The Lab:


January 4-6, 2017

Summit Executive Centre
United States

$3000 USD
per person
Does not include accommodations.

Important dates for the Chicago Lab:

October 20, 2016 Registration opens, six spots open.
November 20, 2016 Early bird registration ends
December 20, 2016
Registration closes
January 4, 2017
The Winter Lab BEGINS!

April 24-26, 2017

Netherlands Lab
New World Campus
The Hague
The Netherlands

$3000 USD
per person
Does not include accommodations.

Waiting list: If there is demand, I will open a third Lab on my European trip this Spring. Please email me with "Euro Lab #3" in the subject line if you are interested. Let me know if you have a strong preference of The Hague mid-April (around Easter) or Rungsted, DK mid-May. I'll be making my decision early February. If I add a third Lab, I will invite waiting list members to register in order of email received.

Important dates for the
Netherlands Lab:

January 3, 2017 Registration opens, six spots open.
March 20, 2017
Registration closes
April 24, 2017
The Netherlands Lab BEGINS!

May 8-10, 2017

Denmark Lab

$3500 USD
per person
Includes three nights on-site accommodations, arriving May 7, departing May 10.

Important dates for the
Denmark Lab:

January 3, 2017 Registration opens, six spots open.
March 20, 2017
Registration closes
May 8, 2017
The Denmark Lab BEGINS!

June 26-28, 2017

Summit Executive Centre, Chicago,
United States

Currently, I am not scheduling any other Labs in Chicago in 2017.

The International Forum of Visual Practitioners conference will be held in Decatur, Georgia late-June. If you are interested in travelling to Chicago afterwards to attend The Lab, please join this Chicago Summer Lab mailing list. If there is demand, I will hold a Lab in June 26-28th, 2017. I will keep these mailing lists members updated on progress and if this Lab is added, they will get first access to registration.

Please sign up here to show your interest in and get updates specific to a Summer Lab in Chicago post-IFVP.
(A new tab will open with a sign-up form.) Signing up here will give you first access to the 6 spots in The Lab, if it is a go.


August 7-8, 2017

Not a Brandy Lab, but another great opportunity to learn —

My German colleagues from Bikablo Akademie are touring the United States this Summer. I'm proud to be hosting their Chicago workshop August 7-8, 2017. We will have 16 spots available and the registration fee will be $990 USD. I highly recommend this workshop. Bikablo's materials and training are top notch!

Registration for bikablo akademie in Chicago is now OPEN.
Click here to join us in Chicago.
Click here to learn about the entire US tour.


TBD, 2017

Melbourne, Australia

I want to host a Lab in Australia in the second half of 2017. My first choice is Melbourne, and I am in the early stages of planning.

Please sign up here to show your interest in and get updates specific to the Australia Lab.
(A new tab will open with a sign-up form.) Signing up here will give you first access to the 6 spots in the Lab.

If you have suggestions for a space to hold The Lab, please contact me.


January 3-5, 2018

Summit Executive Centre, Chicago,
United States

I know, I know. Chicago in January isn't the most desirable destination. I schedule these early January Labs for educators still on Winter break and self-employed folks who want work on their professional development while client work is slow. Also, Chicago is chock full of great museums and restaurants and the post-holiday sales will be underway.

If you want to kick off your 2018 with great learning, please sign up here to show your interest in and get updates specific to the January 2018 Chicago Lab.
(A new tab will open with a sign-up form.) Signing up here will give you first access to the 6 spots in The Lab, if it is a go.


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 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.

The Lab includes
Importantly, you share 24 hours (3 eight-hour days) with me in a group no larger than 7 people. I am ready to meet you where you are and work together to strengthen your skills and answer your unique questions. I don't offer one-on-one coaching or mentoring, so this is the best Brandy-access. Each person receives their own kit of supplies to take home.

You also get breakfast, lunch and snacks from the delicious menu at the Summit Executive Centre and Rungstedgaard. The Summer Lab in Denmark also includes 3 nights accomodation Tuesday night through Friday.


English as a second language
The conference is the conducted in English. I try my best to minimize my American idioms so everyone will understand. In workshops past, the native English speakers completely understand the challenge of mapping a conversation in a second language in a second language. And I welcome you to bring a MP3 player with a podcasts or interviews in your native language. There will be opportunities to wear earbuds and listen your audio and map what you bring. We get to observe the shape of your drawing separate from understanding the content.

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, 20% of graphic facilitators come from the visual arts, 80% come from the people arts. Often when people draw well, the drawing gets in the way and they need to learn a type of drawing that suits this type of work. And as I say in my book, drawing is a balance of listening, thinking and drawing skills. We all bring our strengths and weaknesses.

Experience levels
There are a lot of options for getting your feet wet in the pool of graphic facilitation—I want to 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.

The Summit Executive Centre is accessible. We will be on the 10th floor of a skyscraper that have 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 retreat itself, please contact me.

Cancellations and substitutions
During the registration period, cancellations will be refunded minus a $1200 charge. After the registration closing date, cancellations are 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).

Hey, Brandy, Why "The Lab"?
While I am undoubtably an artist, I have always loved science, especially biology. I love the scientific method the kind of hands-on learning we get to do in laboratories. When I try something new, I like to joke that it's all just part of The Great Experiment.

This is an environment for us to all feel free to experiment with our visual thinking and graphic facilitation work. It is different from our client projects, our community conferences or other workshops.

I hope you'll join me!
Register Now

Interested in the next Lab dates? Click here here to sign up for the special Lab list. (A pop-up window will appear with sign-up form.)

After a childhood of nonstop drawing, Brandy Agerbeck earned a BA in Art from Grinnell College. Fortunate to find a way to serve people with her drawing and thinking skills, she began working as a graphic facilitator in 1996. From 2000 to 2010, Brandy volunteered within her professional community, the International Forum of Visual Practitioners, as a conference organizer, speaker and board member. She develops visual, spatial and kinesthetic tools and training. The author of The Graphic Facilitator's Guide and co-creator of the book Permission, her work has been published internationally and can be seen at Loosetooth.com.

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