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Author: Sherrill Knezel

Sherrill Knezel: Graphic recordings of Milwaukee’s Blueprint for Peace Bootcamp

“The Milwaukee Blueprint for Peace is a community-driven agenda for addressing the complex factors that drive violence in our city. Rooted in a public health approach to violence prevention, this Blueprint was shaped by more than 1,500 individuals, elevating the voices of youth, community residents, and key stakeholders to call for strategic, aligned, and sustained investments and action to prevent violence, build resilience, and create a safer, healthier city.“ – Milwaukee Blueprint for Peace Website, 24 March 2021 When people feel safe, seen, and heard, that is when trust, healing, and social change begin to take root. This is...

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Milwaukee Hope: A hometown meme series designed to inspire optimism during the coronavirus crisis

The Milwaukee Hope project combines illustrated Knezelisms with location photography of landmarks around the city, to produce a series of creative memes for the local community. While Milwaukee has had reason to be PROUD and STRONG during other recent hardships, the coronavirus situation requires something more – HOPE. With all of Wisconsin under a “Safer at Home” order that began on March 25, and Milwaukee residents processing many different life issues at different speeds – as a result of COVID-19, Sherrill Knezel and Lee Matz knew that people would need to overcome their anxiety and find things to help...

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Sherrill Knezel: The synergy of small actions that bring people together for a greater good

Syn·er·gy /ˈsinərjē / noun. 1. the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects. When seemingly unrelated small actions, ideas, or people come together, the synergy of it both surprises and amazes me. One of those times happened recently. As an elementary educator and graphic recorder, I have been working on finding ways to support efforts in our community to bring people from diverse backgrounds together in conversation. I feel passionately about using the skills I have to foster learning and dialogue however...

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Sherrill Knezel: To step out of isolation and be in relationship begins with listening

I have been trying NOT to listen lately. Let me be more specific. I have been choosing not to listen to the negative news: the crisis at the border, daily examples of systemic racism, divisiveness in politics, and segregation in our community. It is difficult and heavy, and I am in self-protection mode. I also recognize and call out that it is white privilege that affords me this choice. This makes me uncomfortable and it is exactly this discomfort that tells me I need to examine the feeling more closely. How many times have I done this – choosing...

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Sherrill Knezel: How graphic recording visualizes complicated spoken concepts in real time

Lately when people ask me what I do, I say, “I am a public listener.” Technically, I am an art educator, artist, and graphic recorder. I teach elementary art, create “Knezelism” daily illustrations (featured weekly by the Milwaukee Independent), and listen deeply to draw out conversation. I came to the field of graphic recording through Mike Rohde’s book, The Sketchnote Handbook, and have been on a fascinating journey with it ever since. Graphic recording has been around for more than 20 years and is called by other names: scribing, graphic facilitation, visual note taking. It is the process of...

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Knezelisms: The Heart of Visual Conversations

Knezelism: an inspirational illustration by artist Sherrill Knezel that explores different aspects of self-identity and community building in Milwaukee. As a K-12 Art Educator working in the Wauwatosa School District since 1992, Sherrill Knezel felt influenced by the illustrated communications style of Mike Rohde’s The Sketchnote Handbook. It tells the story of sketchnotes, why and how we can use them to capture our thinking visually, remember key information more clearly, and share what we have captured with others. Using her self-taught Graphic Recorder skills, Knezel has led professional development for educators with Visual Literacy for her school district, and...

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