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Visual communication workshop in South Africa

Successful workshop on maps and charts, held in Pretoria March 17-19 at the Department of Environment and Tourism

Workshop on vital graphics and visual communication, held in Pretoria March 17-19 2008 at the South African government Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism.

GRID-Arendal has a long relationship in supporting South Africa in environmental reporting and communication of environmental information. This has resulted in the ongoing series of South African state of the environment reports (SoE reports).

To take the communication one step further, information experts Hugo Ahlenius and Marianne Fernagut of GRID-Arendal held a workshop March 17-19 2008 for staff at the Department of Environment and Tourism involved in the national environmental reporting.

We have been very impressed by the contents and the graphics in the latest South African report, says trainer and graphics expert Hugo Ahlenius, but we think there is a potential to make this even clearer, for a wider audience.

The intention of this workshop is to lead up to a Vital Graphics South Africa publication, collecting the main messages from the latest environmental outlook and presenting them in a visual way. Part of the workshop focused on the contents of such a publication and how to target the messages in the graphics to be included. Good graphics are not only about technicalities and design, they also require insight in the matter, says trainer Marianne Fernagut of GRID-Arendal.

Participants in the Vital Graphics workshop - staff from South Africa Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and trainers Hugo Ahlenius and Marianne Fernagut from GRID-Arendal
Participants in the Vital Graphics workshop - staff from South Africa Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) and trainers Hugo Ahlenius and Marianne Fernagut from GRID-Arendal. Dr Rudi Pretorius, head of information management at DEAT, to the very right.

A full day of the workshop was focusing on the visual details of communication, deconstructing graphics and putting them together again, always focusing on the message and the transformation of data to knowledge. The participants discussed what is good and bad in graphics that they themselves brought out for the discussion.

Although most of the workshop stayed away from the technical details of the craft, as in software and tools, a small part of the last day covered some ideas on that and for workflow.

The workshop was highly appreciated by the participants, whom showed great interest in taking the communication of environmental information one level further.

Information materials from the workshop will be published online in April 2008. This text will be updated to encompass that.

For more information about this workshop, or for general questions on capacity building in environmental information, please contact Marianne Fernagut or Hugo Ahlenius.

Thursday 03 Apr 2008
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