Event Illustration with the European Creative Hubs Network

Event Illustration

Event illustration is what we call the act of capturing an event, the information shared, and even those serendipitous encounters that really stick in participants’ memories. 

An offshoot of graphic recording, the difference is that we create a document with a lot more depth and careful consideration. Whatever drawings we make during the conference go through a process of co-creation with our clients, with the outcome being a book, series of illustrations, or other forms of content aimed at keeping the conversation alive. Something we at Cooked Illustrations can also measure, providing real engagement and behavioural data to our clients.

What was Campus?

The European Creative Hubs Network was a European Commission project that sought to understand aspects of the creative economy across Europe.

Over the past ten years, there’s been a global growth in the development of communities of creative people convening in spaces to invent, collaborate, make, create and support one another. These communities have become essential parts of the economy, and in mapping them one can reach an understanding of the cultural and creative sectors in the early-21st century. 

As such the European Union programme’s main focus was to convene various forums, conferences, networking events and symposia to create a dialogue between leading creative hubs, organizations, new spaces, universities, and various levels of government. Campus was the finalization of this two-year project. In January 2018, a grand three-day gathering took place in Brussels. The conference was hosted by La Vallée, a space managed by the artists’ cooperative Smart in Molenbeek. The mission? To discuss the findings of the two-year project, cement existing partnerships, and develop new networks.

A finished double-page spread.

The wasted potential of conferences

These types of gatherings have great power. They allow for the establishment of long-term friendships, the ideation of future projects and collaborations, and the sharing of enlightening expert knowledge. But all too often they can be very hermetic, and like ripples in a pond, their effects can soon fade away if they are not properly replicated, documented, archived and, most importantly, broadly shared.

Cooked Illustrations set out to create a longer-lasting record of the conference. This self-initiated reportage project was created not just as a way to make notes that our team would personally want to read time and time again, but as a point of reference for the delegates to go back to and use from time to time.

We sought to capture the real conference experience. Surprising questions asked to the panellists, jokes about the food, metaphors thought of as one walked to the conference venue, live discussions, conversations happening over wine and cheese and many more examples of networks forming took place. 

There’s a wealth of knowledge to be had when experts share their thoughts, of course, but often the real nuggets of gold in events like these are the ideas that happen over a drink and a laugh. 

All of this is qualitative information of immense value, not just as data, but as means to recreate and capture the true learning outcomes and the feeling of being at the conference.

Making of the Notes

Each of these moments was expertly captured by hand in a sketchbook. This step of the process is all about capturing, documenting, and allowing for our reporter, Ian, to come up with ideas that can only happen when a disruptive thinker is there to witness the event. It is impossible not to be inspired by these events, after all!

All content created in-situ, was later edited and digitized. Cooked Illustrations didn’t have a client brief to meet, which gave us quite a bit of freedom in deciding the final look of the project.

The natural way in which Ian’s sketches flowed on the page defined the layout and look of the overall project, both in print and screen.

We used CAMPUS’s existing branding and colours to make sure that the result evoked in our audience an immediate memory of the event. Thus, they connected once more to the event, ideas they may have had but never voiced, and the information they would now recall once looking at our final product.

Once finished, the illustrated digital book was shared with the event organisers, approved, and shared online. A physical copy was produced for promotional purposes, where we realised that our focus on digital created a difficult creation to print. But once we had the physical book in our hands, it was so different that it stood out in people’s memories as “The Campus Booklet”. You can view the full BOOK in the link below.