Vincent Larkin

Lecturer on BA Illustration, Arts University of Bournemouth

Vincent Larkin

Vincent Larkin

The Pedagogy of Joseph Beuys: Parallels with Practices of Scribing or Graphic Recording


Famously, artist and educator Joseph Beuys stated ‘To be a teacher is my greatest work of art. The rest is the waste product, a demonstration’. This paper concerns itself with parallels between the work of Joseph Beuys and the increasingly prominent illustrative and performative practices of live scribing or graphic recording.

The idea of the graphic recorder or graphic facilitator originated within overlaps between management theory, architecture and the new-age counterculture of the 1970’s. Embodied as the live scribe, such practices now find themselves firmly placed within contemporary illustration. To this end, UK based graphic consultancy firm Scriberia define graphic facilitation as ‘the use of graphics to facilitate a conversation or process’. In Sciberia’s updated notion of ‘the scribe,’ what is promoted is the artist as individual with the power to ‘offer fresh perspectives and pick new pathways through problems’ ultimately ‘changing the way groups think’.

Beuys in his own way was also a graphic facilitator. Designated under his all-encompassing concept of ‘social sculpture’, his was a performative art; constructed with the ambitious aim of healing social ills and reuniting elements of the primitive and modern. With this in mind, this paper will consider the seemingly incongruous similarities between Beuys’ visualisations created under the guise of a shaman or pedagogue, towards contemporary practices of illustrated scribing. This contrast is especially stark when considering the adaptation of graphic recording by firms such as Ernst & Young and KPMG.

Nevertheless, on a base level within Beuys’ performative interactions with chalkboards and his belief in drawing as tool of dialogue, parallels can be drawn towards historical and contemporary notions of scribing, or graphic recording. Through these parallels this paper queries this new model of practice, questioning the expanded potential for the illustrator.


Vincent Larkin is a lecturer in research and practice for Illustration at the Arts University of Bournemouth. Vincent’s research focuses on less obvious frameworks for illustration, in consideration of possible new contextual domains born out of our increasingly networked and socialised image culture.

Previously Vincent’s practice has been concerned with the sometimes-uncomfortable overlaps between image and performance. To this end Vincent took part in residency programs with the Victoria and Albert Museum and in the Batroun Project in Lebanon. Through various music-based collaborations, Vincent has released LPs with labels such as Upset the Rhythm and Gringo Records as well as this he has performed at in locations such as the ICA in London and the BALTIC in Gateshead.