Generally, as a graphic recorder and certainly where there is any facilitation element to the job, I would prefer to work at a wall. There are a number of distinct reasons for this: 
Delegates / participants / audience members can see what I’m writing and drawing in real time. 
There’s more of a sense of it being a live process. 
I feel more connected to the audience. The smaller the group, the more important this is. 
The process can be more interactive - people comment, question and add content as I work 
It’s more comfortable for me - standing up straight - and the graphics often come out looking better. 
 
Having said that, however, it’s not always possible. I have worked in many beautiful locations around the country in buildings that just don’t offer the ideal wall space for graphic facilitation. From opulent Victorian halls with intricate wood panelling to repurposed industrial spaces with exposed rough brick walls to modern sports halls with doors and windows on all sides with no usable space in between - all challenges to the graphic facilitator searching for a space to work! 
 
With a bit of creative thinking, there is always a way round this problem. 
 
Cut the paper to fit the space 
I have worked in attic rooms where I have had to cut the paper to fit into the eaves; I’ve worked in halls where I have cut sections of paper to fit into wood panelling; I’ve worked around radiators, windows, doors, unmovable pictures, you name it, I’ve working around it. 
 
Find something movable to stick the paper on 
Conference venues will often have movable display boards that you can use to stick paper on. The challenge here is if they are not sturdy enough to work at. I have occasionally worked on upturned trestle tables but it can be awkward and uncomfortable if you have to work down to floor level. See below photo of the Festival of Migration (June 2023) where I worked on upturned tables placed on a stage area. There are now large portable display boards on the market (essentially oversized flipchart stands) but I have yet to find one that makes me want to part with a sizeable amount of cash as they all seem quite flimsy and not adequately large. 
 
Build something bespoke 
I have been amazed by the ingenuity of some clients who have constructed ‘walls’ for me to work at. Nourish Scotland commissioned their go-to Mr Fix-It (AKA Kev the props guy) to build a fully-collapsible and transportable wall, 1 m wide by 4 m long, suspended at the perfect height for me to work on. It is entirely flat and sturdy (no wobble at all) and the paper sticks perfectly to it with masking tape. I’m sure Kev could have a side hustle making these for graphic facilitators. See below photographs of Fish+ in a Good Food Nation (January 2024) and Good Food Nation conference (February 2024). 
 
Find an alternative to paper 
If you work on something more robust than paper, the graphics can be propped up rather than stuck up. I have been experimenting with different kinds of board and am enjoying working on flexiboards of varying sizes. I find A0 is a good size - big enough to give the sense of a large graphic recording but small enough to be manageable on a table top or on the floor. These boards can be displayed easily - propped up on a ledge or chair or against the wall or stuck up temporarily using contact strips. 
 
For my work with North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust, my client commissioned a hospital technician to construct a large A0 size easel, which was brilliant - robust, just the right height and all importantly, no wobble. See photos below of Celebrating Excellence event, which included the separate board about the Forgiveness Project (October 2023). 
 
It’s vital to have the logistical conversation early on with the client so that I can work out where I will be working, how we can make the graphic integral to the event and as effective as possible and navigate our way round any practical issues with the layout of those walls… 
See below for an audio version of the poem 
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