Government groups

Government projects, people and priorities

Remote graphic recording_DrSuePillans

FAIR Data at CSIRO (Coasts & Oceans Research)

I was invited to graphically record a hybrid workshop hosted by CSIRO’s Coasts and Oceans Research held across three different States, time zones and office sites! This workshop focused on drawing out staff thoughts and discussions regarding FAIR data (FAIR – Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable). This jam-packed day included speed talks, strategic discussions and shared learnings across the organisation to work out a way that together they can make their imagery data FAIR.

The final visual story was used by the CSIRO team to share discussions amongst teams and across Business Units and was also used as a visual abstract for a National Data Conference.

And the team provided me with such great and positive feedback on my graphic recording saying, “This is fantastic. It captures the workshop perfectly“.

CSIRO graphic recording_DrSuePillans

I was also engaged by CSIRO to draw out further visual stories based on the FAIR workshop to be included within a strategic Blue Paper which was based on staff input. Due to the internal nature of these discussions I’m unable to share all the visual stories from this work, but I had a lot of fun creating the below infographic using a marine science alphabet! You can ‘sea’ more of these hand drawn visual stories over at my Infographics & Illustrations.

National Workshop on Sawfish Bycatch Mitigation (CSIRO & NESP)

It was a great experience working with the team at CSIRO to draw attention to the endangered sawfish at their National Workshop on Sawfish Bycatch Mitigation, which was attended virtually by over 40 organisations across Australia. The discussions over the two-day workshop were interesting, important and inspiring as so many of the organisations were ‘on the same page’ regarding improving the reporting of sawfish bycatch across Australia and the willingness to work together to achieve this.

I created a number of artworks to illustrate these important discussions, from drawing out the key agenda items, graphically recording the two-day workshop to capture the key messages from the two-day workshop AND I’m currently working on creating a more detailed visual story of the workshop to be included in the final report to the National Environmental Science Program (NESP).

Sawfish bycatch mitigation workshop_DrSuePillans

Sawfish bycatch Mitigation Workshop_CSIRO_DrSuePillans2022

And it’s not everyday I get to draw out the research of my hubby Dr Rich, who led this workshop with his CSIRO colleagues. What a great experience and it goes to show that art and science do belong together!

Sue & Richard Pillans_Sawfish workshop_DrSuePillans

Preservice Teacher Roundtable, Teach Queensland

It was great being invited back to “draw out” the “Preservice Teacher Roundtable” for Teach Queensland, which is part of the Queensland Department of Education. The focus of the Roundtable was to address current and future workforce challenges and plan for the future of the teaching workforce in Queensland.

The preservice teachers who attended were so honest, open and willing to share their stories about their teaching journey to date. And I actually had goose bumps when listening to these stories and the passion that these preservice teachers have for their profession. Being able to listen to and picture these inspiring and important stories makes my job so enjoyable!

Preservice Teacher Roundtable_DrSuePillans2022_Queensland Education

International Education & Training Summit

It was great drawing out the discussions of the Study Queensland Pop-Up at the International Education and Training Summit held in Cairns. To celebrate the outcomes of the Study Queensland Positioning Framework for the Department of Trade and Investment Queensland Minister Kate Jones announced the new brand and tag line for this project #startheregoanywhere. I was then very busy listening to how excited the Summit attendees were about the new brand and pictured what it meant to them, in the BIGGEST drawing I have done! As you can see from the photos it was a BIG day of drawing out people’s BIG ideas.


Mental Health Nursing Forum

What a way to start ‘drawing out’ 2020 by graphically recording the “Mental Health Nursing Forum” for the Office of the Chief Nursing and Midwidfery Officer for Queensland Health. It was a great day of capturing passionate discussions about a very important issue in our nursing sector, and to our community. As noted by the participants “We ALL work in mental health” but “We need to grow our workforce and make mental health an attractive option for graduates”. Thank you for having me along to “Picture your ideas“.

Change Communications

My role as a Graphic Recorder is not only about drawing out the key messages and information that is being discussed in a room or event, but listening to the feelings in the room and the journey people have been on, particularly through sensitive processes such as change programs and team transitions. I was privileged to be part of the discussions of the Corporate Services team at the recently formed Queensland Department of Environment and Science (DES) who have just gone through a significant process of change (Machinery of Government changes). I was there to draw out the lessons learned and the feelings of change staff through the steps in the change model AND to picture the new Departments future — so everyone in the Department could see their “big picture”!

Visual storytelling is a powerful way to listen and draw out staff feelings and an organisations journey to help put your people in the big picture! Thanks for having me DES, #loveyourwork!

Coastal and Marine Strategy for the Top End

In my role as a Graphic Recorder I have amazing opportunities to draw in great places with interesting people and drawing in the Top End is always a great experience! I was part of an experienced team of consultants engaged by the Northern Territory Government to help facilitate (and picture) stakeholder discussions to develop the Territory’s first Coastal and Marine Management Strategy. The Strategy will ensure the health and viability of the Top End’s coast and seas, support their use by Territorians for recreational and cultural purposes, manage growing demand for natural resources and foster sustainable industry.

The development of this Strategy is a work-in-progress, as shown by the photos, and it was a great privilege for me to picture these initial and important discussions over the two-day workshop — which showed the positive and collaborative approach to managing the Top Ends Sea Country for all Territorians.


I am always so happy to ‘sea’ how people react to and engage with my visuals, and it was great to receive feedback from the workshop participants that my visual helped them to ‘sea’ the journey they were on in developing this Strategy, TOGETHER. Visual storytelling really is a powerful way of communicating and engaging with groups, stakeholders and clients so you can ALL ‘sea’ the big picture!


Bullying in Schools – Ministerial Student Advisory Council

It was a great privilege for me to draw out the important discussions of the very first Ministerial Student Advisory Council (MSAC) on behalf of the Department of Education and the Minister for Education, Grace Grace. This is the first Advisory Council of its kind in Queensland and the Council is made up of student representatives from schools across Queensland. The first meeting focused on bullying and cyber-bullying and what actions we can take as a community tackle this growing issue. You can see further details of this visual story over at Schools & Universities and view details of the MSAC. Thank you to Minister Grace and the students for the glowing feedback on my visual.

Honoured to draw out the important student discussions for the Minister for Education at her first Ministerial Student Advisory Council (MSAC) meeting

Closing the Gap

It was a pleasure drawing out the important discussions of the “Closing the Gap Community Engagement Forum” held in Mackay for Mackay Hospital and Health Services. Connecting Communities in the region pictured a range of issues from health and well-being to youth justice, education and economic development. You can see more of my visual storytelling with Indigenous communities at

Delivering the new Qld Certificate of Education (QCE) System

What a great experience it was graphically recording the largest gathering of Queensland School Principals in 40 years as part of the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority’s (QCAA) 2017 Principal’s Conference. The focus of the Conference was the introduction of the new Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) system which is the most significant change to senior curriculum and assessment in Queensland since the early 1970s! You can see more of the visual stories and time-lapse photography from the Conference: ‘A strong Foundation for a Changing World‘ at Schools & Universities.

Teach Rural Career Fair, Teach Queensland

I have such fond memories of growing up in regional and remote Queensland where going to school meant dirt roads and waiting for emu’s to cross the road! So I was delighted when I was asked to be the graphic recorder for the TeachQLD Teach Rural Career Fair, hosted by the Queensland Department of Education and Training. This event was for current and future teachers looking for new adventures and teaching opportunities in regional, rural and remote Queensland.

I drew out the two panel sessions which were full of energy and enthusiasm for teaching in rural, regional and remote Queensland:

  1. Principal tips for landing that job
  2. Finding your feet: Advice from early career teachers

What a great event to promote and highlight the amazing opportunities to teach in our rural, regional and remote communities. I was super excited that attendees interacted so much with my visuals too and I received so much great feedback on how I captured the Panel’s discussions. The quote of the day for me was, “Give RURAL a GO!”.


Queensland Health and Stories of Lived Experience

I was the graphic recorder at the Minister for Healths Suicide Prevention Health Taskforce Roundtable held in Brisbane. I was there to listen to and visually capture the stories of Lived Experience and the priorities of the Queensland Government, as outlined in their 10 year Action Plan. Visual storytelling for sensitive and personal issues such as suicide can help to put people back in the picture, as everyone has a story. I hope I was able to draw out their stories of courage and strength. A key message from the Roundtable discussions was that “Mental health and suicide is everyone’s business”. To see more of my work putting health issues in the picture please see Community & Health.


Department of Agriculture & Fisheries – Team Building

I had a great opportunity to return to my former Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) to graphically record the presentations given at a Team Reflections Day. The team day was full of energy which I captured in their visual stories which now hang on the office walls of the Team to serve as a reminder of their work and achievements throughout the year. Visual communication is a powerful tool for team building and a great way to capture and celebrate team achievements!



Testimonial: “Thank you again for helping us on our team reflections day. We have put the visual stories up on the wall. Quite a few people have mentioned that they appreciate having them on the wall as a reminder“. General Manager, DAF

…and what happens to these visual stories, the team proudly displays them!

*Please note the use of my graphics and visuals need to be attributed to me and remain unaltered unless written permission is given as all graphics and images are Copyright © 2023 Dr Sue Pillans