Solving FCB: A Graphical Abstract

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Article written and graphical abstracts produced and illustrated by Lauren Shea and Karly McMullen. Abstracts can be downloaded here: [1], [2].

The first Solving FCB workshop began with warm roundtable introductions that set the foundation for an excellent week of learning about project partners, colleagues, and friends. We were fortunate enough to be invited to listen in and produce the first project output, an art piece of all things!

As the discussions commenced, we quickly found ourselves with piles of notes, doodle drawings, and exciting ideas buzzing in our heads. With help from project partners, we decided to produce two pieces. First, the overarching vision of the group and project and, second, an illustration of the individual case studies.

Meeting conversations had a common theme that inspired the coastal pier scene, as seen at the bottom of the first illustration. The Solving FCB case study groups are all working to address sustainability issues at the nexus of food security, climate change, and biodiversity, while “envisioning futures for oceans, ecosystems, and people”. Each group has an array of different obstacles, histories, expertise, knowledge systems, and practical approaches. The pier represents the bridging of these knowledge systems towards sustainable futures for all.

There will be many ways to reach these desired futures, and many obstacles to overcome, which is illustrated by the different paths underway, including boats, swimming, walking, and parachuting as well as obstacles like unexpected waves and a broken bridge. Regardless of the path to get there, bright futures are something we are all coming together to reimagine and work towards.

At the end of the pier, you’ll find a mother and child fishing at sunrise. This symbolizes a desired future in which our children, grandchildren, and all future generations, have fish in the ocean available to catch, or at least the option to do so.

An early draft of the graphical abstract.

The pathways towards sustainable futures must consider the interconnection between land and sea, as symbolized by the coastal pier, and be inclusive to all, as depicted by the wooden sign in the bottom left corner. As Dr. William Cheung emphasized on Day 1, “we need the whole world to address these issues”, and thus, the pathways must be anchored in principles of social equity, as etched in one of the supporting pillars of the pier.

Meeting attendees also acknowledged that time is in no way linear. Instead, time is more akin to a tree, where the pluralistic past provides foundational roots for the present, the trunk, and diverse futures are symbolized by the branches and leaves. We chose a mangrove tree to illustrate this timeline, to further emphasize the interconnectedness of land and sea.

At the heart of the illustration, you’ll find our collective home, our planet, wrapped in a golden thread. This idea was inspired by Dr. Laura Pereira, a project member, who on Day 2 asked participants to imagine their life in the year 2100. She asked participants to reflect on, despite differences in each of our imagined futures, what the golden thread might be that connects all of us.

Workshop days and cross-cutting research themes are presented in the left and right of the illustration. On Day 1, we highlight the roundtable discussion that kicked off the meetings. We highlight the public panel on Day 2 as well as the small breakouts groups for planning on Day 3. Cross-cutting themes were sprinkled throughout the workshop and feature the diverse intersects of knowledge.

You will also find some of our favorite quotes from the workshop scattered around the piece. We found that these messages captured the essence of the workshop conversations.

The second visual abstract provides more context into each of the project’s five case studies. We found that the goals and details of each case study were too rich and exciting to cram into the first visual abstract, so we opted for giving each case study the space that it deserved. Major goals, challenges, and opportunities are presented under each case study, which provide an exciting starting point to build upon at future meetings.

For those who did not attend, we hope that these visual summaries leave you inspired by the conversations at this first Solving FCB workshop, as we were.

For those of you that did attend, we hope that we have provided a visual aid for future conversations and reflections of the workshop. Thank you for allowing us to listen in and learn from you all.


Lauren Shea and Karly McMullen