The Visitor Studies Association (VSA) seeks to foster a sense of community among its members, who gather once a year to pose intriguing questions, explore diverse opinions, debate controversial issues, challenge assumptions and share their successes and their struggles—in essence, to learn from one another.
For our 2014 conference, the Visitors Studies Association invites the informal learning community to join us in creating a conference program that pushes the field of visitor studies forward by addressing the increasing interest in evaluation and the growing demand for evidence. This year, VSA will think strategically about how to continually build capacity for evaluation.
Capacity-building can happen at many levels, from the development of individual skills, to fostering culture and stakeholder knowledge at the institutional or geographic level, to increasing consistency within the field. Discussions of capacity-building may include reflecting on successful—and unsuccessful—past attempts, but also challenge participants to examine the present and explore areas in which the field could grow. We are seeking proposals that explore capacity-building at all levels, including those that suggest next steps for our field to support evaluation efforts across informal learning environments.
This theme and conference offers a place for the traditional discussion of new findings and methods, while also challenging practitioners to take a step back from their individual work and think creatively about how their work fits into the larger conversation. We feel that this is a timely topic that is of critical importance for the future of the field. All perspectives are welcome.