2024 VSA Save the Date 1

Redefining Visitor Studies

The Visitor Studies Association represents a community of evaluation practitioners and visitor advocates who draw on many of the same norms and best practices, cultivated and refined over decades of experience and learning. As we gather once again in person, it is an opportune moment to critically examine our collective perspectives and knowledge, to capitalize on the strengths in our practices while unearthing areas that require redefinition to advance quality and equity within our work. As we undergo the work of redefining, we ask questions such as:

  • How can we acknowledge existing practices or create new ones that accommodate the new and changing realities of institutional environments?
  • How can our community of practice contribute to the work that we do and enable us to generate and share new resources, approaches, and best practices?
  • How can we better serve both visitors and non-visitors through evaluative practice?
  • How can members of the communities we serve have shared authority in our work?
  • How do we begin to define community without ignoring individuals, who have divergent and intersectional experiences and knowledge, both within our institutions and outside?

Both as professionals in our own contexts and as a cohesive evaluation and research community, let us examine the tensions that exist between our individual roles and ways of knowing, the dynamics of our organizations, and the best practices we aspire to. This conference will foster opportunities for robust discourse and, more importantly, define new ways forward as we seek to better amplify and honor the voices of the communities we are dedicated to serving.