Members Only - Sharing Power and Authority in Evaluation

Conventional evaluation and visitor studies haven often put researchers and/or their institutions at the center of power, in that they typically define the focus of the study, research questions, study design, and methods, as well as leading the analysis and interpretation of results. This process tends to privilege white, western worldviews, and prioritizes institutional over community needs and questions. This webchat will focus on practical methods and approaches that can help shift these power imbalances, such as by collaborating with audiences to develop studies and analyze results or using photo elicitation or “untours” to center community voices and perspectives. This webchat will feature examples from Dr. Andréa Giron Mathern (Centrality Research), who co-authored a blog post on this topic, Separation of Powers, as part of the Essential Evaluators series sponsored by AAM’s Committee on Audience Research and Evaluation (CARE); and Dr. Joe Heimlich (Center for Research and Evaluation, COSI); and Anna Rebecca Lopez (arlopezconsulting). Andrea will talk about applying Participatory Action Research (PAR) to a project at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, in which researchers worked with a bilingual Latino/a/x parent group to develop relevant interview questions to understand how this group could be better served by the museum. Joe will share examples of an “untour” and storytelling method from his work at the Philadelphia Zoo; and Anna Rebecca (AR) will focus on community organizing methods to inform the Community-Centric Fundraising movement. We will then open up the conversation for participants to share their own examples of methods that have helped share power and authority with visitors and community members. Through an interactive dialogue, we will focus on such questions as: What are some examples of how power plays out in evaluation processes at your institution? For example, who determines evaluation priorities and questions, or who leads instrument development and analysis? In what ways have you or your institution been able to share power and authority with visitors or community members around evaluation / visitor studies? What evaluation methods or research approaches do you feel are most empowering for visitors? What challenges have you faced in co-creating or co-developing evaluations with community members? How do you compensate community members or ensure you are not overburdening them? What supports do you need to more effectively shift these power imbalances that are often reinforced in evaluation practices?

May 26th, 2021 from 12:00 AM to 12:00 AM