As visitor-serving organizations, museums and other informal learning environments are no strangers to adapting, shifting, and pivoting in response to change. Over the last several years, our organizations have had to quickly adjust and react to new realities and expectations from the communities we serve. In these moments of disruption, it is vital to create spaces for critical reflection and dialogue, developing welcoming and inclusive spaces where, together, we can reflect on the transformations that come from rapid change, and reimagine our work with a new lens. Throughout 2022, the Visitor Studies Association will create spaces to re-engage with and contemplate our work, taking insights from a time of expansive experimentation, and offering spaces to critically examine this work, our field, and ourselves so that together, we can be more powerful and effective advocates for our audiences.

For the 2022 conference, VSA asks its members, and the informal learning field at large, to analyze our strategies to actively and intentionally create and recreate spaces for our own professional community and the people we serve. Together we will reimagine spaces that welcome all museum professionals to the field and advocate for shared authority, creating opportunities for our growing professional cohort to reflect on what we need to unlearn and change about our work. As we come together, we find ourselves at a vital moment, to reconsider, reformat, and restructure what we do and how we do it. VSA encourages all to join us in giving ourselves the time and space necessary to consider all that we have learned, and create better versions of ourselves, our profession, and our institutions, so that we may better serve our communities.

VSA encourages those interested in presenting at the annual conference, virtual webinars, or workshops to consider studies, research, as well as discussions around the following questions:

  • What spaces are needed in order to come together, stronger and more inclusive?

  • How do we reconsider how we define the visitor studies field?

  • How do we create space for reflective practice?

  • How do we welcome and embrace the varied pathways into visitor research?

  • How do we create or recreate a sustainable life cycle of research, and data, embedded in all layers of our organizations?

  • How do we cement DEAI practice, especially the work of the past two years, into our organizations and profession?

  • How do we welcome the unique perspectives and experiences that lead to visitor studies?

  • How do we unlearn traditional ways of knowing in the field?

Download the 2022 Conference Session Abstracts.