2017 Invited Speakers

New Pathways in Visitor Studies

How are new methods or innovations from other fields of study positioned to help informal learning institutions understand their visitors and adapt to provide greater community value?

In visitor studies, we are challenged to respond to a rapidly changing world in order to maintain a current understanding of our visitors and their needs, as well as the field of visitor studies itself. We pursue new pathways  in part because of changes within the communities we serve, as demographic shifts and technological advances (among others) require us to think differently about the work we do.  We also look for innovative approaches to fostering change within our field, such as becoming more inclusive of other voices or finding ways to leverage our collective impact. New insights and innovations from outside our field can also offer novel ways of looking at learning and learners to support mission-driven institutions like museums, zoos and aquaria. “New Pathways in Visitor Studies” seeks to advance the field by challenging conference speakers and attendees to work creatively and collaboratively to deliver reliable new insights about the experiences of our visitors.

Our keynote speakers represent voices from outside visitor studies and work with a diverse range of collaborators on different orders of scale. Through their respective lenses of design, learning research, and research communication and outreach, we have invited them to join us as we collectively think through the implications societal change may have for our field.

Marika Shiori-Clark

Keynote Speaker: Marika Shioiri-Clark, SOSHL Studio

Thursday, July 20, 2017 | 8:30am - 10:00am

Marika is the principal of SOSHL Studio, a firm dedicated to creating social
impact through design. Through her practice, Marika has worked extensively
with the Nike Foundation to rethink safe spaces for adolescent girls in Nigeria
and Ethiopia, as well as on design projects throughout the global south. Marika cut her teeth as a co-founder of MASS Design Group while a student at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, playing a central role in the design of the acclaimed Butaro Hospital in rural Rwanda. Trained as an architect, Marika is a leading ambassador and practitioner of human-centered design, and, in 2011, was a global fellow at design nonprofit IDEO.org, working on projects in the education, health, and sanitation sectors in the United States and Ghana. Currently, Marika is working with the International Rescue Committee to design and pilot an early childhood development program for refugees in the Syrian response region. Closer to home, Marika is deeply involved with neighborhood development and creative placemaking in the Hingetown neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio, where she lives in an old firehouse that still has three poles.
Her current practice relates to human-focused, research-driven design that considers not only the specific needs and goals of people who will use spaces, but also the role spaces and message construction can play in issues related to power, authority, and access, as well as how community-centered approaches can effect positive social outcomes.

The Past Foundation

Invited Panel: Staff from The PAST Foundation

Friday, July 21, 2017 | 8:30am - 10:00am

The PAST Innovation Lab is an Education R&D facility based in Columbus, Ohio, and its major goal is improving education by promoting research-driven, transdisciplinary problem-based learning (TPBL). Rooted in the legacy of the larger PAST Foundation, the Innovation Lab brings anthropologists, other researchers, and educators together to support learning experiences at the intersection of formal learning and community. Recent projects include learning labs related to engineering and design, medicine and wellness, energy, agriculture, and digital technology. Meanwhile, the Knowledge Capture division of PAST provides external evaluation services to schools and districts throughout the country, with a culturally relevant mixed methods approach that reflects the Foundation’s overarching strategy of combining Anthropology with STEM to support learners.

Sathya Gopalakrishnan

Invited Speaker: Sathya Gopalakrishnan, The STEAM Factory at The Ohio State University

Saturday, July 22, 2017 | 8:00am - 9:30am

Sathya Gopalakrishnan is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Economics
in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics at The Ohio State University. She is also a founding member and the Director of Evaluation and Assessment at The STEAM Factory, a grassroots initiative that facilitates collaborative research and outreach. This diverse faculty network includes over 120
faculty and staff across 69 departments and 17 colleges/institutes at OSU, with an ecosystem of 30+ partners across the city of Columbus. Based at The Ohio State University, The STEAM Factory provides a space where researchers from all disciplines can broaden their perspectives, share resources, spark creative research ideas, and form collaborations across areas of common interest. The STEAM Factory helps to bridge the gap between Ohio State and the Columbus community through research dissemination and outreach that is accessible, approachable, and combines formal and informal learning.