Upcoming Topics

VSA offers opportunities for professionals and students to further hone their skills through webinars, web chats, book clubs, and virtual networking. Virtual learning offerings address a variety of topics in our field and provide helpful resources and strategies relevant to a wide range of practitioners. These offerings provide opportunities for audience engagement, and provide time for participants to ask questions. Members of VSA receive discounted registration to these events, so consider joining!

If you would like to make suggestions for future Professional Development topics, please contact [email protected]. For technical assistance accessing the hangout, please contact [email protected].

** All fee-based web chats will be recorded. Those recordings will be sent out to registered participants after the session (both those who joined live and those who did not). The slide decks and chat messages shared during the live session will not be made available since they should be interpreted within the context of the speakers’ presentations. Participants during the live session do have the ability to save the chat to their devices.

What’s in a name? Turns out, a lot!
The Bridging Communities Focused Interest Group (FIG) has been actively engaged in organizing web chats, webinars, and informal discussions (aka “brown bags”) within VSA membership around using culturally responsive and equity-informed approaches to research and evaluation with and between a wide range of stakeholders. This past year, in particular, has brought renewed urgency on a national level around addressing systemic racism in our institutions and society more broadly, and we have been reflecting on ways that the FIG can better engage with these essential conversations. After considering the perspectives of FIG collaborators, and thinking about the role that the FIG currently plays and hopes to champion in the larger DEAI foci of VSA, we are changing the Bridging Communities FIG to:

Justice and Anti-Racism in Visitor Studies

We feel that this change in name and focus reflects our commitment as learners in DEAI and social justice work, how evaluation and visitor studies can best support this work, and our purpose in supporting the understanding and utilization of equity- and justice-focused evaluation practices.

Upcoming Conversation Series:
We have planned a series of informal conversations over the next several months focused on our role as evaluators with and within institutions that may or may not have an anti-racist stance. These conversations will be free and open to VSA members, non members are welcome to attend at a $5 registration rate.

These web chats are offered as a member benefit and are FREE to VSA Members and $5 for Non members.

Thursday, April 15 at 2:00pm Eastern
DEAI Advocacy in Institutions

How do you advocate for DEAI in your role as an evaluator? Where and how do you push for a role that allows for data-driven advocacy in decision-making in an institution? What challenges do you face and how do you address them?


Thursday, May 20 at 2:00pm Eastern
Making Statements/Being Accountable
Many institutions have made statements in support of recent social justice action and/or that condemning police brutality, racism, and white nationalism - how can evaluators play a role in holding institutions accountable to these stated intentions and goals?


Thursday, June 17 at 2:00pm Eastern
Funding Proposals and Partnerships
How do researchers and evaluators build on existing partnerships - or build new ones - through seeking funding together? What are some concrete examples of how to vision, plan, and collaborate on proposals authentically?


What are we doing? Discussing the challenges and opportunities in evaluating online experiences
Tuesday, April 27 1:00 pm Eastern

One year ago, many museums made a sharp pivot to presenting online experiences as a result of COVID-19 restrictions implemented by state and local governments. While some institutions previously offered online exhibitions and programs, this method has been a critical avenue for museums to engage with audiences safely and off-site. But what are virtual visitors taking away from these experiences? What are museum expectations for these encounters? How do we evaluate these virtual experiences appropriately? Should we be evaluating these experiences when we did? And what does it mean for the future of our evaluation work? 

Many evaluators are being tasked with exploring newly developed online experiences. But we have a lot of questions and we want you to join us to talk about them. This web chat session will be an open forum to discuss the challenges and opportunities regarding evaluating online experiences that are facing our field right now. Please bring your personal experiences to share and listen to what others are thinking about and doing. This is just the beginning of the conversation on evaluating museum online experiences! 

This VSA web chat is hosted by VSA’s Professional Development Work Group. We aim to facilitate discussions around important topics in visitor studies in a casual setting.


This web chat is offered as a member benefit and is FREE to VSA Members and $5 for Non members.

VSA’s Green Future: Reviewing past efforts, pandemic impacts, and future pursuits.
Friday, April 23, 2021 | 1:00 - 2:00 pm Eastern

How has the pandemic pushed VSA’s efforts to reduce our environmental impact? What are VSA community members’ perspectives on the doors opened – and closed – to us in light of advances in virtual conference options? In recent years VSA’s Green Team has been working to provide more opportunities for at-home virtual conference options, with the goal of reducing our carbon footprint and increasing access to the VSA’s professional development community. Please join a conversation where members of VSA will describe these recent efforts. Come prepared to share your own thoughts on the future of VSA conferencing that is accessible, inclusive, and environmentally friendly!


This web chat is offered as a member benefit and is FREE to VSA Members and $5 for Non members.