In addition to these current offerings, VSA members are working to offer new ways of learning, engaging in discussion, and developing forums for various focused topics. If you are interested in learning more or helping realize any of the potential offerings below, let us know!

Focused Interest Groups (FIGs) - Initiated in December 2014, the VSA Board voted to adopt Focused Interest Groups (FIG) as part of the organizational structure. VSA FIGs are open to all current members, providing forums for sharing and cultivating common VSA member interests. FIGs are sub-groups of VSA, and their activities and activity level are dependent upon the members of each FIG. All FIGs maintain communications through Slack, which FIG members gain access to upon joining.  Current FIGs include:

  • Justice and Anti-Racism in Visitor Studies - This FIG was established in March 2021, renamed from the original Bridging Communities FIG, which aimed to support VSA’s initiative of building capacity to support diversity in the field by focusing on diversity and inclusion in visitor studies, and cultural competence in evaluation and audience research. The FIG will continue to engage in this work with a stronger focus on how visitor studies and evaluation can support justice and anti-racism efforts within museums and informal learning institutions. The Justice and Anti-Racism in Visitor Studies aims to bring together a group of learners to reflect on and support action around DEAI and social justice work in museums and other informal learning environments, how evaluation and visitor studies can best support and lead these efforts, and deepening our understanding and utilization of equity- and justice-focused evaluation practices. Email Jill Stein or Evelyn Ronning if you want to get involved.
  • Data Visualization and Reporting - Focused on effective communication of results, members share unique ideas, feedback, and issues in visualizing data to support its use. Co-chairs Lauren Holley and Celeste Moreno manage the group's online Slack community. Email Lauren Holley if you would like to get involved.
  • Zoo and AquariumTo bring together a community of professionals who are interested in, and who contribute to, social science/audience research and evaluation in zoos, aquariums, nature centers, or other organizations who focus on living collections. ZAFIG manages a public Facebook Group to provide a space for professionals at all levels to share questions and engage in lively discussion. ZAFIG also hosts a Google site for VSA members to access as a hub for sharing example research or evaluation instruments, reports, and other relevant resources. To access the Google site, VSA members may complete the ZAFIG mailing list form here. If you would like to learn more about ZAFIG and how you can get involved, email Nick Visscher.
  • Art Museum - This FIG is dedicated to providing a forum for communication, learning, mutual support, and professional development for evaluators, researchers, educators, and others working with or in art museums and arts-based cultural institutions. Email Caitlin Tracey-Miller and Alyssa Carr to join.

We hope that you find utility in much that VSA offers, but we also want to know if you don't. Please reach out to tell us how we can better meet your needs, provide you with timely and appropriate professional development and support, and more!


JARFIG (Justice and Anti-Racism Focused Interest Group) Meetings

Please join us for our monthly, informal conversations focused on the role of evaluation and visitors studies in supporting diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice within informal learning institutions, which may or may not have a strong justice or anti-racist stance. These conversations will be free and open to VSA members, non members are welcome to attend at a $5 registration rate.


Moving Beyond “One Off” Programming

December 16, 4pm ET┃ 1:00pm PT

REGISTER HERE

Many museums and cultural institutions mark Indigenous Peoples Day and National Native American Heritage month with special exhibits and programming. How do you evaluate these types of efforts, and how can we use visitor studies to push the paradigm around moving beyond these "one off" celebrations and deepening authentic relationship with Indigenous communities and tribal nations year-round?