So the countdown is finally over and I’m in the US! I arrived in Raleigh, North Carolina on Sunday night (the longest Sunday in my life thanks to crossing the International Date Line) for the 25th Visitor Studies Association Conference. This event typically attracts about 200 delegates, bringing together more people whose work I’ve read and/or cited in one room than anywhere else I’ve ever been. It’s venerable company.
While formal conference proceedings don’t kick off until tomorrow (in a few hours actually – jetlag has me up writing this at 3am), over the past two days there have been a selection of pre-conference workshops. I’ve attended ones on impact measurement, evaluation methods, survey design and participatory evaluation. Each in its own way has had its own piece of take-home insight that will inform my future work.
The social program started this evening with a reception at the North Carolina Museum of Art. As this is the 25th anniversary of the conference, this called for some reflection and reminiscing on the part of the veteran attendees, although I’m by no means alone as a first-timer to the conference.
Delegates have stickers on their badges indicating how many conferences they’ve been to, and I’ve seen plenty of other people with a blue “1” on their badge just like me – indeed, first timers were abundant in the workshop sessions. It’s good to know you’re not the only one!
The schedule over the next few days is pretty packed, although I’ll try and note my thoughts and reflections as I go. If you’re interested in the conference, follow the #vsa25 hashtag between now and Saturday (US time). I’m also uploading photos from my visit to my Flickr page – expect this to fill up rapidly over the next couple of weeks as I visit as many museums I can while I’m in the Eastern US.