The theme of the 2016 Australasian Evaluation Society Conference is Landscapes.
Western Australia is the largest state in Australia and the second-largest country subdivision in the world. It occupies the entire western third of Australia, from the Timor Sea in the north, through the Indian Ocean to the west, and the Southern Ocean in the south. As such, it is characterised by vast distances and incredibly diverse landscapes. However, the diversity of Western Australia is not restricted to the natural or built environment. Like most other regions; culturally, socially, organisationally, politically and economically, Western Australia is a land of multiplicity and almost constant change.
The 2016 Australasian Evaluation Society Conference will invite delegates to reflect on what diversity and change in social, cultural, organisational, environmental, political and economic landscapes means for evaluation and evaluators. It will consider how we work within and between those landscapes, what impact our work has on them (both positive and negative), and how we respond to changes in their terrain (particularly those changes that we create). It will also consider how the diversity of the landscapes we work in and their changing features has shaped our past evaluation practices, contributed to the practices we currently use, and how it could influence evaluation practices of the future. This discussion will include consideration of changing technological landscapes.
At the 2016 conference we are asking for proposals that contribute to the following conference themes:
1.Social and Cultural Landscapes
How do different landscapes shape different social and cultural identities, and how is this reflected in evaluation practice? Given the diversity of Indigenous peoples, nations, Iwi, language groups and countries in the Australasian region, how (if at all) can evaluation authentically reflect Indigenous experience? Who has the right to speak for different groups, and who bestows that right? How should evaluators respond to changing dynamics and power structures in the social and cultural groups we work with? What have been the unintended consequences of our work within and between cultural and social landscapes? How (if at all) can evaluators effectively work between social and cultural groups – what barriers do we face and what bridges do we need to build? How do different social and cultural groups interact with technology and what implications do these differences have for use of technology in evaluation practice?
2. Organisational, Political and Economic Landscapes
How have recent changes to our organisational, political and economic landscapes influenced our practice as evaluators? How have we responded to these changes and how effective have those responses been? What strengths and values do we need to survive and continue to influence change in the current organisational, political and economic landscapes? How do different organisational and political groups interact with technology and what implications do these differences have for use of technology in evaluation practice?
3. Natural and Built Landscapes
How do the environments in which we work (including distance between them) impact the work we do? How do we account for different evaluation results and experiences between environments? Is environment a stakeholder and if yes, how do we give it voice? What impact do evaluators have on the natural environment? How have environmental changes impacted evaluation practices? How has technology impacted our understanding of other landscapes (including distances, timelines and relationships)? What consequences have these changes had for the programs we evaluate and our practices?
4. Evaluation Landscapes
What are the diverse landscapes within the evaluation profession? How do evaluation frameworks and methodologies respond to these landscapes? How do the professional landscapes link with discussions around competency frameworks? What makes evaluation different as a discipline? What have we learned from the diverse landscapes in which we work? How can we bring those learnings together to improve evaluation practice? What can we do to be more responsive to the cultural, social, environmental, political and economic landscapes in which we work? How do we balance the competing needs of the diverse landscapes we encounter in our daily practice? What theories and tools have we developed to deal with this diversity? What else do we need to make evaluation more responsive to diversity? How have changes in digital and technological landscapes influenced evaluation and evaluation practice? How can technology or our use of technology be improved to better respond to the diversity of landscapes in which we work?