Conference News

By now, you've probably received an e-mail from AAM letting you know that the proposal submission website for the 2016 AAM Annual Meeting in Washington, DC is open now through August 31. We would like to encourage all of you to go to the proposal website to submit your own sessions related to research and evaluation, find others' sessions to join, and search the submitted sessions to provide feedback.
AAM has continued to revise its tracks based on feedback from the Professional Networks. This year, audience research and evaluation falls into a new track: "Education, Audience Research & Evaluation." But, evaluation is becoming more prevalent across museum disciplines, and we encourage you to think about developing evaluation-related proposals for other tracks as well. Information about the different session tracks can be found on the AAM website.  Below are some resources that we hope will inspire some ideas and help you craft more successful proposals.

Current themes and topics in audience research and evaluation

To help spur some session proposal ideas, CARE has created a list of topics that we think would make good sessions for the 2016 AAM Annual Meeting, related to the meeting theme "Power, Influence and Responsibility."

Key Theme
Topic or Trend 
Relevance of museums
  • What evidence do we have that museums are (or are not) relevant to the public? 
  • How is relevance being measured? 
  • How are museums using audience research and evaluation to address issues around relevance (e.g., enhancing its relevance, clarify what the museum should or should not be striving for, etc.)?
Museums addressing issues of social justice
  • How are museums successful (or unsuccessful) in promoting social justice?
  • What research and evaluation are happening around exhibitions and programs whose goal is to address issues of social justice?
  • How are museums using audience research and evaluation to improve communication around issues of social justice?
  • How can audience research and evaluation support social justice efforts through their development, deployment, or discussions of findings?
Communicating impact to stakeholders and policy makers
  • How are museums using data to communicate their power and influence?
  • What types of data have been collected to demonstrate impact to stakeholders and policy makers and how (e.g., big data that provides strength in numbers, or interviews that emphasize the voice of the public)?
  • What communication mechanisms have been most successful (or unsuccessful) in communicating with stakeholders and policy makers?
  • How are audience research & evaluation professionals bring in stakeholders to help develop a studies?

Tips for writing proposals

When you submit a proposal, here are some things that we've found lead to accepted proposals. Make sure that: 

  • Your topic is not too narrow. Your content should be targeted enough that it is useful and practical, but broad enough that it will appeal to multiple audiences with different expertise who are at different points in their careers.

  • Your session proposal offers new insights. Your session should provide new or innovative ideas that meeting attendees have not heard of before, or discuss old topics from a fresh perspective.

  • Your ideas are clear. People reading your proposal should be able to understand exactly what your session will be about, the kinds of topics that will be presented, and the audiences that the session is for.

  • Your proposal represents different viewpoints and perspectives. Your speakers should be diverse and represent different kinds or sizes of museums, have wide-ranging positions within their institutions, or represent varied geographic locations.

AAM has also made a recording of their webinar, “Developing an Effective AAM Session Proposal,” available.

For further information about what you need to include in your proposals, where your session idea fits into the program, and what session format you should use, make sure to read the following documents:

Ways to connect with CARE to find presenters and get feedback

CARE is happy to help you create and refine your session proposals. Here are some ways to get help:
  • If you have any questions about the proposal process or how to craft proposals, contact Angie Ong, 2016 CARE National Program Committee Chair.

  • AAM members will also be able to comment on your session proposal while the proposal website is open, so make sure to begin submitting your proposal early.

Even if you don't need help, please e-mail me if you are crafting a CARE-related proposal so that I can track it through the program committee process. Particularly, if your session is being submitted in a track other than Education, Audience Research & Evaluation but includes CARE-related work, please let me know so I can advocate for it. I look forward to hearing about all your session ideas.

Also, as in the past, we are looking for volunteers to help review proposals. Email me if you are interested in the opportunity!


Angie Ong
2016 CARE National Program Committee Chair
Principal, Spotlight Impact