Evaluation by Charlie Tulloch and Sigrid Patterson
The Darwin 2014 Australasian Evaluation Society (AES) Conference was held between 8 and 12 September 2014 at the Australian Centre for Indigenous Knowledges (ACIKE), located at the Casuarina Campus of Charles Darwin University (CDU). The conference’s theme was ‘unleashing the power of evaluation’. It featured two days of pre-conference workshops, two and a half days of conference activities, a conference opening event, a social program, international keynote speakers, a broad range of presentations by attendees and a range of other activities.
An evaluation was sought by the AES to assess the value of the conference, along with ways to improve the conference over the next three to five years. AES Board members and key Darwin event organisers helped to shape the focus of the evaluation against three key themes: the participant experience; organisation and logistics; and strategic alignment of the conference with AES’ goals.
The evaluation was conducted by two Master of Evaluation students at the University of Melbourne, with support from the Centre for Program Evaluation and the AES, in particular two evaluation ‘fellows’ who provided expert guidance throughout the process.
The evaluation deliverables include this report on findings and appendices, associated data collection tools that could be used in future years and a separate report for the AES detailing post-event participant and non-participant survey findings.
The findings focus largely on identifying critical challenges and areas for improvement in future.