The Visitor Studies Group: Championing excellent visitor experiences

2020 Conference – tickets on sale!


We are delighted to open our 2020 conference for booking.

Co-Creating the Future: Participation and the Role of Visitor Studies will take place 5 & 6th March 2020 at the Museum of London.

Tickets can be purchased via Eventbrite.

Over two days, we will explore, interrogate and understand how emerging research and evaluation around participatory practice and projects, collaboration and co-designing can help evidence the challenges and benefits of these models of working. We seek to explore the role on participants, and audiences, and also consider how we can use research and evaluation to support others to develop new ways of working. Sessions will consider how research can help us advocate for and inform developments in these practices.


Kirsty Devine (Programme Director, Paisley Museum Re-imagined) – “Critical Conversations: Becoming a Listening Museum”

Paisley Museum Re-Imagined is the biggest renewal that the Museum has ever undertaken in its 150 years history. To help realise this ambition to help the wider public to shape the plans for the building, landscape and the collections. Co-production and audience engagement is core to all aspects of the redevelopment and the approach has resulted in changes in practice and project outcomes. While challenging at times, ultimately the aim is to create a rich and diverse museum experience.

The Democratic Society, Glasgow Life and Glasgow City Council – “The People’s Palace Story – innovating and working together in Glasgow”

This presentation by The Democratic Society, Glasgow Life and Glasgow City Council will explore the journey towards empowering communities in the capital transformation programme for the People’s Palace in the heart of Glasgow. The session will consider the co-production approach to community engagement and the impact it’s had so far.

Presenters include:

  • Karen Knutson and Kevin Crowley (University of Pittsburgh) – Museum and community in networked innovative practice: The role of evaluation in resolving tensions and supporting collaboration and co-design
  • Mia Ridge (British Library) – Crowdsourcing in cultural heritage: a perspective on participatory practice online
  • Nicola Wallis and Kate Noble (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge) – Participation: so easy a child can do it…
  • Stefania Donini (Guildhall Barbican) – Spatial politics of participation: the changing role of public spaces in arts institutions
  • Elly Magson, Lauren Souter and Vandana Patel (Museum of London) – Listening to Londoners: Developing a New Museum of London
  • Rosie Bullimore, Jatinder Kailey, Kim Klug (Historic Royal Palaces) – Embedding participatory practice to create organisational change
  • Irenie Ekkeshis and Katie Dunstan (New Citizenship Project) – Putting the purpose into participation

View the full programme here!

Environmental sustainability

With the climate crisis at the forefronts of our minds, VSG is taking the first steps towards hosting the most environmentally sustainable events possible. At our 2020 conference we will be cutting down on printed materials by asking delegates to take photographs of our programme supplied in large poster format on the day. Delegate packs consisting of programmes, speaker lists and biographies and delegate lists will be circulated via email before the conference. Catering will consist of vegetarian options only. We would like to encourage you to bring your own water bottles to the conference and will point you towards water re-filling stations on the day. Thank you for your support as we embark upon this journey. Please do feel free to share any tips or advice with us.

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