The Visitor Studies Group: Championing excellent visitor experiences

VSG News


The financial report for April 2013 to March 2014 was discussed at the recent committee meeting. A very brief summary is that our organisational memberships are up on target while individual and concessionary memberships are lower than we hoped. Both the event in Scotland, and the conference were a financial success. Conference success was due to very healthy bookings (very nearly maximum capacity), while outgoings were kept at the same level as 2013.

Going into 2014/15 our agreed priority with the budget we have is to redevelop our website for both usability and to better reflect the group (this is an action carried over from last year’s strategic plan).

Committee News

In addition to our two new members from the AGM (Catherine Elvin and Susie Ironside) we have three candidates for the final position available as a full committee member.

Please visit our online vote to read about the candidates and cast your vote BEFORE 30th APRIL.

The new posts replace Clara Lim who stepped down when she left the UK, and Jen DeWitt who will come to the end of her term in September. We would also like to thank Carol Edwards and Susie Fisher who have come to the end of their terms as committee ‘helpers’. Susie will be moving into an advisory role which you can read more about in the committee meeting minutes linked above. Cassandra Murray from ZSL will be joining us as a ‘helper’ for this year.

Membership Renewal

For those individual members who did not join or renew your membership in the past month or two, this is the final newsletter that you will receive.

Please rejoin by following the instructions for joining on the form on How to Join page.

This does not affect those belonging to organisations with organisational membership.

Alison James Annual Professional Development Bursary

Application forms are now online on our Bursary page and the deadline for applications is 2nd May 2014. 

The VSG annual bursary provides financial assistance to members to pursue professional development opportunities that are in keeping with the mission and goals of the Visitor Studies Group.

After the untimely death of Alison James, who was keen supporter of professional development within the sector, we are celebrating Alison’s contribution to the field by renaming the bursary in her honour.

The bursary is offered to cover travel, conference registration fees or other related expenses up to £500. This sum can be offered to one applicant or distributed at the discretion of the Selection Board. Recipients are asked to report back at our annual conference, to see the slides from this years’ recipient, David Francis, see:

VSG Events
2015 Conference

An evaluation report on the 2014 conference can be found on our website. We are very pleased with how it went. A key factor in the success was an early start on the programme and this requires both a theme and venue/dates to be confirmed early.

Therefore, we are now seeking suggestions for both theme and venue for 2015.

Some delegates fed back that they would have preferred a venue that is a museum or visitor attraction, unfortunately last year all the venues of this type we approached were unaffordable. If you could welcome us to your venue at an ‘education’ rate rather than full commercial corporate rates then please get in touch!

Any ideas for theme or venue should be sent to either of our co-chairs; or

Without input from our members these conferences cannot go ahead!

Thank you.

Other News and Activities
Museums & Heritage Show

Join us on 14 May, when the Visitor Studies Group will again be curating the Visitor Insight Strand at the Museums & Heritage Show. The seminars in this strand include an introduction to audience research, listening to visitors and other stakeholders and collaboration among organisations to better understand visitors. See

Call for Members’ PHOTOGRAPHS

This summer we will be revamping our website to make it more relevant, easier to use, and a better reflection of our work.

It is very important to us that the website is illustrated with YOUR PHOTOS. We are looking for a wide range of members’ photographs showing visitor studies in action in your organisation. If you have any photos of your work please send them to by the end of May with a one line caption and one line copyright credit.

And, as ever, if you have any news or articles to share with other members we would love to hear from you, please send any items for inclusion to


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