Action, Innovation, Reflection – CES 2017 Day 1

For those who have read my posts from previous conferences, you wouldn’t be surprised that I get a lot out of these events – hearing great ideas, learning about new tools, connecting with friends and colleagues, and re-igniting the passion for the field I’m working in. Less than two days into the Canadian Evaluation Society’s 2017 conference, all of those positives are definitely here: if anything, it’s all heightened this year. There’s a feeling that my professional interests and skills are strongly aligning with those of my colleagues and the field as a whole, and that altogether there’s increased emphasis on what difference we as evaluators can make not just in our practice but for our communities and society as a whole.

I’m still thinking over everything I’ve seen and heard so far, from the great workshop on Developmental Evaluation led by Nora Murphy, Kate McKegg, and Nan Wehipeihana to a bumper-crop of thought-provoking Ignite presentations. This morning’s keynote speakers, Indigenous evaluation consultant Kim van der Woerd, co-founder of the Moosehide Campaign Paul Lacerte, and Elder Roberta Price, really helped set the narrative for this conference and our field in general – that we all need to work towards reconciliation, and as Lacerte said, we are at a precious moment in the history of our country (and the world!) to face forward towards a shared future. Outside of the formal program, I’m incredibly grateful to both connect with like-minded conspirators and co-create with them. As an example, I’m writing this post at the lunch table with someone I’ve known for several years now as well as someone I’ve just met: we all connected via Twitter to make this time to write and reflect happen, and I won’t be surprised if other ideas and initiatives arise from these planned and spontaneous gatherings in the days to come.

If you’re wanting to see some specifics about ideas and concepts, check out Twitter – I’ve been live-tweeting pretty regularly and the conference hashtag (#EvalC17) has seen lots of activity and discussion. 

As a final thought, a tweet that summarizes my feelings so far:

“My take-away from #EvalC17 so far: we as evaluators do not work in a vacuum – we must attend to history and culture including our own”