Twitter’s Conference Takeaways by Elizabeth DiLuzio

Happy conference week! I’m Elizabeth DiLuzio, lead curator of AEA365.

Couldn’t make it to the AEA conference this year but would still like to connect with and learn from the community? The Twitterverse has got you. While nothing is comparable to attending yourself, there’s a mighty cadre of live Tweeters who share their favorite quotes, resources, reflections, and thoughts to consider about the plenaries and sessions they attend. Check out hashtag #Eval21 to glean from their musings.

Here’s a non-exhaustive smattering of Twitter’s takeaways from the first two days of the conference:

  • Guest speaker Frank Waln took the conference by storm with his storytelling session in yesterday’s opening plenary session. His vulnerability and willingness to speak truth to power moved the audience in powerful ways. Fun fact: did you know he tuned in via his phone’s hotspot because his internet went out 15 minutes before the session began? Powerful AND graceful under pressure!
  • The plenary was only the beginning of Twitter’s reflections on equity in evaluation. Some helpful tools were shared, including the Urban Institute’s Do No Harm guide (shared by Amanda Makulec), an Equity Manifesto created by Policy Link (shared by Laura Sundstrom), and an equity framework created by Spectrum Health (shared by Innovation Network). Libby Smith also shared a powerful quote from Melissa Tremblay: “We have to move beyond engagement and into relationship.”
  • Another equity-focused session – this time a presidential strand – that made a buzz on Twitter was a session titled “Evaluators Unite! Resisting Othering, Statecraft and Carceral Logic”. If careceral logic is a new term to you, check out our own Elizabeth Grim’s tweet which shares a slide with some basics. The powerful question Libby Smith took away from the session: “Can we abandon efficiency as a metric?”
  • Members of the Research on Evaluation TIG held a mirror up to ourselves, sharing the trends they identified in our evaluative criteria when reviewing a sample of formative and summative evaluation reports. They also shared the most common criteria pairings they identified. Thank you to Dr. Bianca Montrosse-Moorhead for sharing these highlights with us.
  • The DVR TIG’s annual meeting made a stir online with Katherine Haugh, Joanna Prout and Emergence Collective sharing their takeaways from the gathering.
  • Isaac Castillo’s cat… er, I mean social media assistant, made a cameo that brightened many a day.

What did I miss? Comment below to share your highlight or helpful resource from the conference so far!


Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators. The views and opinions expressed on the AEA365 blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the American Evaluation Association, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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