Visitor Research Forum 2020: Friday 22 May 2020

logosYes – we’re going ahead with our annual Visitor Research Forum! Thanks to the University of Canberra this will take place online. At this stage we have around 150 people registered but we can still take more.

Go here to book – it’s online, all day (10-4pm) and free to attend! Once you register, you’ll be sent a link with how to access the conference.

Below is a brief outline of sessions.

Kristy Ryan and Abbie McPhie, National Museum Australia

Looking at ways to gain a deeper understanding of consumer interests and engagement patterns with online offerings given the detailed reporting available through the digital platforms in use. With a greater understanding of these patterns, cultural institutions will have a unique opportunity to commercialise the digital offerings moving forward, creating new platforms to generate own sourced revenue from activities that are not limited to on-site visitation.

Joanne Aley, Researcher, Social and Behavioural Science Team, Te Papa Atawhai / Department of Conservation

Kauri dieback disease holds a significant conservation risk for threatened kauri (Agathis australis) rees in New Zealand. While people’s levels of awareness of kauri dieback disease continues to increase, compliance of trail users at forest hygiene stations has not similarly increased. To overcome this knowledge-behaviour gap, five behaviour change treatments were tested for their effectiveness to increase visitor compliance at trail user hygiene stations. Results included two effective methods, one inconclusive, one ineffective, and one which surprised us.

Indigo Holcombe-James, RMIT University

Museums, galleries and artist collectives around the world are shutting their doors and moving online in response to coronavirus. But engaging with audiences online requires access, skills and investment. My research with remote Aboriginal art centres in the Northern Territory and community museums in Victoria shows moving to digital can widen the gap between urban and regional organisations.

Dominic O’Connor, George Martin, Alexandra Kenny and Cris Kennedy, Parliament House, Canberra

Parliament House has been running tours since first opening its doors in 1988. In recent years much data has been collected on visitor numbers and particularly data about tour patrons, but the recent COVID closure has allowed the APH Visitor Engagement team the time to properly analyse and interpret. We share figures, some of our key interpretations, and discuss strategic and financial decisions this analysis allows us to consider.

Darcie Carruthers, Conservation Campaigner, Zoos Victoria

In the Australian summers of 2017 and 2018, the number of Bogong moths (Agrotis infusa) undertaking the annual 1000km migration plummeted from an estimated 4.4 billion to an almost undetectable number. With the 2019 summer approaching and uncertainty abounding as to whether Bogong moths would migrate in any great numbers, Zoos Victoria launched two emergency community interventions. ‘Lights Off for the Bogong Moths’ and the citizen science platform ‘Moth Tracker’ sought to raise awareness about the plight of the species, fill knowledge gaps and empower eastern Australians to undertake a simple act to assist them on their journey. Campaign evaluation will be included in the presentation.

Dr Lynda Kelly, LyndaKellyNetworks and Louise Halpin, AGNSW, Art Pathways Plus: engaging students with art – a three-year research program

Art Pathways Plus (APP), a schools-focused arts program developed and delivered by the Art Gallery of NSW, provides innovative, creative and active learning opportunities in Western Sydney school communities. Working collaboratively with arts professionals and organisations in Western Sydney, APP aimed to address challenges which impact on educational participation and engagement with the visual arts for both students and teachers. An evaluation was conducted across three-years (2017-2019) to gain insights into the impact and benefits of the program for all participants, gathering  data to come to a deeper understanding of how the program inspires students, what they learned, how the program affected and changed them in some way, particularly in their relationship with the visual arts.

Garry Watson, National Capital Educational Tourism Project

Garry will provide a summary on recent research into the Size and Effect of School Excursions to the National Capital, showcase the latest innovation in booking access to Canberra attractions and touch on the challenges faced by educational tourism in the current crisis and what opportunities are there are in the recovery period.

Jeffrey Skibins, East Carolina University (Greenville, NC) and Ashley Kelly, Central Coast Council NSW

Amid increasing anthropogenic threats to wildlife, many zoos are focusing on influencing visitors’ conservation attitudes and behaviours. Recently, some zoos have begun utilizing technology to improve engagement with exhibits and campaign messaging. This study evaluated the effectiveness of the immersive, interactive TigerTrek Exhibit at Taronga Zoo (Sydney, Australia) for its ability to influence attitudes, behavioural intentions, and behaviours related to tiger conservation and Certified Sustainable Palm Oil advocacy and consumerism. By understanding visitors’ perceptions of interpretive messaging and the types of conservation behaviours visitors are willing and able to engage in, zoos can more effectively achieve their conservation campaign goals.

The VRF is supported by The University of Canberra, Faculty of Business Government and Law, and the Business School, University of Queensland, as well as the Evaluation and Visitor Research National Network, AMaGA.

Hope to ‘see’ you there! You can also follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #VRF2020.

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