Have you ever wondered what all this impact assessment and evaluation stuff is all about, but haven’t been sure how to get started? I bet you’re not alone! That’s why I’m psyched to be involved with a great and affordable professional development event happening this summer in gorgeous Santa Cruz, CA, called Museum Camp 2014: Social Impact Assessment.


Museum Camp is a creation of Nina Simon and the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History. Createquity readers might recognize Nina and her fantastic work at Santa Cruz MAH from such Top 10 Arts Policy Stories posts as 2012‘s, not to mention many shout-outs before and since in blog posts here and there. Nina used to be a rockstar experience design consultant in the museum field and earned a measure of fame at the beginning of this decade as the author of The Participatory Museum, which you can read online for free. A couple of years ago, she decided to take the job as director of the Santa Cruz MAH, and she and her team have been up to amazing things since then, including a previous version of Museum Camp that sounded like pretty much the most fun anyone has had in a museum ever.

All that fun ultimately adds up to something significant, though, and it’s important to be able to describe what’s meaningful about what we do effectively and convincingly to people who weren’t there – not to mention ourselves. So my colleagues at Fractured Atlas and I are happy to be helping Nina bring a new edition of Museum Camp to life focused on social impact assessment, a three-day event in which small teams of people will develop creative ways to evaluate the work that diverse organizations are doing to transform communities. Our focus is on social impact in communities, and we will encourage teams to look at complex outcomes–like safety, cohesion, compassion, and identity–that are not commonly covered in standard evaluative practices. This is a learning experience with a heavy focus on actual doing throughout the event. In addition to representatives from Fractured Atlas and MAH, we’ll have “camp counselors” from the United Way, WolfBrown, Harder & Co., Animating Democracy, and more on hand to help attendees navigate the conceptual and practical issues associated with measuring what matters.

If you are interested in attending, you can fill out an application through February 28. Space is extremely limited, so the sooner the better. We look forward to seeing you!