This Way Up - Evaluation
As we reach the end of 2020, I'm sharing some of the projects and organisations I've been working with this year, along with key things I've learned along the way.
This Way Up is the UK's conference for innovation in film exhibition. Each year, it brings together exhibitors from across the country and throughout the sector to connect with one another, learn from industry colleagues and share their thoughts on film in the UK today.
Image: This Way Up 2020
I was excited to work with Film Hub Scotland on the evaluation of the conference - focussing on the areas of most impact for attendees, and areas to build on for future editions. We were keen to look way beyond the metrics for the event, instead working alongside attendees to really understand their conference experience.
Based on this brief, I designed an evaluation plan for the conference:
- Using Mentimeter, an interactive presentation tool, I designed a series of quick reflection questions for attendees to share their reflections at key points throughout the event. These were designed to take just 1 minute to complete, and encouraged participants to reflect on how different sessions had made them feel, the moments that stood out to them, and the actions they'd be taking as a result of what they'd heard.
- Each day, I led a reflective session with all participants, creating a quiet space at the end of each day for attendees to think back about their learning. We focussed on what attendees were most keen to capture and take with them as they looked to the future, building an understanding of the areas of the event that had the greatest impact.
- Post event, I led a series of reflective learning sessions - online workshops to understand participants' post-conference sense of how the conference had impacted their challenges, relationships and impact. Participants were also issued with a series of postcards with creative prompts to capture their reflections one and two months post-conference.
These datasets were combined with quantitative data from registration forms and engagement analysis. Together, they provide a practically-focussed evaluation for the organisers - helping to shape the most effective and impactful delivery of This Way Up in 2021 and beyond.
Three things I learned:
The personal approach really works. The more I put my own stamp on evaluation, met participants face-to-face (or Zoom-to-Zoom), and made it clear that there was a real person behind all this evaluation, the better quality and quantity of data I got in return.
The value of a moment's breathing space. We had lots of good feedback about creating a moment for participants to pause and reflect at the end of each day of the conference, and lots of discussion about the importance of reflection in embedding learning. We can sometimes be so focussed on filling the time at events, it's easy to end up cramming things in. This was a good reminder of the value of thinking time to allow things to settle a bit.
Using a variety of approaches lowers the risk. I was a little nervous about the risk of anything going wrong with the online tools I used for evaluation, so used a mixed approach with a range of tools. In highlight, I think that lowered the risk of non-completion overall, provided a range of approaches to suit different people, and allowed us to test and compare a range of tools.