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Update on AES response to COVID-19 (27 March 2020)

The AES is very aware of the current challenges and uncertainty you, your community and the evaluation community is facing.

The AES Board met last weekend to consider how we can best support our members and the evaluation community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Board would like you to know that:

  • the needs, health, and safety of our members, volunteers, staff and the wider community are paramount,
  • we are in a position to continue operating and to provide support and services to our members, and will be adaptive and innovative in an effort to provide that support as the pandemic unfolds, whilst ensuring that your society continues to trade sustainably,
  • work is currently underway to enable us to pivot operations to respond to ongoing and emerging members’ needs in a manner that complies with all health directives

In terms of first steps:

  • the AES office remains open and operating virtually (its physical location at the University of Melbourne is currently closed). Bill Wallace, CEO and Michelle Wightwick, Events and Membership Officer are available via phone and email, and I thank them for their efforts and dedication.
  • to protect the health and well-being of our volunteers, members, and the broader community our aes20 International Evaluation Conference scheduled to be held in Brisbane during September 2020 has been postponed to 2021.
  • the aes21 International Evaluation Conference Through the Lens will be held at the Brisbane Convention Centre from 27 September to 1 October 2021.
  • we will work with our committees and members to identify and pursue additional activities to support you at this time, including exploring providing online forums for members, online training, and virtual seminars and events
  • to support this work the the planned digital strategic project is being accelerated.
  • in addition to the AES Finance & Risk Committee meeting regularly to monitor the COVID-19 situation, a cross-cutting Member Working Group drawing its membership from all AES Board Advisory Committees will be established to help identify and advise on the needs of members as the pandemic unfolds.

I would like to particularly acknowledge the hard work, creativity and commitment of the 2020 Brisbane Conference Committee. The postponement decision has been made with some regret but it was important that they (and indeed, all our volunteers and members) are able to focus their time and energies on more immediate and existentially important matters. The Brisbane Conference Committee will retain the vision and theme of the 2020 conference in 2021, and later this year the sub-themes will be reviewed in light of the emergent environment.

If you’re looking for additional information on the support that is available for individuals, families, and businesses, the following sites may be of use:


New Zealand 

We will keep you informed as the AES response develops. In the interim, be safe, please follow all advice and direction of authorities in your area and we sincerely hope you, your family, friends and community remain well.

Kindest regards,

John Stoney
AES President 

COVID-19 update from Australian Evaluation Society (17 March 2020)

The health and safety of our members, volunteers, staff, and participants in our seminars and learning programs is of the utmost importance to us. We are also strictly adhering to Government and medical advice. 

Accordingly, we have postponed all March and April workshops and regional seminars, effective immediately. We have also suspended all air travel on AES business, mandated that all AES meeting be conducted virtually, and instructed our staff to work remotely, rather than in our office in Carlton. 

We realise this will come as a disappointment to those of you who had planned on participating in upcoming workshops and seminars but believe this is the most responsible course of action in the interest of the organisation and public health at this time. All workshop participants will be offered refunds during the next week. 

The above arrangements and emerging developments in the COVID-19 pandemic will be reviewed regularly by the CEO with the Board’s Finance and Risk Committee. 

We will continue to work diligently with AES committees and working groups, with every intention of recommencing face-to-face activities as soon as possible and bringing our annual conference in Brisbane to fruition in September this year.  Other members services, including the Evaluation Journal of Australasia, will continue as usual.

To contact us please phone +61 3 9035 3484 or email (and include your contact phone number) and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

We hope that you stay well and take care of yourself, and look forward to welcoming you to one of our events again soon. 

If you are seeking information on COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) visit or call the Australian Government Department of Health Coronavirus Information Line on 1800 020 080. This information line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

aes19 International Evaluation Conference, Sydney


AES19SYD photos drinks15sep2019 webThank you to everyone who un-boxed evaluation with us at the aes19 International Evaluation Conference.

Thank you to the almost 600 delegates who joined us for the three-day conference program and over 200 delegates who attended the conference workshops. The conference was stimulating, interactive and inclusive and the organising committee thank the delegates for travelling to Sydney and participating in the many sessions on offer.

Congratulations and thank you to the Indigenous emerging evaluators who received an aes19 Conference Support Grant.

Thanks to our keynote speakers: Tracy Westerman, David Fetterman, Gary VanLandingham and Jane Davidson. Tracy Westerman compelled us to think differently to address Indigenous suicide: by weaving personal story & passion with a strong case for change. David Fetterman picked up the thread of listening to community and recognising the expertise they bring to the table, when he spoke about empowerment evaluation. Gary VanLandingham took us beyond the box of individual program evaluations to evidence clearinghouses. Jane Davidson addressed the issues that had been bubbling since day one & un-boxed the core of our work: values. We can't be value-neutral - we should be guided by how well programs work for the people who have historically experienced the most marginalisation.

Thanks go to our beyond the box panel: Jess Dart, Kate McKegg, Jacqueline (Jax) Wechsler, Adrian Field & Jen Riley, as well as facilitator Dr. Emily Verstege, who took up Ingrid Burkett's provocations to think beyond programs to systems and thank you also to our un-conferencers and the delegates who joined our keynote speakers for the final panel session.

The aes19 photo album is available on the Australian Evaluation Society's Facebook page. Click here for link and don't forget to give us a like.

Conference presentations (pending keynote addresses) are now available and can be accessed here. For previous conference photos and papers please click here.

The AES Blog team invites you to submit your reflections on the conference: and presenters please consider submitting your paper for including in the Evaluation Journal of Australasia (EJA). For more details click here.

2019 Awards for Excellence in Evaluation

At the Gala Awards Dinner, we celebrated excellence in evaluation. Congratulations to the 2019 AES Awards for Excellence in Evaluation winners: 



Evaluation Policy and Systems Award

Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Centre for Evaluation and Research 


Indigenous Evaluation Award

Aboriginal Evidence Building Partnership Pilot

  • ARTD Consultants Simon Jordan, Sue Leahy, Ruby Leahy Gatfield, Kieran Sobels, Christine Eastman, Stephanie Quail, Imogen Williams, Holly Kovac
  • Aboriginal Evidence Building Team, Their Futures Matter: Nattlie Smith, Sharon Macleod
  • Coffs Harbour Aboriginal Community Centre Inc (Abcare): Garry Mathews, Greg Bennett, Trent Matthews
  • Tirkandi Inaburra Cultural and Development Centre: Matt Watts, Damien Thorne, Beverley Tucker, Department of Communities, and Justice Troy Mott, Department of Education


2019 AES Annual Report and AES board positions 

ar 2019

At the recent Annual General Meeting of the AES, it was announced that Sue Leahy was elected as Vice President, Carina Calzoni as Treasurer, and that Sharon Clarke and Kiri Parata were elected as Ordinary Board members.

Whilst welcoming the new board members, the AES President John Stoney thanked outgoing board members Jess Dart and Doyen Radcliffe, as well as Liz Smith and Dan Borg who left the Board during the year.

Click here for more details on the AES Board.

This year's Annual Report can be downloaded here.   

Reconciliation Action Plan

IMG 9174The AES launched the Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan at the aes18 Gala Awards Dinner, held at the Albert Hall, Launceston. The RAP is the result of more than a year of collaborative work by the Cultural Capacity and Diversity Committee (CCDC), and the Board. We encourage all AES members to actively engage with the initiatives and activities presented in this Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan, as we work together to improve evaluation’s engagement, respect for and collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.  


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