Interactive session: Using Systems Theory in Evaluation (online 29 October 2020)

Date and Time: Thursday 29th October 2020 4.00 - 5.30pm AEDT
Topic: Using Systems Theory in Evaluation - rerun of 'booked out' FestEval session!
Presenter: Brian Keogh, Cobalt59 - interviewed by Ruth McCausland, UNSW
Venue: Via Zoom. Details will be emailed to registrants just prior to the seminar start time
Register online by: noon on Tuesday 27th October. Places limited to 100 participants.

This is a free event organised by the New South Wales Regional Network Committee of the AES. Our seminar series provides an opportunity for you to meet with AES members and others in the evaluation community and to share and learn from the experiences of fellow evaluators.

Seminar overview:

What is systems theory and what relevance does it have to evaluation? How does complexity relate to systems thinking? How does a systems style evaluation replace a program logic? What does it look like in practice?

Bring your systems-related questions to this provocative and informative Q&A session with Brian Keogh, who has decades of experience in the complexity of water…a simple little substance that everyone and everything needs for life. This has spawned social, economic and environmental systems of mind-boggling complexity.

This session aims to challenge and broaden participants’ understanding of the value of systems thinking via the reflections of an experienced evaluator who has been facilitating a LinkedIn group on the topic since the AES conference in 2019.

Presenters' background

Brian Keogh has worked across community development, performing arts and the environment. After graduating from UNSW, he started working on First Nations issues under Glenda Humes, a proud Gunditjmara woman. He then set up Legs on the Wall, an international touring physical theatre company. When his legs slowed down, he managed the Millennium Celebrations, did his MBA and started working in water. He met the enigmatic Professor Ralph Renger and the amazing Andrew Hawkins (ARTD), and rode ambulances with them in the mid-west of USA discussing Ralph’s ideas around Systems Evaluation Theory. Along came Dr Lewe Atkinson (Haines in Brisbane), Julie Elliot (PhD in systems/complexity thinker) and the LinkedIn Systems Evaluation Group….the murky waters of complex problems became clearer.

Dr Ruth McCausland’s work focuses on systems-oriented and community-led responses to incarceration. Ruth is Research and Evaluation Director for the Yuwaya Ngarra-li partnership between UNSW and the Dharriwaa Elders Group, and Senior Research Fellow in the School of Social Sciences at UNSW. Her PhD was on evaluation and improving the diversion of Aboriginal women from prison, and she has a Masters in International Social Development. Ruth has previously worked as an evaluation consultant for government and non-government agencies and a policy advisor at the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board and Australian Human Rights Commission.

Session start times

  • NSW, Victoria, ACT, TAS: 4.00pm
  • SA: 3.30pm
  • QLD: 3.00pm
  • NT: 2.30pm
  • Perth: 1.00pm
  • New Zealand: 6.00pm

NB: Please ensure you have access to your email address just prior to the virtual seminar to access log in details. Please also check your email address details are correct on your registration form. Thanks.


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