In this episode, we’re joined by Nora Murphy Johnson, co-founder of Creative Evaluation, which focuses on evaluation for truth, beauty, and justice. In a conversation about evaluation for healing and change, evaluation as sacred work and a noble calling, Nora tells us about the winding path she has taken as an evaluator, how her relationship with her husband, an artist and evaluator himself, informs the work they do together, how she’s working to bring embodiment to her practice and why it matters, and gives us a glimpse into how the first Creative Evaluation cohort is exploring new ways to understand and do evaluation. It’s a beautiful and powerful conversation filled with touching and profound insights on how we can, in Nora’s words, do “heart-centred evaluation”.
Kick things off right with Brian and Carolyn as we tackle one of the most deep and profound philosophical questions facing the field of evaluation—how do you even start one of these things!? Where do you begin with evaluation? What does it take to unravel the story behind the evaluation purpose? Why give people fake findings? What are the assumptions that can get you off on the wrong foot? What’s the value of a dumb question? How do we avoid the method trap? How does going slow help us go faster? And, most important of all, who’s actually going to listen all the way through that part in the middle where we got distracted talking about our respective file organization systems? Tune in and find out!
In this episode, we welcome our first guest FROM THE FUTURE (by which we mean Australia), Jade Maloney, of ARTD Consultants. Jade helps us “unbox” the theme of the upcoming Australian Evaluation Society 2019 conference, “Evaluation Un-boxed”. Join us as we unpack and deconstruct evaluation in every conceivable way. Why do we call ourselves evaluators? What does that mean? Are we just misunderstood? Can evaluation be a gift? How is evaluation like a creative writing class? Is evaluation more like socks, a gym pass, or a beautiful vase? What kinds of boxes are we putting ourselves in? How many people are we going to annoy by questioning whether we should define evaluation around determining merit, worth, and significance? Should we define ourselves more by what we do, how we do it, or why we do it? How many long, pensive silences did Carolyn have to edit out of the recording after we started asking really big existential questions? And just how many past episodes are we going to reference before the episode is over?
Carolyn and Brian are joined by special guest Chris Corrigan to talk about the intersections and interconnections of evaluation and facilitation. Are they warring factions? Soulmates in complexity? Can we “recover learning from the trauma of being judged” and move into a joyful practice as we navigate expertise in complexity for social change? Where does “mooshing” come into all of this? What do facilitators and evaluators have to offer each other and what can we wrestle with together? Tune in and find out! Bonus content: soccer, nonlinear pedagogy, and Brian’s bookclub foibles, not necessarily in that order.
Join Brian, Carolyn, and special guest Kim van der Woerd (Reciprocal Consulting) as we wander into the complex and intriguing world of principles-focused evaluation. Will our paradigms be shifted? Will our hearts be centered? Will we remember all the stuff that Michael Quinn Patton tried to instil in us from all the workshops and books and conference presentations?* Let’s hope! Tune in and find out what we have to say about how we can use storytelling, whether program logic models can be redeemed, and how we’re trying to overcome barriers to using principles-focused evaluation in our work.
Carolyn and Brian are back in the Eval Cafe and ready for a brand new school-year that’s just “chalk” full of learning! Pull up a desk, get out your binders and cahiers, and be prepared to take notes because this will be on the final exam. What’s Brian’s ultimate whiteboard hack? How does Carolyn justify putting a bed in their office? What educational experiences are Carolyn and Brian most looking forward to and how did they spend their summer vacation? Warning: this episode comes with a reading list.
In the first episode of 2018, Brian and Carolyn kick off the new year with some retrospective musings and a bit of peering off into the horizon with goals, directions, and personal challenges for the year ahead. We cover a little of everything in what may be a preview of podcast content to come—learning new stats programs, getting an evaluation credential, using arts-based methods (and why Brian should play the trombone at a stakeholder meeting), engaging with reconciliation as evaluators and new approaches to evaluation ethics, community development, evaluation conferences and more! Check it out to hear about Brian’s hot new podcast/blog idea and the context in which Carolyn uses the phrase “brain in a jar”