VRA conference review

28th Annual Visual Resources Association Conference

Atlanta, GA March 16 – 21, 2010

The Visual Resources Association (hereafter referred to as the “VRA”) is an international organization of image professionals. Members come from diverse ranges of institutions, from public and private universities both large and small to major museums and cultural institutions. The annual conference affords attendees the opportunity to develop professionally through workshops, sessions and professional networking.

Timeline of the whirlwind

I arrive in Atlanta at 6:00am, on a Wednesday, from a red-eye flight from Ontario airport. I chose a red-eye so I could make the most of my time in Atlanta and not have to pay for another hotel night. After getting to the conference hotel and dropping my bags off I went directly to the first workshop on strategic planning for visual resource collections, which began at 8:00am. The workshop took participants through the steps of creating and implementing a strategic plan.

After the workshop I attended a meeting of the VRA’s regional chapter chairs. The national VRA has 13 chapters. I remain the chair of the Southern California regional chapter after being re-elected in 2009.

That evening was the Members Welcome Reception which featured light snacks and a cash bar. During this event I had the chance to reconnect with many colleagues, many of which I see only at the annual conference, but whose presence I’m well aware of throughout the year.

After the reception I went out to eat with a colleague who was also in the Engaging New Technologies Session, we discussed the timing and topics over beer and food at a local brew pub called Max’s Lagers.

That night I continued working on my presentation.

The next day, Thursday, I attended a meeting of VRA’s Digital Initiatives Advisory Committee (DIAG).  DIAG is charged with monitoring new and emerging digital projects which have a collaborative element and reporting on these back to the membership. Very interesting discussions took place of collaborative projects, most interestingly was an idea to share and collect the visual history of institutional image management.

Thursday evening the VRA’s Southern California Chapter met at the Lobby Bar for drinks and casual conversation and was joined by members of the Northern California Chapter. It was great to have some time for informal brainstorming and banter, a lot of great ideas got tossed around and I’m looking forward to implementing some soon.

After the meeting I attended the VRA Members Reception and Dinner which was fantastic, followed by a trip to the Sun Dial lounge for cocktails with colleagues.

Friday was the day of the Engaging New Technology session, which would consume most of my day. The session was broken into two parts followed by the Engaging New Technologies Experts Booths, where we fielded questions in a less formal manner. The sessions were well attended and I felt went extremely well.

After the session everyone attended the annual raffle, which featured a cash bar and entertainment. That evening some of us went out to eat at a very cute restaurant called Social, followed by cocktails at the W hotel, and then beers at a local dive.

Saturday morning at 7:30am I attended the Leadership Breakfast. The breakfast allows for informal discussion and dialog about where the organization is going and how to improve.

After breakfast was closing plenary speaker Jason Roy, whose talk on Collections of Distinction was both engaging and inspiring. He clarified many issues of dealing with redundancies within institutional digital repositories in a way that I hadn’t heard before.

After the plenary I went to the High Museum with a few colleagues, I was quite impressed with their collections.

After the museum dinner and drinks…

Sunday I packed my bags, checked out, went back to the High Museum to see the rest of their collection and then got to the airport.

I’m currently on the plane heading back to Claremont. We’re currently over Texas and I should be home in another two hours or so. Tomorrow I’ll wake up and get to work by 9:00am, submit a travel report, edit this and begin a strategic planning.

[highly edited after the fact]

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