Anzea 2014 Conference Keynote – Karen Kirkhart

The ANZEA 2014 conference was held at the iconic Te Papa – Musuem of New Zealand – on the Wellington waterfront.


The conference theme – Our House, Our Whare, Our Fale: Building Strong Evaluation in Aotearoa New Zealand – had a focus on building robust evaluation in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Unpacking the Evaluator’s Toolbox; Observations on Evaluation, Privilege, Equity and Justice

anzea kirkhart strong p2

Karen’s opening keynote on day two of the conference (8 July) explored the position of privilege that evaluation and evaluators enjoy, often unrecognized – and its potential to undermine strong evaluation that supports equity and justice.

“The house of evaluation is a house of privilege” and “when we fail to appreciate the dynamics of privilege/power surrounding and infusing our evaluation practice, it undercuts evaluation’s ability to advance social justice… While evaluation is on the rise, social betterment has not necessarily followed…”

anzea keynote kirkhart p1

Using the metaphor of a toolbox Karen argued that privilege is “not only something packed into the evaluator’s toolbox but also the structure of the box itself.”

2014-07-09 panel karen2Karen stepped through the need to recognize, unpack and interrogate privilege in pursuit of strong evaluation

  • Recognize privilege be aware of the privilege that comes with the enterprise and one’s role within it
  • Unpack privilege – calling into question invisible/unexamined assumptions rooted in our professional training, our individual characteristics and our personal and collective lived experiences
  • Interrogate privilege – examine invisible assumptions anchored in unrecognized ways in dominant culture

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