The theme of the 2024 Melbourne Conference is Wayfinding.

Wayfinding is an ancient process for navigating unfamiliar territory towards an intended destination. It encompasses physical and mental processes, tools, and strategies we can use to identify cues, interpret our surroundings, and navigate through complex spaces. 

At aes24, we will seek cues about evaluation across four areas. We will explore our destination: evaluation that contributes to societal and planetary wellbeing. We invite critical inquiry about the footprints of evaluation considering equity, decolonisation and the environment. We will discuss and share evaluation tools, their role, benefits, and risks. Finally, we consider the journey itself, how we learn and adapt in complex settings, shift the way we show up, and determine what skills, knowledge, and expertise we need today and in the future. 

In 2024 delegates and presenters are meeting face-to-face in Melbourne, Australia. Come along to share, network, and learn about what is happening in evaluation, and evaluation-related fields, in Australia, New Zealand, the Australasian region, and across the world.

When submitting a proposal for the main conference program, please ensure that your proposed presentation reflects the conference theme and one of the sub-themes. 

When planning your pitch, think about your audience and what will be meaningful for them. Also, consider what session type will best match your purpose. If you choose an interactive format, identify how participation will be of benefit to your audience. 

Once you have refined your idea, write your abstract in an appealing way that provides a ‘pitch’ for why people should come to your session. Proposals must be in English and expressed in clear, accessible and grammatically correct language.

Big Room Sessions: new this conference

We are looking for innovative ideas or suggestions for content that will appeal widely, to be presented in the big room (plenary theatre). We are open to suggestions for different structures or formats, noting that as it is a theatre with a stage there is no scope for workshop-style activities that require open space or movement of seats. Attendees will be seated lecture style. We welcome ideas for different ways to make the use of this space and the options for different lengths of time for sessions.

First Nations Peoples of Australia focused presentations 

In line with the AES First Nations Cultural Safety Framework, we are committed to supporting Australian First Nations Peoples to strengthen and build their evaluation capacity at aes24 and action our commitment to culturally safe evaluation theory, practice and use. The AES strongly encourages Australian First Nations-focused presentations and papers to be delivered by and with Australian First Nations people wherever possible. We encourage non-Indigenous presenters to refer to the AES First Nations Cultural Safety Framework to guide you when writing your submission, and include this in your justification statement. 

We honour and celebrate Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing in evaluation; and welcome Australian First Nations evaluators to share their voices and perspectives at aes24.

Proposals for conference presentations are closed.

Blind Peer Review
The AES conference uses double-blind review when assessing conference proposals. This means that author identities are concealed from the reviewers, and vice versa, throughout the review process. Please ensure that the proposal is prepared in a way that does not give away your identity.

Ignite presentations
This year we are continuing 'Ignite presentations'. The submission process is simple – provide a title for your talk and a 100 word 'pitch'. Ignite presentations will be reviewed by a single reviewer for audience relevance.

Face-to-face conference

It is a condition of making a proposal that you agree that all proposal presenters will be attending the conference in-person and that all presentations will be delivered face-to-face. Delegates will be able to network with colleagues in person. 

Target audience

Audiences at conferences are diverse – across nations, disciplines, uses and knowledge of evaluation Proposals should consider the intended audience – who would it be of most interest to. 

To help focus your proposal and support conference attendees to select sessions best suited to their interests, consider audience/s for your session. 

Foundational – Foundational sessions assume no previous knowledge from the audience – they are beginner-friendly. The topic is presented at an introductory level using accessible language that can be understood by non-expert audiences.

Intermediate – Intermediate sessions assume the audience has a working knowledge of the topic or concept but provides accessible language and avoids technical details to ensure engagement from non-expert audiences.

Advanced – Advanced sessions assume the audience has in-depth experience with and/or technical understanding of the topic. This stream is also suitable to presentations on niche topics that demand the use of technical language to convey complex concepts with precision.

Foundational and Intermediate

Intermediate and Advanced

Industry sector request

You are asked to choose the industry sectors that your proposal’s material covers. You can choose all that apply. 

Sectors include:

  • Arts and recreation services
  • Community, and social services
  • Economic development, tourism and infrastructure
  • Education and training
  • Environment and climate change
  • Health and disability
  • Information media and telecommunications
  • International development
  • Natural resources and energy (including agriculture, electricity, forestry, fishing, gas, mining and water)
  • NFP/Philanthropy
  • Public administration and safety

You will also have the opportunity to nominate another sector.

Presentation format options

The 2024 Conference will accept proposals in the following six formats:

  1. Short Paper
  2. Long Paper
  3. Panel
  4. Hands on session
  5. Ignite session
  6. Big Room session 

Click here for an overview of presentation options, including any abstract requirements.

In choosing a presentation format please consider the most appropriate format for your purpose. Presenters of long and short paper presentations are strongly encouraged to develop a written paper, although this is not a requirement for participation or a factor in program selection. We also encourage nominees of interactive sessions to consider developing short papers, reports, or other outputs synthesising the outcomes of these sessions (which can form part of the conference online proceedings).

It may be necessary to change the format of some proposals to deliver a well-balanced, comprehensive program. If your proposal is accepted, you may be asked if a format change is suitable.

Proposal content

All proposals (other than ignite sessions) must include the presentation title and the primary author, along with the abstract and a justification statement to justify why the presentation should be included on the program based on the selection criteria. Specific requirements for each of the sections are outlined below.


Session abstracts, except ignite sessions, (limit: 300 words) are a summary of the content of your session and will appear in the conference online program. Abstracts should be written in a concise and appealing way that provides a ‘pitch’ for why people should come to your session. 

All abstract (except for ignite sessions) should clearly:

  • Explain what your topic is
  • Explain the objective of the session and the importance of the topic 
  • Outline the core argument and the key (e.g. three) points or messages that will be shared in the session
  • Outline the design of the session to meet the objectives of the session type

When completing the online form you will also be asked to specify:

  • your target audience (foundational, intermediate, advanced, with the ability to select up to 2 audiences) when you upload your proposal.
  • industry sector/s (select up to 5)

Abstracts for ignite sessions only need to describe the topic and up to 3 key points that will be made. The word limit is 100 words.

Tips on preparing abstracts

Refer to the assessment criteria. 

To aid readability and comprehension please also ensure abstracts:

  • do not include acronyms, unless they are very well known internationally.
  • do not include jargon terms or words that will not be understood by many people.
  • are well written, do not have spelling or grammatical errors.

All abstracts will be edited to conform to the Australian Style Guide and Macquarie Dictionary. If you have access to those resources, please comply with the conventions. Use the Australian or UK English version of spell check.

If accepted, presenting authors may be asked to edit the abstract before inclusion in the conference program.

Justification statement

All sessions, except for ignite sessions, require a justification statement (word limit: 300 words). These statements are an opportunity to persuade reviewers that your session is worthy of a place on the program. Please read and address the selection criteria.

The justification statement outlines:

  • Why you have chosen the particular style of session to achieve your objective
  • Why the objective of the session is beneficial for attendees
  • The session’s contribution to the conference theme, one or more sub-themes
  • How the topic and session contributes to building or strengthening the field of evaluation (e.g. implications for evaluation theory and/or practice)
  • Outlines the presenters’ experience in facilitating sessions of this format.

NOTE: Please keep a copy of the abstract and justification statement for your records prior to clicking ‘upload’.

Presenters’ details

When completing the online submission, you will be asked to provide the presenters’ details, including name and organisation. 

If accepted, we will request an updated list of the presenters’ names as well as a short bio-note and photograph that will be used for the online program.

Criteria for assessment

In preparing your proposal’s Justification Statement please ensure you address the following criteria for assessment:

Criteria A
Relevance /Importance to AES Audience
The proposal should address topics that are of importance to a broad audience within AES and, if accepted, be likely to attract an audience.
Criteria B
Relevance /Importance to overall conference theme and to one or more of the sub-themes
The proposal MUST align with the conference theme and one of the sub-themes – the link needs to be explicit in the proposal. One or more sub-themes will be identified when submitting and used to stream the presentations.
Criteria C 
Technical quality
A proposal should meet high standards of technical quality in terms of methodological, conceptual and logical rigor.
Criteria D
Contribution to evaluation methods, theories, policies and practices
Proposals presenting the results, findings, and circumstances of a specific evaluation are welcome but should also identify how it contributes to the broader issues of significance for advancement of the evaluation knowledge-base or to skill building.
Criteria E
Meets required presentation format
Meets the requirements of the presentation format

NOTE: No individual may present in more than three conference sessions, including as a co-presenter

Ignite sessions have a separate review process. Presenters are asked to submit a title for their talk and a 100 word 'pitch'. The proposal will be reviewed against the criteria Relevance to AES audience. 

Note: The written 'pitch' does not require a justification statement. 

Room set-ups

The standard room set-up for conference presentations is theatre style.

Supporting resources

The modality will guide the structure of your proposal and presentation. Here’s a short selection of resources to support you in developing your session.

Conference presentation conditions

  • The 2024 conference is being held face-to-face in Melbourne, Australia and all presenters are required to be present in-person for their presentation (that is, hybrid or virtual presentations will not be accepted).
  • All conference presenters must register, and pay, for at least the day they are presenting (and every other day they are attending the conference).
  • To ensure that an accepted presentation (and its abstract) is included in the final program at least one presenter must register by 7 July 2024. All presenters must be registered by 31 July 2024.
  • There is an expectation that presentations will substantially match the description in the submitted abstract.
  • All abstracts must be prepared accordance to the guidelines provided. Incomplete or incorrect submissions will be will be rejected.
  • If the abstract is selected, consent is provided for the presentation slides (for oral presenters); video; audio recording and photos taken during the oral presentation presentation to be used and published following the conference by Australian Evaluation Society unless permission is withdrawn within 14 days of the conference closing.
  • Submission of your abstract/s implies you have read, understood and comply with these conditions.
  • Abstracts must be submitted by the presenting author who should complete all fields on the online submission form.
  • The person submitting the information must be one of the presenters.
  • The person submitting the abstract should be the nominated main contact of your abstract. All correspondence relating to the submission will be directed to this person, and they should in turn distribute to any other co-presenters.
  • Should your proposal be submitted you must immediately inform the organisers of any change of, or withdrawal, of presenters. The AES reserves the right to remove presentations from the program where substantial changes have been made to the original presenter roster.
  • If you are submitting more than one abstract a separate submission must be made for each one.

Note: Agreement to this requirement is a condition of submitting a conference presentation proposal.

How to submit your proposal

Click here for instructions on how to use and access the online submission system.