Newsletter | October 2021
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Network with your peers at the Design Matters Conference through table topics (small group discussions), affinity groups, and open networking in the virtual ballroom. Join us virtually on December 2-3!

Open Networking

If you crave a little free time to just catch up with friends and colleagues, the virtual ballroom will support Open Networking, so table hop as you wish.

Table Topics

If you prefer more structured networking, select AAO members have signed up to host small group discussions and share outs on the following topics.

The Future of Virtual Tours 
This past year, many tour providers in the AAO network developed a new set of skills and invested in new technologies to support the creation of a virtual tour program. While time-consuming and somewhat involved to produce, they can provide benefits in terms of dropping certain accessibility barriers and promising broader audience reach. Now that we are able to return to our traditional in-person tour programming, what place will virtual tours have in your overall programming menu? Let’s discuss ideas and opportunities.

What’s Working for You? Volunteer Management 
Participants at this Table Topic are invited to share strategies and fulfilling work opportunities they have found for engaging volunteers virtually, as well as any plans or successful attempts to provide volunteer training and onboarding in an online setting. We’ll collect our ideas into a shareable toolkit.

In-Person/Virtual/Livestream: How are You Positioning Your Programs?
As we begin returning to in-person programming, there’s suddenly a new menu of options for serving multiple audiences across different settings. How are you valuing live in-person programming versus other online experiences? We will discuss program formats, marketing and communicating the same event to multiple audiences, pricing, and more.

Examining Your Organization’s Carbon Footprint
With all the talk of global climate commitments and big picture thinking, let’s take a moment to investigate the small steps your organization can take to start making a difference (and changing your internal culture). From zero waste catering to resetting guidelines for work travel, there’s a lot that can be done with little to no budget impact. If you are already doing this work or wanting ideas on where to start, come join the conversation.

Outside Four Walls: New Adventures in Digital Exhibitions
As architecture centers re-open to a public eager to return to in-person gallery spaces, what role do digital exhibitions have in your longer-term exhibition plans? Join this Table Topic to engage in a conversation around the new landscape of online exhibition-making. We invite participants to share (and learn about) different types of digital exhibitions that they have created or consumed—from web-based content to curated apps to 3D simulations of gallery spaces.

What’s Working for You? Ice Breakers for Students on Zoom
Participants at this Table Topic are invited to share their successful virtual community-building activities, as well as any ideas for how educators and facilitators can continue using technology to help encourage student participation in-person. We’ll collect our ideas into a shareable toolkit.

Diversity and Inclusion Commitments
If your organization has adopted a framework or strategic plan for addressing diversity and inclusion in your staffing, programming, audiences, or volunteer bases, come share your ideas with us. We’re curious to know where you’ve been having success and where you’ve been most challenged. We will collect any resources you have developed or have been using to guide your work.

Post-Pandemic Fundraising
At this Table Topic, come exchange tips and recent experiences on what to expect from fundraising events and other in-person cultivation opportunities. What trends do you see continuing into the foreseeable future? What have you noticed is most appreciated by donors today?

Affinity Group Meetings

AAO Staff and Board will be hosting two concurrent Affinity Group Meetings to help specific cohorts get more acquainted and involved with AAO.
New Directors Round Table
If you have taken up an executive director position at a design organization within the past 24 months, please take this opportunity to meet a cohort of fellow new directors. AAO can be an invaluable hub for sharing challenges and success stories with your peers. As always, all CEO Network convenings encourage open conversation and follow Chatham House Rules.

Emerging Leaders Network
AAO seeks to identify and support young talent from across the field by establishing a regular venue for focused professional development and debate. Our efforts will be aimed at those who are less than 10 years into their career or aged between 25-40. At this meeting, we will discuss a proposed framework for engagement suited to the needs of this specific group. If you think young voices should be meaningful contributors in shaping the future of our field, and you wish to have sustained access to your immediate peers from other cities as well as today’s top leaders, here’s your chance to help us refine this important future AAO program.
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About AAO

The Association of Architecture Organizations (AAO) is an international member-based network that connects, supports, and advocates for organizations and individuals around the world devoted to advancing the role of architecture, planning, and design in service to society. Learn more at

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