Dear Colleagues,
The next Annual Conference of the Visual Resources Association will be held from April 18th (Wednesday) through April 21st (Saturday), 2012, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It is VRA’s 30th anniversary, the pearl jubilee, although turquoise will surely be the more appropriate gem to don in this splendid Southwest venue. The conference theme is “Broadening Horizons” and we hope to accomplish this in a big way with a substantive program and very special events.

VRA Conference 30 returns us to a compact schedule to make it as affordable as possible and within reach for all VRA members. With the essence of the programming extending from mid-day Wednesday to mid-day Saturday, attendees only have to stay 3 nights to experience the full conference program. Don’t miss out on the action-packed, four-day schedule filled with interesting, timely, relevant information and fun social events. Of course, a longer stay is recommended to experience the full cultural richness of the region. The local arrangements group is assembling information about area highlights, such as the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, the Aerial Tramway to Sandia Peak, historic Route 66, and the National Hispanic or Indian Pueblo Cultural Centers. We encourage all VRA members and like-minded information professionals to join us in this beautiful location.

Our Conference headquarters will be the
Hotel Albuquerque in the heart of historic Old Town with landmarks, museums, shops, and restaurants in easy walking distance. It is a reasonably priced city to fly into and the International Sunport Airport is only 15 minutes away from the hotel. This venue provides authentic Southwest style and hospitality in a luxurious setting that is the perfect size for VRA. If the delicious Southwest cuisine isn’t enough to draw you in, perhaps free wireless in the lobby and guest rooms will (a special anniversary treat)! The reasonable room rate will be extended to the hotel’s sister properties in Santa Fe, making it viable to add on such an excursion to the beginning or end of the conference (only a 90 minute rail ride away). Albuquerque’s mild, dry climate should provide us with some Spring warmth.

VRA 30 will cover topics of significance and attract professionals from major academic institutions, cultural organizations, and the commercial sector. Our conference organizers, Vice-Presidents Steven Kowalik and Brian Shelburne, assisted by Cindy Abel Morris and a local arrangements group, have planned a program of sessions and events not to be missed. It offers some favorite formats as well as new, dynamic conference experiences. Highlights include:

  • Notable plenary speakers in Todd Carter, co-founder of Tagasauris, a crowd-powered tagging tool that uses the Web as a database to annotate images and other media for improved discoverability and Amy Herman, who designed, developed, and conducts sessions related to the Art of Perception.
  • What’s Your Story: VRA Open Mike Night is a new form of welcome event in which attendees can raise issues, report on projects, and ask questions to get the conference networking started.
  • Workshops on topics such as cataloging the art and architecture of the Americas, grant writing for special projects, DIY Web design, and effective communication with both decision makers and student staff.
  • A New Members and First-Attendees Breakfast, Student Member and Emerging Professionals Luncheon, Annual Business Meeting, Awards Ceremony, and Leadership Event along with the return of the Birds of a Feather Networking Lunches which provide conference attendees with an opportunity to socialize, network and casually discuss focused topics of interest over lunch.
  • Pertinent sessions and case studies on topics including new technologies, emerging professional roles, visual literacy, embedded metadata, cataloging issues, digital asset management, archival collections, outreach, collaboration, and using video in educational, scholarly, and archival contexts.
  • A 30th Anniversary Fiesta in the historic Casa Esencia, the Armijo family hacienda built in 1783, next door to and now owned by the hotel, to celebrate the distinctive identity of VRA as a professional community as well as a separate Tansey fundraising event entrenched in Southwestern culture.
  • A Vendor Slam complete with overviews of commercial partners’ products and services and plenty of opportunities for follow-up questions and individual consultation while enjoying refreshments and a shot at some special prizes.
  • Committee and Chapter meetings as well as Special Interest and User Groups oriented towards specific content management systems/utilities or more open-ended topics.

VRA 30 will offer an excellent opportunity to network, acquire new skills, and share experiences with your enthusiastic and knowledgeable professional colleagues—all in a convenient venue located in an accessible, yet spectacular Southwest setting.

Please plan now to join us in Albuquerque for what promises to be a memorable 30th anniversary conference where you can enhance your professional toolkit, catch up with colleagues, make new connections, and experience Southwest culture. On behalf of the VRA Executive Board and the local conference planners, we cordially welcome all of the members of VRA, as well as other interested colleagues, to share what will surely be a memorable conference. So, come and broaden your horizons, the sky is the limit!

Maureen Burns, President
Visual Resources Association


Final Conference Program (PDF)

Online Registration is now closed. Please register at conference registration desk.
VRA30 Conference Contacts
VRA President:
Maureen Burns
Steven Kowalik
Brian Shelburne
Marcia Focht
Billy Kwan
Jesse Henderson
Web Site:
Robb Detlefs
Local Resources:
Cindy Abel Morris