42nd Annual Meeting – Opening Session, May 29, "The Long and Winding Road . . . Effective Advocacy, Fundraising, Networking, & Collaboration: Promoting Sustained Preventive Conservation Globally" by Debra Hess Norris

Across the globe, people are united in the desire to preserve tangible and intangible cultural heritage during catastrophic natural disasters, warfare, economic collapse, and other crises. Photographic collections, for example, are considered valuable to many cultures yet traditional photographic processes are disappearing. These collections are incalculable in number, many exist under poor conditions, and only a small percentage of them are inventoried systematically.
As professionals, we are accustomed to evaluating the condition of collections such as these and perform analytical research. While these pursuits are essential to the field, Debra Hess Norris reminds us that we must engage in intercultural dialogue, advocacy, and fundraising in order to effectively care for global cultural heritage.
We must not operate in isolation but rather promote education and training through hybrid and certificate programs. We must build public awareness and advocate for our cause through traditional media, social media, bilingual platforms, and crowd sourcing. We must pursue external support from organizations such as the Giving Pledge, Clinton Global Agenda, Gates Foundation, Luce Foundation, and US Ambassador Fund. The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works and FAIC should facilitate communication with the Institute of International Education, Department of State, and the Alliance for International Education and Cultural Exchange. In addition, AIC and FAIC must participate with ICCROM, ICOM, IIC, and UNESCO.
In closing, Norris reminds us that our projects – small and large, local and global – must be significant. She demonstrates this through a slideshow featuring John Lennon’s “Imagine” and images of photographic preservation projects from the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, Europe and Asia.
About the Speaker
Debra Hess Norris earned an interdisciplinary B.A. degree in chemistry, art history, and studio art (1977) and M.S. degree in conservation (1980) from the University of Delaware. She has taught more than 100 workshops and seminars for conservators and allied professionals, has authored more than 35 articles and book chapters on the care and treatment of photographic materials, conservation education, ethics, and emergency response, and has collaborated on a series of Worldwide Photographic Preservation Projects with conservation professionals, organizations, and agencies.
Norris has served as chair of the AIC Ethics and Standards Committee (1990-1993), as president of the AIC (1993-1997), on the National Task Force for Emergency Response (1995-2000), and chair of Heritage Preservation (2003-2008). Currently residing as Chair of the Art Conservation Department at the University of Delaware and Professor of Photograph Conservation, she serves on the board of the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA) and the Advisory Committee for the FAIC Hermitage Photograph Conservation Initiative.
Related Lectures/Webinars
ECPN Webinar: “Conservation Education, Outreach, and Advocacy” with Teresa Myers, Richard McCoy, and Sarah Barack. April 2013.
ECPN Webinar: “Self-Advocacy and Fundraising for Personal Research” with Debra Hess Norris. July 2012.