Workshop: Getting Started – A Shared Responsibility, Caring for Time-Based Media Artworks in Collections (MOMA)

  • Application Deadline: February 1, 2017

This workshop is part of The Museum of Modern Art’s Media Conservation Initiative. This initiative seeks to advance new strategies for the field of time-based media art preservation and restoration. Rethinking the role of the conservator in the museum setting as well as the knowledge and skills that future media conservators should possess, a series of media conservation workshops and peer forums will address these serious challenges, explore best practices, and identify long-term approaches to the care and collection of time-based artworks.
Workshop Dates: May 2 – 5, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. – participants are expected to attend the full program
Workshop Description: Does your institution have a collection of time-based media works in need of a long-term preservation plan? Are you uncertain where to get started? This four-day hands-on workshop will provide an in-depth overview of the processes and workflows which can be implemented at collections without dedicated time-based media conservators. Participants will leave with the knowledge and tools to design and execute action plans at their institutions.
Caring for time-based media collections is broadly acknowledged as a pan-institutional endeavor requiring direct involvement from curatorial, conservation, audio visual, IT, registrar and collection care staff. This will be reflected throughout the workshop curriculum as well as in the application itself which requires pairs of colleagues from the applying institution.
The 4-day workshop schedule includes:
May 2, Foundations
–Group session: collections and case studies
–Time-based media art: Part 1, a history of art production
–Practical session: Media format history
–Time-based media art: Part 2, a history of technology
–Conducting a media art collection survey
May 3, Acquiring Media Art
–Acquisition, step-by-step workflows and processes. This session will cover pre-acquisition, documentation, budgets, contracts, and rights, deliverables, registration, artist interviews/questionnaires, policies.
–Practical session: Acquisition, four case studies. This exercise will cover a broad range of challenges, including a range of media (analogue to born digital), legacy and dedicated equipment, fixed and variable parameters for installation.
May 4, Exhibition: Treatment and Decision Making
–Practical session: seeing and hearing demonstration of the effects of different display equipment and the material characteristics of film and video.
–Documentation critical to the preservation of media arts. The session will cover exhibition history, artist interviews, curatorial perspective, art historical context, assessment of media elements, and case studies.
–Practical session: preparing an artwork for exhibition 360 degrees.
May 5, Advocacy: Establishing institutional media conservation
–Practical session: Creating exhibition documentation and installation instructions for loaning media artworks.
–Building infrastructure in-house for safe handling. Support network of outside partners and vendors.
–Storing media artworks: physical, digital, and equipment storage, with approaches for small to large collections.
–Roundtable: growing media conservation practice within institutions. This will include advocacy for building capacity, priorities, external collaborators, policy and procedures.
–Growing media conservation practice within your institution: a dialogue with leaders in the field.
Eligibility: This workshop is open to pairs of applicants who are responsible for the care of a time-based media art collection. Applicant teams must include a curator and the person directly responsible for the care of the time-based media. This could be a conservator, audio visual technician, collection specialist or manager, etc.  Priority will be given to those with significant collection needs, a critical need for staff training and demonstrable institutional desire to take action. Enrollment is limited to allow for a collaborative working environment. Participants will be required to conduct basic preparatory work prior to the workshop and provide feedback in the form of a report or survey after attending the workshop.
How to Apply: Applicants should each submit a CV, a joint letter of interest, fill out the online Collection Data Form and submit one letter of institutional support. The applicants’ letter of interest should:
1) describe why participation in this workshop is important to their collection;
2) provide a brief history of the collection;
3) describe the applicants’ work with the collection to date; and
4) show how this workshop directly applies to their day-to-day work. Prior institutional action, and experience with the topic or lack thereof should be noted as well as any relevant conferences or workshops attended on related topics.
Travel and lodging expenses may be reimbursed, based on need. Please submit a basic budget of anticipated travel costs as part of the application. There is no fee for this workshop; English will be the language of instruction. Applications should be submitted to, no later than February 1, 2017, with notifications expected by March 3, 2017.
The Museum of Modern Art’s Media Conservation Initiative is made possible through a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.