42nd Annual Meeting: Emerging Conservation Professionals Network (ECPN) Luncheon, May 29th- Speed Networking and Career Coaching

The Scene: Anyone entering the hotel atrium at the AIC Annual Meeting on Thursday from 12-2 might have confused the pairs of people at numbered tables as a new conservation speed-dating event.  To give members a similar ability to make multiple connections in a limited time, the Emerging Conservation Professionals Network (ECPN) organized a speed-networking event that enabled approximately 100 conservators to meet face-to-face.

The Set-up: Before the networking began and while enjoying a boxed lunch, participants heard from various speakers.

  • Anna Zagorski and Angela Escobar, members of the Communications Group of the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI), spoke on behalf of GCI, the event sponsor.  GCI strives to advance the field of conservation through the creation and dissemination of knowledge to the field and for the field, using a variety of resources.  Information on GCI can be found on the GCI website.
  • Elena Torok and Greta Glaser gave a moving and heartfelt memorial to their WUDPAC classmate of 2013 and fellow emerging professional, Emily Schuetz Stryker, who passed away unexpectedly in February.
  • Stephanie Lussier, the AIC Board liaison to ECPN, gave a brief history of ECPN and lauded its accomplishments thus far, including the webinar series and portfolio symposium from the 2012 Annual AIC meeting.
  • Megan Salazar Walsh, current ECPN Vice Chair and upcoming Chair, also recognized current ECPN officers and liaisons, AIC staff Ruth Seyler and Ryan Winfield, and the specialty groups who contributed to the event.

The Conservators Conversing: In the weeks leading up to the event, participants filled out a questionnaire ranking their preferences of matches and the topics to be discussed.  Each person received a different match for the three 15-minute sessions based on their responses.  At the event the participants were given their matches’ information, as well as a handout on basic career and resume-building advice.  Pairs found one another for each session at designated tables, and soon the room was abuzz with enthusiastic energy from emerging and established conservator alike.  Two established professionals wandering by the event even joined in the fun and provided last-minute guidance.

“This was so much fun! I loved the variety of people I was matched up with. Thanks to all that organized this event for all of your hard work! I found it extremely rewarding.” – Alexandra Nichols
“This was my favorite part of the conference! The mentors I was paired with gave thoughtful and useful advice, and I hope to continue contact with them. Thank you for this opportunity, and I hope that we can continue more events like this in the future.” – Jacinta Johnson
“I met some really wonderful people during this event. Thanks for all your hard work ECPN!” – Amy Hughes
“You guys really outdid yourselves! Thank you for setting up such a fun and helpful event!” – Jackie Keck
Thanks to everyone who participated to make this first networking event a success!
The author would like to dedicate this blogpost to Eliza Spaulding in recognition of her hard work as ECPN Chair through 2012-2013.  Thank you, Eliza.

ECPN Updates: Spring 2014

Wondering what the Emerging Conservation Professionals Network (ECPN) has been up to for the past few months? Check out updates on a selection of our projects:
Liaison Program
To form a connected community of emerging conservation professionals, ECPN has an active liaison program that features regional liaisons throughout North America, as well as Graduate Program liaisons, and Specialty Group liaisons.
The Regional Liaisons represent pre-program students and post-graduate professionals from specific geographic regions. Anyone who is committed to serving as the voice for emerging conservators (EC) is welcome to become a regional liaison. The Liaison’s main responsibility is to act as the link between ECPN and EC’s in their area — to inform ECPN of EC interests and concerns, offer suggestions, and disseminate ECPN information. To help build their regional community, the liaisons are encouraged to organize local events. This year, ECPN has created a Regional Liaison Toolkit with examples of activities and advice on how to reach out to EC’s. These activities range from museum and conservation lab visits, to “Angel’s Projects,” to Happy Hours.
Liaison Activities
Regional and Specialty Group liaisons participated in the bimonthly ECPN conference call on March 12th. During the call, regional liaisons asked questions on behalf of emerging conservation professionals in their area, especially regarding the upcoming lunchtime networking event at the Annual Meeting. Several reported on activities that they have been holding in their respective cities, including happy hours, discussions about advocacy, and viewings of the film Monuments Men. Many liaisons utilize the active ECPN Facebook page to initiate and plan activities, while some have created their own regional pages. If you have not connected with your regional liaison, and if you are not on Facebook, please write to the ECPN Chair at the email address below to obtain information on your region.
2013-2014 Regional Liaisons:
Arizona (Phoenix/Tucson): Crista Pack, Skyler Jenkins
California (LA/Berkeley/San Francisco): Amanda Burr, Rio Lopez, Alexa Beller
Colorado (Denver): Courtney VonStein Murray
Florida: Kimberly Frost
Illinois (Chicago): Melina Avery
Indiana (Indianapolis): Rebecca Shindel
Iowa (Iowa City): Jessica Rogers
Massachusetts (Boston): Christian Hernandez, Mayasara Naczi
Minnesota (Twin Cities): Amber Kehoe
Missouri (St. Louis): Jackie Keck
New England (Burlington, VT): Emily Gardner Phillips
New York (New York City): Julia Sybalsky, Jessica Pace
Ohio (Cincinatti): Ashleigh Scheiszer
Pacific Northwest (Kirkland/Seattle, WA): Emily Derse Pellichero, Lisa Duncan Goedecke
Pennsylvania (Philadelphia): Sara Levin
South Carolina (Columbia): Jennifer Bullock
Texas (Austin/Houston/Houston): Sarah Hunter, Erin Stephenson, Gabriel Stephanie Dunn
Graduate Program and Specialty Group liaisons serve as links between ECPN and the groups that they represent. They also keep us informed of emerging conservator interests and concerns, and help to disseminate ECPN information, but are not expected to organize events. Below is our current list of graduate program liaisons. Our list of specialty group liaisons currently is being updated.
2013-2014 Graduate Program Liaisons:
Buffalo State College: Christina Taylor
Columbia University: Melissa Swanson, Beata Sasinska
New York University: Desi Peters
Queen’s University: Samantha Fisher, Marie-Lou Beauchamp
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA): Currently no liaison
University of Texas School of Architecture (UTSOA): Sarah B. Hunter
University of Delaware (WUDPAC): Michelle Sullivan, Jacinta Johnson
The regional liaison list will continue to be updated throughout the year. To connect with your liaison, or if you do not see your region listed and would like to be a regional liaison, please contact ECPN Outreach Officers, Carrie McNeal (clinnmcneal [at] gmail [dot] com) or Saira Haqqi (haqqis [at] gmail [dot] com).
Public Relations (PR) Toolkit
A Public Relations Toolkit is being developed on the AIC Wiki to provide tangible resources for AIC members to use when speaking about and promoting conservation. These tools will offer information about direct communication with the public and the press, using both traditional and social media outlets. It is anticipated that these resources will assist AIC members working in institutions of all sizes and scope as well as those working in private practice in advocating for conservation and raising awareness of our field. This year, ECPN hopes to begin migrating information gathered on the AIC Wiki to downloadable documents that AIC members can easily access and use, and to continue to identify areas of development. This is a collaborative project and the final product will greatly benefit from participation from many different members of AIC. To see the PR Toolkit progress thus far, visit the AIC Wiki page on “Public Relations and Outreach Resources,” organized under the “Work Practices” category.
For more information or to share ideas, please contact ECPN Chair Eliza Spaulding (elizaspaulding [at] gmail [dot] com).
Mentoring Program
ECPN is working to develop a self-matching tool for AIC members through the new on-line Member Directory. This self-directed tool will allow both mentors and mentees to publish their interest in the mentoring program via their directory profile and to search potential matches according to shared professional interests, geographical location, and specialty.
Upcoming Webinars
ECPN currently is developing two webinars for the spring and summer, which are open to all AIC members. Stay tuned for details on the date and time of each program:
– Outreach and advocacy in late April: An introduction and overview of outreach and advocacy strategies for conservators at all stages of their professional development. Our scheduled speakers include three conservators who have engaged in this topic in unique ways: Teresa Myers, who participated in Museum Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill; Sarah Barack, co-chair of AIC’s K-12 Outreach Group; and Richard McCoy, who has created a number of innovative web projects that highlight the work of conservators.
– Pre-program experience in July: A conversation with representatives from the North American graduate training programs in conservation on making the most of your pre-program experience and representing them effectively during the graduate application process.
Recent Emerging Conservation Professional Discussions
In addition to providing a forum for emerging conservation professionals to connect, the ECPN Facebook page has also recently been a site for discussion of issues currently affecting post-graduate conservators. ECPN welcomes these discussions and invites conservators at all career stages to participate in them.
Questions about the mission of ECPN? Read our recently revised charge on ECPN’s page on the AIC website. ECPN also has a flier available for use at meetings and events that explains and promotes the network. To access the flier, please write to the ECPN Chair at the email address below.
Thoughts and comments about any of the above information can be sent to ECPN Chair, Eliza Spaulding, at elizaspaulding [at] gmail [dot] com.

ECPN Minutes from January 14, 2014

On the recent Emerging Conservation Professionals Network (ECPN) conference call, the meeting minutes from January 14, 2014 were approved for posting.
ECPN Conference Call Minutes
Tuesday, January 14, 2014 | 12-1pm ET
Submitted by Fran Ritchie
In Attendence:
Network Members:
Eliza Spaulding (Chair)
Megan Salazar-Walsh (Vice-Chair)
Michelle Sullivan (co-Professional Education and Training)
Anisha Gupta (Webinars)
Saira Haqqi (co-Outreach)
Fran Ritchie (co-Communications)
Kendall Trotter (co-Communications)
Ryan Winfield (AIC Staff Liaison)
Ruth Seyler (AIC Staff Liaison)
Not in Attendance: Ayesha Fuentes (co-Professional Education and Training), Carrie McNeal (co-Outreach), Stephanie Lussier (AIC Board Liaison)
Non-Network Members in Attendance:
Daisy DeMarsh
Sara Levin (Regional Liaison- Philadelphia)
Heather Brown (Photographic Materials Specialty Group Liaison)
Kelly McCauley (Collection Care Network Liaison)
Conference call #: 866-225-4944
Pin: 9992396916
-Approve November 12, 2013 meeting minutes– Megan approved. Post to blog and Facebook
-Annual meeting:
Eliza: Thanks for all your work so far.  Ruth, for the happy hour, have you made any more connections on location and time allotment?
Ruth: Thinking about the Atrium area just off lobby, so that it’s easy for people to find.  That’s one option.  But we need to be sure to have cash bar set up, even if we hand out drink tickets, so that way if it is accessible for AIC members who want to come over, that can control the bar tab.
Eliza: Is the hotel bar still an option? Ruth: That’s an option, but if in the Atrium it would be as if done in a meeting room-the drink order would be through banquets [department], as well as the appetizers.  The hotel bar is a little more tucked away.  Drink prices might be same, we might save on apps from the bar, but not much.
Eliza: Are you planning to go out again to the site to reassess?
Ruth:  Yes, in March or early April.  Both locations are close enough to list as Atrium in brochure.  If makes more sense cost-wise, we can make the change later from Atrium to bar.
Eliza: Thoughts on time slot?
Ruth:  Space is reserved for evening, but really we can do what you think would be the most popular time.  Now that you don’t have a portfolio review, we might want to do it later as people arrive?  Either 6-8 or 7-9.
Eliza: I’ll see what’s already scheduled for that day.
Ruth: Workshops will be over, day tours are at different times and will probably be back to hotel by then… late afternoon tours, pre-sessions that are free in registration are 4:30-6:30, which would make a 6:30 or 7 start time make sense.  And you really can go as late as you want, but if we do end up being in the Atrium and going through Banquet, you pay a bartender charge for some of the hours, but there may be an hourly  minimum anyway, making is go until 10 (a 4 hr min).
Eliza:  That start time makes sense and we’ll see what contract says.  Other suggestions for activities to make happy hr more engaging (been low key and nice in the past, so don’t need to do new ideas, necessarily)? Such as, all officers wear stickers that say “come talk to me about ECPN.”
Megan: We should wear those stickers all the time.  (Michelle agrees.)
Eliza: Ok we’ll plan on that. What about give people at happy hr different color stickers and encourage them to talk to others with same color? In the past it seems like people mixed really well.  Just throwing that idea out?
Ruth: The only thought about that, with the locations– we’re so visible to people checking in, you’ll get more AIC members stopping by, which might get a little confusing with the stickers.  If want pure ECPN only happy hr, might want to look at a different place.  You’ll naturally attract other AIC members.
Eliza: I wasn’t really thinking of it being an ECPN only event, I know a lot come hoping to mingle with not just emerging professionals…so maybe this is unnecessary.
Megan: It is always nice to have excuse to talk to someone, even if you already know people. People probably stick to talking to people you already know.  If you have excuse, you’re more likely to talk to people you don’t know.  I like the idea, don’t think it’s necessary, but it could make a difference.
Eliza: I guess the other option is I could stand at front and encourage mingling with other people, too.
Megan: I think if officers are wearing stickers that could encourage them, too.
Fran: What about regional liaisons wearing a sticker with where they’re from?
Eliza: Good idea, we’ll have to get a sense of who’s coming first so we can have that ready.
Anisha:  And what about graduate school liaisons? Good for pre-program and schools talk to each other.
Eliza: Yeah, again, I think this is good… encourage the entire liaison network… and if they want to wear a sticker throughout the entire conference that would be good. **So put that on to-do list to make that happen.
Eliza: What did people think of the schedule I sent out for the program?
Ruth: I haven’t had chance to see; I can look at it after this call.
Megan: So half hour for resume reviewing, 15 min for speed-networking, right?
Eliza: Yes, we’re trying to figure out how to do all of them.  I only met with people for 8 min at the AAM conference speed-networking, so it was a lot shorter, but since we’re a more focused conference, I thought we could do more time.  I feel like half an hour seems like good amount of time for resumes, could be maybe a little too short.
Ruth:  If we changed it to 15 min for resume, it could end up being a little too short, but keeping it longer—it’s not bad if people end early. Eliza:  Good, we’ll keep those lengths.
Megan:  The switchover will be the hardest part because there might be time wasted finding next person.
Eliza: Yes, we want the session to synch up in some way so it isn’t insane and super confusing.
Megan: Yeah, it could get chaotic really quickly.
Eliza: Ruth, we’ll wait to see what you think after you review the schedule.  Basically it’s 12-12:45 lunch period (still waiting to hear about if we’ll be sponsoring lunch or ask people to bring lunches), and during that time will also be our informational meeting. 12:45-1:45 we’ll jump into the program with time to wrap up before people leave at the end.
Ruth: One thing people can’t do is bring outside food into the hotel, so if we can’t get a sponsor for meals at lunch, we might have to look at just starting at 12:45 to give people a chance to pick up something before they arrive. When it gets closer and we have a budget, maybe AIC could be the sponsor.  It’s the kind of thing that if one person has a subway sandwich [outside food] it’s fine, but if everyone does that and it seems like we’ve encouraged it, the hotel would be mad and it would be against our contract. Getty still thinking of being a sponsor, but it’s getting stuck in their internal structure. They don’t know yet.
Eliza: Good to know we can’t bring in outside food.  We’ll wait to see what happens with that and then figure how our info meeting would fit in, too.  Moving on to speed networking application intake process.  I’ve been thinking a lot because I know this will be big part of the next few months.  Ryan, do you think we can post questionnaire on AIC website, have submissions sent to the office, and then forwarded to one of us?
Ryan: I thought we would have the form on AIC site and then give people an e-mail address to send it to [once completed] that would forward to an ECPN person.  We can have the system where it goes to one e-mail address, but through g-mail you can set up to have e-mails forwarded to other people from that account.  Other committees have it working that way.
Eliza: Ok that sound good to everyone who will be helping out with this?  Sounds good.  So we could do it that way and then dump all applications in one spot that we can all access like a dropbox account or something.  We can talk about more over e-mail, but anyone want to be the person?  (Saira volunteers)  And Ryan, the Cuba trip is coming up, so when is earliest to get these forms out to people?
Ryan: Yes, I will be out of the office Jan 23rd-Feb 4th.  I’m probably out the 6th and 7th or that next Monday, not sure yet.
Eliza: So maybe we should try to catch you before you leave, if we can.
Ryan: Once the form’s created, it should be fairly easy to post on-line.
Eliza: I know this isn’t the format we have to do, but it occurred to me that writeable PDF’s you can save and then e-mail to people.  It might be a setting when you set up the writeable form.
Ryan: There shouldn’t be a reason why people couldn’t save the blank form we give them when they fill it out and then send it back to us.
Eliza: What did people think of speed networking questionnaire? Saira, I saw your comment from your e-mail this morning about a new question.
Saira: Yes, to ask the person what they are interested in talking about with the other people.
Eliza: Yeah, I thought it was inherent in the other question, but maybe not.
Saira: I figure people are at different points in their career, so they might have a particular concern that they want to ask others about.
Eliza: It can’t hurt to add that.  Any other feedback? We’ll go ahead and work with that.  The one thing is, I can make it into a writeable PDF, but it’s hard to make changes once it’s done, so now is the time to change things.  We can continue this discussion over e-mail.  Any thoughts about the resume review doc that was created? Fran and Anisha I think it’s looking really good, so I’d like Stephanie to weigh in, so we’ll make sure she sees it. We can move forward with getting resumes from various people.  Anisha: that sounds good.
Eliza: Michelle, how is career coaching coming along?
Michelle:  It’s coming along; I hope to have it to you guys very soon.  I looked over the resume review to have similar formatting.  I’m hoping it’s not too much overlap with the resume document.  You can judge once I post on basecamp.
Eliza:  Megan, how about drafting letters to solicit mentors?
Megan: I haven’t started that yet, when would be a good time to put out a call for it? Eliza: What do you think about that question, Ruth?  When should we solicit mentors?
Ruth: Now is an appropriate time when people are registering and thinking about the conference. I would definitely start now with an e-mail, and we can put info about the event on AIC website, now that we have more structure for the program. And put a prompt about registering as a mentor (to click here).
Megan: I’ll start drafting something to have by the end of the week.
Eliza:  We’ll want to solicit widely. We’re hoping people will want to volunteer, but we should send out calls to Specialty Groups (SG’s), as well as through ETC.
Megan:  Yes, I was thinking of writing SG’s and asking ETC what their thoughts are.  Any other committees to target as well?
Eliza:  All the groups, CCN we’ll want to reach out to…  We can also see how we can use our liaison network to help with this, too.  For example, to distribute the work, draft one letter and explain the goal to the liaisons, and then ask them to tweak it to their groups specifically.  For the poster: Heather and Sara are joining us on the call today.  A lot of organization we need to do with the poster.  I was reviewing the abstract last night- let’s talk about topics we want to cover in the poster.  For example, in the abstract we say we’ll talk about overview of existing platforms, comparing them, soliciting feedback from people who have used them, etc.  Heather and Sara shared ideas in e-mails with more ideas, like how to achieve best image quality, compare and contrast the hard copy and soft copy portfolios, and the pros and cons of each.  What does everyone think of those ideas?
Sara: It’s good to talk about the different platforms because there are so many of them and they pop up more every day.  Some strengths and weakness, and what’s useful for our specific needs and of each platform.  All platforms are different.
Heather:  Are you still planning to do a webinar on e-portfolios, or is the poster covering that?
Eliza: Good question, it’s not currently planned for this year (by June 2014), but it’s still on the list, so could be after that.
Heather:  Sounds like a lot to cover in the poster.  Maybe focus on creating one, or if you should, and then later present a how-to?
Eliza: That was my reaction, too.  We have big ideas and I’m wondering logistically how to cover all of these. Once we know who’s in the working group, maybe revisit the ideas and figure out priority of ideas.  Ones that don’t get covered, we can have companion blogpost, handouts, etc.  Fit in what makes sense.  Who is working on it… Heather and Sara, Kendall and Saira?
Sara: Who is actually writing the poster?
Eliza: To be determined; who wants to work on it and create a tentative schedule for achieving milestones.  I was wondering if Carrie wanted to be involved, but she’s not on call.
Michelle: I thought Carrie would be in it as well.
Megan: It’s kind of her brainchild.
Eliza:  I’ll reach out to Carrie to see what she’s thinking.  I was hoping one person would be interested in leading this group.  I’ll ask Carrie.
Sara: I’d be interested in leading the group, I know Carrie from school and can work with her. (Unless Carrie really wants to do it.)
Eliza: We can discuss tentative schedule over e-mail.  Try to develop content for poster/the writing and graphics by beginning of April, giving Kendall almost 2 months to work on designing it and give time for revisions.  Early deadline, but gives us the space to run over time. Kendall how does that sound? Kendall: I think 2 months to work on design would be great.
-Mentoring program
Megan: The reviewers are sending suggested matches by the 17th, then 21st we can have a call to finalize matches and discuss any issues.  Hopefully after that, e-mail the mentors and mentees to tell them they have a match.  Ayesha not on call– She started working on a self-matching tool (we had a dedicated call to make the self-matching system) and she made some docs as instructions and we still need to review those.
Eliza: How is that process feeling to you? Manageable?
Megan: Yes.
E: Thanks, I still need to review Ayesha’s tool that she outlined.
Megan: I looked over them, but realized I needed to go through the process to see if they work.  Eliza: Before we move on, anyone want to comment on anything? No.
Anisha: We had a planning call last week with all speakers and Stephanie, so we got a sense of the experience of our speakers and what they wanted to have as their take away message with the audience.  The call determined that we need to think more about content because each person brings a lot, especially Teresa Meyers who works on the hill, so need more thought on how to present.  We’ve scheduled a planning call with Ruth, Eryl, and others to discuss further.  As that gets fleshed out, we’ll be able to talk more about logistics and how to present it.  I’m talking to Eryl this week to sum up thoughts and figure out where we want to be with this webinar.  We’re still on track for Feb 19th as the webinar date.  Marketing our webinars has come up in the past, and this webinar is a great example of one that more than ECPs would be into.  How should we reach out to other groups? And once we figure that out, we can use that to market all of our events.
Eliza: Ruth, so to address that, are you also going to Cuba?
Ruth: I am, and I thought that I had talked with Stephanie a bit about scheduling in February (it’ll be tight), but we’ll see what we can do.  It’s hard for Ryan and I to do a lot of marketing and admin details until Feb. 4th because of the trip.
Eliza: If we did the webinar in March, would that work for you?
Ruth: March would be better and easier with more time to market.
Ryan: Early March, if possible.  First two weeks in March.
Anisha: March is fine for me. I can talk to the speakers about when in March we want to do it.
Eliza: I think that would help us out.  We realize we need more thought into the webinar. Ruth, as Anisha mentioned too, it would be great to have a call with you and Teresa because she brought up a lot of good points that would be good to have your opinion.  We can do it when you get back.
Ruth: Yeah, better to do it when we get back from Cuba.  Away until Feb 4th.
Eliza:  Anisha, any thoughts on the blogpost idea with Suzanne Davis?
Anisha: I got in touch with her yesterday to get a feel if it’s feasible and she likes the idea.  It works for her schedule and I told her that we want to build on the last AIC meeting up to a potential webinar.  It would be a nice lead up to next AIC meeting because what she talks about could help people prepare for the meeting and professional development.
Eliza: That would be great; we need to think about how we’ll structure that blogpost.  Maybe start an e-mail discussion with her, or just schedule a call with her.
Anisha: It would be good to have a call; we could then discuss the webinar so there would be no overlap with blogpost, since they’re related.  We should have time for the call.
Eliza: Good point, make sure we’re thinking about them as two separate things so they cover different topics.  We’ll wait and see how the next webinar shapes up so we can fit in a call with her.  Early February, hopefully.  We’ll skip over the July webinar on pre-program experience for now.  I’m keeping everyone in the loop by email.
-Liaison program
Eliza: Saira, how is reaching out to SG liaisons going?  Saira: I asked Carrie and haven’t heard back yet.  What I can see based on Writeboard, we have quite a few confirmed, but a few to go.  Fran was helpful getting some people figured out.  I’m not sure because Carrie has been dealing mostly with that.
Eliza: We’ll follow up by e-mail to see where things stand; let us all know if you need extra hands for it.
Eliza: Megan shared that ANAGPIC is at Buffalo April 11&12th. In addition to Megan, Anish, Michelle and Saira will be attending.   As you all likely know, in the past ECPN has been giving a brief presentation on ECPN to further connect with our demographic on the Saturday of the conference.  Megan gave it last year and it was a good experience.  Should we do again this year?
Anisha: I got great feedback about it from other members who were there, so sounds like it would be worthwhile to keep going with it.
Saira: I agree.
Eliza: I think it would be great, too. Megan and I discussed that Megan has given it 2 years now, so maybe time for someone else to give it.  That can show diversity of ECPN.  Any others interested? (Anisha would be happy to.)
Michelle: I’m presenting a paper, so I’d rather not.
Saira: I was going to suggest that maybe we all go up and only one talk?
Eliza: I had that idea too, but we’ll keep talking about that later.
Megan: I already e-mailed Buffalo about presenting, so they’ll put it in the schedule.  In the past we involved the Canadian group, but do we want to ask them again if they’ll be part of it?
E: I think so.  We’ve co-presented with emerging group from Canada and they liked exposure.  Maybe they want to be involved in presenting.
Megan: I’ll contact them and see.
E:  We’ll wrap up here and follow up via e-mail for other things.  Next call is March 11th 12-1pm, and we’ll invite liaisons to contribute content.  We’ll contact them before to let them know, and follow up as it gets closer.  Anything else?  Thanks, we’ll continue to be in touch by email!
Respectfully submitted by Fran Ritchie, co-Communications Chair

Basic Advice for Conservation Graduate School Applications from ECPN

As the deadlines for graduate school applications approach, many pre-program conservators have been soliciting information and advice on the application process.  Here are some answers to the basic questions received by Emerging Conservation Professional Network (ECPN) officers.  These questions are geared towards the Art Conservation programs in North America, but much of the information is basic enough to cover concerns for a variety of graduate programs.
What information should my personal statement cover?
Your personal statement is your chance to introduce yourself to the schools beyond listing your resume, GPA, GRE, etc.  It should be autobiographical by highlighting your major experiences that have prepared you for school, and just as importantly, it should explain how that particular program would be a good fit for you.  Each program is different and requires a tailored personal statement (and application).   How are you prepared for graduate school and a professional career in art conservation? Ask people to proofread your statement!  Remember, this is your opportunity to impress the review committee; you don’t want typos letting you down.
If a writing sample is required, what kind of sample should I choose?
The writing sample proves that you can concisely and effectively articulate your point.  These are important skills to have when writing condition and treatment reports. There is no minimum or maximum length, since reviewers most likely will skim them to get a feel for your writing style.
Who should write my recommendations?
For conservation recommendations, choose someone whom you feel witnessed your hand skills and work ethic, and got to know your personality.  For academic recommendations, choose someone whom you feel is familiar with your work and knows about your goals of becoming a professional conservator.  Choose people that you feel comfortable asking.  If you’re unsure about someone, approach her by asking if she thinks that you’re ready to apply.  **Be sure to give your recommenders plenty of time to write, keeping in mind that the holiday season is right before the applications are due.
What type of artwork should I submit (through photographs)?
Your artwork should reflect your developed dexterity and can range from oil paintings and hand-bound books, to sculpture and cross-stitch.  Be sure that drawings and paintings are representational and/or precise, not gestural abstract designs, so you can demonstrate your hand skills. If you can’t take photographs at your pre-program site, just do your best to take professional-looking photographs at home.  Improvise!
What if I have extra information to send, like treatment reports, recommendations, etc?
Although tempting to send one more recommendation or some portfolio pages, only submit the required documents and information.  There is not enough time for schools to read extras; they won’t, and it will have been a complete waste of your time. Spend that time proofreading your documents or beginning your portfolio.
What’s in a portfolio?
Focus your energy on submitting your application first, however it is good to maintain your portfolio during your pre-program experiences so that assembling one for your interview won’t be a daunting task. Portfolios are just as personal as your personal statements, so they can vary widely.  There are basic things that each portfolio should include, but don’t be afraid to find a way to make it your own.  Portfolios include: Table of Contents, C.V./Resume, Condition and Treatment Reports (treatments that represent your best work, as broad as possible), and Related Information (experiences that relate to conservation, like condition surveys, archaeological digs, curated exhibitions, etc.).  More and more schools are allowing or demanding digital portfolios, but some do not.  When the time comes to prepare for your interview, check which version the school prefers to see.
Get in touch with recent or current graduates from the program that you are interested in attending to gain their perspectives on the process. If your supervisor feels he/she does not have current information, contact ECPN, regional liaisons, or post on the ECPN Facebook page to find recent graduates.
There are also past blog posts on the AIC blog, conservators-converse.org, that provide good information, especially the series “10 Tips for Becoming a Conservator.” (To find those, type that title in the search bar to the right of this post.)
Application Deadlines:
New York UniversityDecember 18, 2013
Buffalo State CollegeJanuary 7, 2014
Winterthur/University of Delaware:  January 15, 2014
Queen’s University January 31, 2014
Getty/University of California: This program accepts students every other year, and 2014 is an “off” year, so no applications will be accepted at this time.
*Stay tuned for follow-up blog posts on preparing for your graduate school interview (in late winter), and preparing for your graduate and post-graduate internship and fellowship interviews (in the spring)!
ECPN would like to thank the Education and Training Committee (ETC) for their valuable input, as well as the conservators at the National Museum of the American Indian.