Annual Meeting Opportunity for Emerging Conservators

Attention all emerging conservators:

Are you going to the AIC’s 40th Annual Meeting in Albuquerque ?

If so, we, the organizing committee of AIC’s newest network, the Collections Care Network (CCN) could use your help.

We need approximately 10 people to help us with the Outreach to Allies session we are presenting at this year’s AIC Annual Meeting.

The session is from 4:55 to 5:30 on Wednesday, May 9. It will start with a 10 minute introduction to the CCN and some of our goals. The audience will then be divided into small groups (8 or 10 around a table). Each group will watch a 2 minute video. Each video will present an individual discussing a conundrum or issue in an area of preventive conservation/collections care. The presenters will all be from allied organizations that work in the area of preventive care. After the video a member of the CCN will moderate a 15 or 20 minute discussion with each small group around the topic that was presented and how the CCN might work on programming, resources, etc. that would help with the issue.

We are hoping to find a note taker for each group. We hope you will see this as an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of the discussion related to preventive care issues with which AIC will be grappling. It should also be an opportunity for you to network with a small group of conservation professionals. It would really help us out!

Ideally notes would be taken using your own computer. If you are willing to take notes but need a computer we can sort that out. If you really prefer to hand write we can work with that.

If you would like more details before agreeing or are ready and willing and just want the specific directions we will provide please contact Joelle Wickens, chair, CCN – jwicke [at] winterthur [dot] org

If you want a few more details about the CCN click here.

ECPN Committee Seeks Communications Officer

The Emerging Conservation Professionals Network (ECPN) is soliciting applications for the Communications Coordinator position.  The Communications Coordinator will serve a one-year term beginning just after the 2012 AIC Annual Meeting, with the option of renewal for a second year.

ECPN works to address the needs of conservation professionals with fewer than 7 years of experience, including pre-program students, graduate students, and recent graduates. The committee seeks to enhance the dialogue among emerging conservators and experienced conservators and between AIC and the conservation training programs and to increase emerging conservator participation in AIC.

The Communications Coordinator acts as the secretary for ECPN; works to raise awareness of the group and to attract new, active members; encourages involvement of emerging conservators in AIC communications and publications, including JAIC and Wikis; keeps the broader AIC membership apprised of ECPN activities by writing or soliciting columns, blog posts, and articles as appropriate; and works with the Outreach coordinators to investigate and encourage the use of social media, including recruitment of authors and solicitation of content for the blog.

The time commitment is roughly 6-9 hours per month, consisting of approximately 2-3 hours for monthly meetings and minutes, 1-2 hours writing for the blog and communicating with other AIC committee members, and 3-4 hours for other research, writing, and occasional graphic design.

The ECPN committee communicates primarily via email correspondence and monthly conference calls.  The committee meets in-person annually at AIC’s Annual Meeting.

To apply, please submit a brief statement of interest and your resume by April 6 to Molly Gleeson, Chair, AIC-ECPN:  mcgleeson [at] yahoo [dot] com.

Questions about committee activities can be directed to Molly, or ECPN’s current Communications Coordinator, Amy Brost: amybrost [at] yahoo [dot] com. The full position description can be requested from either Molly or Amy.




I’m not a PA, but I want to be

While there are some emerging conservators who will apply for Professional Associate (PA) status as soon as they are eligible, it seems that many others might be less aware, less interested or less confident about applying to become PA’s. PA membership was more or less off my radar until several months ago, when my good friend and former pre-program internship supervisor wrote me an email asking if I had thought about applying, offering to write a recommendation, and informing me of the next application deadline. She had actually encouraged me to start thinking about this before I was eligible, and the fact that she was taking the initiative to bring this to my attention again made me sit up and think about it much more seriously.

Once I determined that I could apply, I looked closely at the application and guidelines and started asking myself why I, or why any conservator, would want to be an AIC Professional Associate, other than the privilege of getting to attach a little ribbon to your nametag at the annual meeting. What does it mean to be a Professional Associate?

I had heard that there are a lot of people who are eligible who do not apply, but after looking over the application requirements and the benefits, I couldn’t think of any reasons NOT to apply, so I thought I’d poll a few conservators who are PA’s to ask them why they applied, what the application experience was like, and what PA status means to them. Their responses made me even more convinced that I should apply, and prompted me to come up with a list of reasons that might inspire others. Here they are:

Top 5 reasons to apply to be a PA

1.  Inclusion in the “Find a Conservator” tool on the AIC website

This benefit may be particularly attractive for those in private practice or interested in private work. Several of the conservators I spoke with mentioned that they had gotten leads on private work through this listing.

2.  Voting privileges within AIC

The ability to vote was seen as especially important by many members during the certification discussion. When future issues come up for a vote by the membership, being a PA ensures that your voice will be heard and your opinion will count. I’ve heard some people argue that just being an associate member of AIC should be enough, but this isn’t going to change, so if you want voting privileges, this is how you can gain them.

3.  Make yourself stand out when applying for jobs, contracts and grants

From the colleagues I spoke with, I know for a fact that PA status will be valued on job and grant applications and that some government issued RFQ’s (requests for quotes) require that applicants are Professional Associates.

4.  Eligibility to apply for Individual Professional Development Scholarships

I recently found myself in a position where I wanted to attend a meeting but I really couldn’t come up with the money to go. I realized if I was a PA, I would be able to apply for this funding, which can help defray costs for professional development activities, including attending workshops, courses and conferences.

5.  Recognition among your peers and colleagues

This is a big one that I really took for granted. But among all of the conservators I’ve spoken with, their respect and appreciation of PA status is very evident. One person said that “if you want other people to advocate for you, provide them the ammunition-peer approval in a profession is big ammunition”. When I realized that people I really respect and admire think that being a PA is a valuable part of being a professional conservator, I found myself aspiring to this as well.

So now that I’ve written all of this, the pressure is on me to actually apply, since I’m now eligible to do so. I’m encouraged by the fact that everyone I spoke with said that applying was straightforward and easy, and that it was possibly more work for the people writing the recommendation letters than the applicants. So make sure to ask the people who you want to sponsor you as far ahead of time as you can and make it as easy on them as you can.

Finally, for those of you who are PA’s or Fellows, I encourage you to reach out to conservators who have not yet applied for this status to do so, and offer to support their application. And for those of you who are eligible but uncertain-don’t wait for people to suggest this to you-start a dialogue with your past and current colleagues, professors and supervisors, and ask them if they recommend that you apply and if they’d be willing to support you. You will undoubtedly be rewarded with encouragement and a boost of confidence.

A special thanks to Ellen Carrlee, Anne Kingery-Schwartz, Vanessa Muros and Emily Williams for their assistance and encouragement!

January AIC Wiki Edit-a-thon

This month there is an AIC-wide wiki “edit-a-thon” event, to raise awareness of the platform, encourage participation and to add to the content already on the AIC wiki. Volunteers are needed to help with creating new content, adding content that has already been written and summarizing specialty group listserv threads, for both the individual specialty group catalogs and also for additional topics, such as the History of Conservation, Preventive Care, and Exhibition Standards. Take a look at some of the valuable content already on the wiki by clicking here.

For all of us in the field, but especially for us emerging conservators, this is an excellent opportunity to contribute to a dynamic, new resource that is already providing a great benefit for our profession. Volunteering for this project is also a way to acquire new skills and knowledge, and to connect with your colleagues and peers!

If you are interested in working on the wiki, please contact AIC e-Editor Rachael Perkins Arenstein with your contact info and area of interest: rachael AT AMArtConservation dot com.  Interested in helping but uncertain how you’d like to contribute or what you might be able to offer?  We can help direct you to the appropriate specialty group or connect you with another conservator to work on content. For emerging conservators, this could be an opportunity for a mini mentoring exercise with an experienced conservator, who would offer knowledge and advice to help pull together content for an article. Again, please contact Rachael if you’d be interested in such an opportunity.

We hope to hear from you! And at the very least, if you aren’t familiar with the AIC wiki, or if you haven’t checked it out in awhile, take a look at the main page, and remember to check back often, as new content will be continually added.


Amber Kerr-Allison moves on from her position as ECPN Professional Education and Training co-chair

The Emerging Conservation Professionals Network would like to thank Amber Kerr-Allison for her many years of service as a member of the ECPN committee and an example to a global contingency of emerging conservators. A graduate of the Winterthur / University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation, Amber played an instrumental role in the formation and growth of ECPN.

As coordinator of Professional Education and Training, Amber has worked as a liaison to conservation graduate training program leaders, as well as leading representatives within the AIC and IIC professional organizations. She has promoted access to student research as selection committee chair for the first annual student poster session at the 2010 IIC Congress in Istanbul, and as ECPN project coordinator for the development of an online, international database for student research. Amber also helped organize the first portfolio review session to be held at an AIC annual meeting, which drew a large number of pre-program participants at the 39th Annual Meeting in Philadelphia in 2011.

Amber’s work on the ECPN committee reflects the broader role she has played as an advocate for conservation. Amber’s professionalism and masterful speaking ability have made her an indispensable voice for emerging conservators. Her clear passion for conservation education and outreach have set a standard for emerging conservation professionals everywhere to advocate for the field, and to effectively communicate our goals as conservators to the public. As Paintings Conservator at the Lunder Conservation Center at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Amber continues to make education and public outreach a priority in her conservation career.

We are grateful for Amber’s many contributions to ECPN, for her grace, diplomacy, and initiative, all of which have helped sustain and cultivate our organization. We recognize also her contributions to the conservation field in general, and wish her the very best in all her future endeavors.