An update from the Emerging Conservation Professionals Network (ECPN)

On the heels of a busy and successful 2012, 2013 is turning out to be another eventful year for the Emerging Conservation Professionals Network (ECPN), with many exciting activities planned and several projects already underway. We’re also working hard to prepare for our activities at the AIC Annual Meeting in May. Here is a summary of what we have been up to and what lies ahead. You can also find out more about our network’s mission on our webpage.
ECPN at AIC’s 41st Annual Meeting in Indianapolis

Shots from our portfolio review session at the 2012 annual meeting
Shots from our portfolio review session at the 2012 annual meeting

Portfolio Seminar
On Wednesday, May 29th, ECPN will be holding a Portfolio Seminar from 4:00 to 6:00pm. Following the successes of ECPN’s Portfolio Review Sessions at the 2011 and 2012 AIC Annual Meetings, we are expanding the session this year to address a larger, more diverse audience and provide increased opportunities for discussion. This two-hour session will include presentations, a panel discussion, and interactive portfolio sharing. The presentations will focus on topics including building conservation portfolios, creating an architectural conservation portfolio, creating an online or digital portfolio, and professional development beyond the portfolio. The panel discussion will address audience questions, and portfolio sharing will be composed of volunteers representing different graduate programs and conservation specialties.
ECPN Happy Hour
After the Portfolio Session on May 29th, join us for an extended happy hour from 6:30 to 10:00pm at High Velocity in the JW Marriott, sponsored by Tru Vue. Our happy hour is a great opportunity to mingle with other emerging conservators, as well as mentors and colleagues. Please join us – all are welcome!
One of the break-out discussions during ECPN's 2012 informational meeting
One of the break-out discussions during ECPN’s 2012 informational meeting

ECPN Informational Session
On Friday, May 31st, from 5:30 to 6:30pm, we will be holding our annual informational session, where you can learn about ECPN, propose and discuss ideas, and meet others in the network.
ECPN Poster
This year, ECPN is presenting a poster entitled “The Art_Con<server>: 
How conservation professionals make use of online resources,” in which we will explore different viewpoints surrounding public access to conservation information and its effects on the conservation profession. The content of the poster was generated with support from the AIC Publications Committee and is based on a survey distributed to AIC members that addressed the creation and promotion of conservation content online and the accessibility of conservation literature.
In addition to ECPN’s activities, please support emerging conservators who will be presenting in the Specialty Group sessions and poster session. In addition to presentations interspersed throughout these sessions, the Architecture Specialty Group is holding a special student session on Friday, May 31st from 8:00 to 10:00am .
ECPN Webinars
In 2012, ECPN held two webinars, both of which received an outstanding response. Our first webinar – “Self-advocacy and Fundraising for Independent Research” – was held in July and featured Debra Hess Norris. This webinar attracted over 90 registered participants from 6 different countries. Our second webinar – “Considering your future career path: working in private practice” – was held in November, and 80 registered participants called in to learn valuable insight into the world of private practice from Paul Messier, Rosa Lowinger, and Julia Brennan.
ECPN is planning for our next webinar on the topic of Pre-program internships to be held in summer 2013. Webinar speakers include both emerging conservators and conservators with experience supervising interns. Stay tuned for more details. For more information on ECPN’s webinar series, please follow this link. You can also find reviews of last year’s two webinars on AIC’s blog and video content by following these links:
Self-advocacy and Fundraising webinar
Private Practice Webinar
Mentoring Program
ECPN’s Mentoring Program, which successfully matched 24 mentees with mentors since last year’s annual meeting, is undergoing a restructuring to better and more swiftly meet the needs of emerging conservators, including pre-program, graduate, and post-graduate. This will involve the creation of pre-program resources that will address common concerns, such as tips for applying to graduate school programs. To learn more about the program, or to apply to be a mentor or to find a mentor, follow this link.
AIC Wiki
This past January, ECPN officers and members actively participated in the AIC Wiki January edit-a-thon, working on the Exhibiting Conservation page and the Lexicon Project.
ECPN would also like to encourage emerging conservators to participate in the AIC Annual Meeting wiki edit-a-thon luncheon event on Friday May 31 from 12-2pm. For more details about this event please contact ECPN Chair Molly Gleeson at: mollygleeson [at] gmail [dot] com.
ECPN Liaisons
This year ECPN welcomed the following new graduate program liaisons:
Christina Simms and Christina Taylor – Buffalo State College
Mayank Patel and Brooke Young – Columbia University
Saira Haqqi – Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
Samantha Fisher and Marie-Lou Beauchamp – Queen’s University
Casey Mallinckrodt – UCLA/Getty
Michelle Sullivan – Winterthur/University of Delaware
Sarah B. Hunter – University of Texas, School of Architecture
A complete list of our current liaisons can be found on our webpage.
These are just a few of the activities that ECPN is engaged in. We encourage you to join us at our annual meeting events, or on one of our conference calls! If you have any questions, ideas, or would like to get involved, please leave a comment here or contact Eliza Spaulding, ECPN Vice Chair, at elizaspaulding [at] gmail [dot] com.

ECPN Webinar with Debra Hess Norris on Self-Advocacy and Fundraising for Personal Research

On July 26th, ECPN held its first webinar, which featured Debra Hess Norris, Chair of the Art Conservation Department and Professor of Photograph Conservation at the University of Delaware. In a presentation and discussion on Self-advocacy and Fundraising for Personal Research, Norris offered a wealth of advice valuable to both recent graduates and professionals new to the field, as well as experienced conservators.

Norris continually stressed the importance of networking, of keeping in touch with mentors and peers, and getting involved in AIC and other conservation groups. Interestingly, though, she also suggested looking for opportunities outside of conservation. Attending meetings of groups in related fields or speaking at their conferences, writing for publications outside of the conservation literature, and connecting with local universities for lectures or adjunct teaching positions are ways to not only gain experience and expand one’s network, but also to advocate for conservation and educate those outside of the field about the work of conservators. The interdisciplinary nature of conservation should be utilized to increase the visibility of the profession.  She emphasized that we should think globally and explore opportunities offered by the US State Department or World Bank, become US correspondents for IIC or ICOM, apply for the ICCROM fellows program, or find sponsorship for the Fulbright program.

Norris also encouraged the audience to volunteer and get involved in community-based projects. She suggested, for example, serving on committees, becoming CAP assessors, or visiting collections that lack conservators and offering to help with grant proposals.

Norris gave useful tips on the grant application process and highlighted funding sources that conservators do not always take into account. She recommended considering residencies at cultural institutions which conservators seldom apply for, identifying non-profit sponsors or partners, inquiring with undergraduate universities for legacy funding, and competing for Stout or other AIC specialty group funding, particularly if you are volunteering to help at the annual meeting. In response to an audience question, Norris also advised that if you do get a grant, you include it on your resume, as it demonstrates your abilities to successfully acquire funding sources, even if just for yourself.

In addition, she discussed building skills by taking workshops or seminars to strengthen your negotiating proficiency or taking business classes (especially if you intend to pursue a private practice), obtaining certificates in grant-writing or project management, or considering a doctoral degree in an allied field.

Finally, Norris once again encouraged the audience to be advocates for our field, to share our vision and enthusiasm, to communicate the ethics, philosophy, and interdisciplinary nature of conservation, and to always welcome opportunities to speak to the public.


For more information on this webinar, and to view audience questions with Norris’ responses, as well as research funding opportunities, resources, and tips, please visit the following blog posts:


Have any ideas for future webinar topics? Please post them below.



ECPN Webinar on Self-Advocacy and Fundraising for Personal Research: Funding opportunities, resources, and tips

The Emerging Conservation Professionals Network (ECPN) continues to be very excited about its first webinar this Thursday, July 26, from 1-2pm EST, featuring presenter, Debra Hess Norris, who will be speaking about Self-Advocacy and Fundraising for Personal Research. In addition to Norris’ remarks, tailored to recent graduates on subjects including navigating the field post-graduation, funding opportunities for independent scholars, and tips for self-advocacy, the webinar will include a moderated discussion and Q&A session. During the call, a variety of research funding opportunities, resources, and tips will be discussed, some of which are shared here:

Research funding opportunities, resources, and tips

For more information on ECPN’s new webinar series, Thursday’s webinar (including registration information, which is required), and presenter Debra Hess Norris, please visit:

Have any other tips or opportunities to share? Please post them below!

ECPN Webinar on Self-Advocacy and Fundraising for Personal Research featuring Debra Hess Norris on July 26th: Call for Questions

The Emerging Conservation Professionals Network (ECPN) is pleased to announce the creation of a new webinar series. These webinars will be held periodically and will feature guest presenters who will speak about topics of interest to emerging conservators. The topics of these webinars are being developed based on feedback generated from a survey of ECPN members in February 2012.

Our first webinar will be held on Thursday, July 26, from 1-2pm EST. Please join us and our featured presenter, Debra Hess Norris, who will be speaking about Self-Advocacy and Fundraising for Personal Research. In addition to Norris’ remarks, tailored to recent graduates on subjects including navigating the field post-graduation, funding opportunities for independent scholars, and tips for self-advocacy, the webinar will include a moderated discussion and Q&A session. Participants will also have the opportunity to ask questions before and after the webinar on the AIC blog.

Please submit your questions as comments to this post, or email them to ECPN Vice-Chair, Eliza Spaulding at: elizaspaulding[at]gmail[dot]com. Questions will be accepted until Thursday, July 26th at 12pm EST. During the webinar, your questions will be anonymously posed. There also will be the opportunity to anonymously ask questions during the webinar using a chat box. Depending on the volume of questions, all of them may not be able to be posed during the webinar, but we hope to follow up on any unanswered questions following the webinar on the blog.

Attendance is free and open to all AIC members. Registration is required and will be open until July 26th at 12pm EST. To register for the webinar, please visit:

About the Speaker

Debra Hess Norris is Chair of the Art Conservation Department and Professor of Photograph Conservation at the University of Delaware. Since 1985, Norris has authored more than 30 articles and book chapters on care and treatment of photographic materials, emergency response, ethics, and conservation education; and taught more than 95 workshops and seminars for conservators and allied professionals. Norris has lectured and consulted on the preservation of photographic collections worldwide, including in Russia, India, Denmark, Mexico, Columbia, France, Finland, the Netherlands, Lebanon, Peru, Australia, and New Zealand. She greatly enjoys fund raising and has secured nearly $13.5 million in external grants for the Art Conservation Department at the University of Delaware.

Norris was the chair of Heritage Preservation (2003- 2008) and president of the American Institute for the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (1993-97). From 1990-93 she chaired the AIC Ethics and Standards Committee that developed a revised Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice. She has served as president of the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts Board (CCAHA), US commissioner to UNESCO, and project director of The Andrew W. Mellon Collaborative Workshops in Photograph Conservation. Norris has received the Rutherford John Gettens Merit Award for outstanding service to the American Institute for Conservation (1998), the Sheldon and Caroline Keck Award for excellence in the education and training of conservation professionals (2004), and the American Institute for Conservation University Products Award for distinguished achievement in the conservation of cultural property (2008). Recently, she has spoken at many of the IMLS Connecting to Collections national conferences on topics ranging from the preservation of photographic materials to fund raising for collections care.