2018 AICCM Awards

National News Categories: 
Publish date: 
17 Dec 2018

Award recipients: Holly McGowan-Jackson, Kelly Leahey, MaryJo Lelyveld, Margaret Sawicki, Sadra Zekrgoo, Sarah Babister, Melanie Raberts and Neville Quick


On Tuesday 20th November the AICCM awards were presented at the Centre for Contemporary Photography in Fitzroy, Melbourne. It was the opening night for the 10th AICCM Book, Paper and Photographic Materials Symposium. It was a great evening with lots of yummy food and good conversation. Thanks to all who came and congratulations to the recipients of the 2018 awards!! They have all done some amazing work in our field so please continue reading for a brief description of their achievements.

AICCM Student Conservator of the Year

Emma Anderson (University of Canberra)

Emma is in her third year at University of Canberra and has achieved exceptional academic results. She also joined AICCM ACT Council early in her degree, and has taken on the role of Student Representative and has participated in activities with the council such as organising the yearly Christmas Party. Emma has also undertaken a number of volunteer and internship placements. 

Sadra Zekrgoo (University of Melbourne)

Sadra Zekrgoo has made an outstanding contribution to the broader community while completing his 2018 PhD thesis on Persian Inks. His research has been published and circulated internationally in the Restaurator an important journal in the field of paper and manuscript conservation. His academic merits have also been presented at conferences and public lectures at the University of Melbourne, University of Adelaide, Cambridge University, and quite recently The University of Oxford where he was invited to present and conduct a Persian ink making workshop.

Julia Gamble (Chair of Patricia Robertson Fund, ADFAS) presenting the AICCM Student Conservator of the Year award to Sadra Zekrgoo

ADFAS Mid-Career Scholarship

Kelly Leahey, Paper Conservator, State Library of Queensland.

Kelly has been awarded the scholarship to attend the joint AIC Photographic Materials Group and ICOM-CC Photographic Materials Working Group conference and workshop, to be held in New York, in February 2019.

Attending this professional development activity will allow and inspire Kelly to continue contributing to the preservation of photographs in Australia. One upcoming project at the State Library that will directly benefit is the conservation of a significant collection Richard Daintree hand painted photographs from the 1870s. In 2019, Kelly will be leading the technical examination component of this project.

Julia Gamble presenting the ADFAS Mid-Career Scholarship award to Kelly Leahey

Colin Pearson Outstanding Research in the Field of Material Conservation

Holly McGowan-Jackson, Senior Conservator of Frames and Furniture, National Gallery of Victoria.

As Senior Conservator of Frames and Furniture has been a leading contributor in art historical frames research in Australia. In collaboration with conservation and curatorial colleagues at the National Gallery of Victoria, Holly has led the development of the Centre for Frames Research (CFR) which is committed to research into original frames and publishing frames information on-line via the NGV Frame and Frame Makers database and through gallery didactics. 

In addition to sharing on-line research, she has published in both popular and peer-reviewed journals including The Bulletin. Her commitment to conservation research is further supported by her involvement with GOC-SIG as both the Chair and co-organiser of several events

Holly McGowan-Jackson accepting the Colin Pearson Award

Treatment of the Year Award

Museum Victoria’s Aboriginal Advancement League hearse reactivation team.

In mid 2017 Museums Victoria (MV) received a request to use the Victorian Aboriginal hearse in MV’s collection to repatriate ancient Ancestral Remains.

Having been in storage for the last 28 years, the car would require considerable mechanical work to get it roadworthy again. Removed parts were retained and the work was thoroughly documented for the future, though original components were retained and repaired where possible.

In November 2017 the hearse was transported to Canberra, and on the 20th November 2017 the hearse arrived at Lake Mungo driven by community member Daryl Pappin and in front of the community the remains of Mungo Man and 104 Ancestors were returned to their Ancestral Homeland.

This is not a ‘traditional’ conservation treatment but is a wonderful example of consultation, community engagement and giving a cultural object new meaning through conservation. The conservation and restoration work undertaken allowed the hearse to be back in the hands of its community and reincorporated into living culture at an incredibly significant time.

Melanie Raberts (Collection Manager Arts, Museum Victoria); Sarah Babister (Conservator Objects, Museum Victoria); and Neville Quick (Manager Collection Storage and Logistics, Museum Victoria) accepting the award on behalf of Museum Victoria’s Aboriginal Advancement League hearse reactivation team

Conservator of the Year 

Kelly Leahey, Paper Conservator, State Library of Queensland.

Kelly has been involved in two major projects this year.

The first being the production of a Care for Collections video series. This series was aimed at equipping Queenslanders with a knowledge of preserving their ANZAC stories. Since the video series release in early 2018, SLQ have received wide spread positive response from colleagues, clients and cultural organisations. The videos are a fantastic resource and through promotion on social media will no doubt be shared and re-shared well into the future.

The second being the development of cyanotype (blueprint) workshops to engage the public in alternative and historic photographic materials and techniques. Over 400 people have now attended these workshops, provided free to the public, and future workshops are scheduled.

Katie Wood (Membership Services Officer, AICCM) presenting the Conservator of the Year award to Kelly Leahey

Service to the Conservation Profession

MaryJo Lelyveld, Coordinating Conservator, National Gallery of Victoria.

MaryJo has contributed greatly to the conservation profession over the last several years, both individually and in her previous role as the National President of the AICCM. She has worked tirelessly to raise the profile of conservation, to make connections between conservators and with colleagues in allied professions, to engage with current and emerging issues for the conservation profession, and to look forward and plan for the future to make the AICCM a more sustainable and relevant organisation.

To name just a few examples:

  • In 2018 MaryJo organized and led a cross-disciplinary symposium at NGV International, Collecting the Now, examining issues and current approaches to new media art works.
  • It was under MaryJo’s term as President that the AICCM collaborated with ICOM-CC to deliver the 17th Triennial Conference in Melbourne, the first time it had been held in Australia in nearly 30 years.
  • Since stepping down as National President, MaryJo has continued her AICCM involvement via the Sustainable Collections Committee (SCC).

Alice Cannon (Vice President, AICCM) presenting the Service to the Conservation Profession award to MaryJo Lelyveld

AICCM Medal

Margaret Sawicki, Head of Frames Conservation, Art Gallery of NSW.

Over her 32 year career, Margaret has consistently advocated for the acceptance of Frames Conservation as a specialist discipline.

She both founded, and coordinated for 4 years, the Gilded Objects Conservation Special Interest Group of the AICCM.  She has severed as both a general member and a security on the NSW division of AICCM; and was Assistant-coordinator, and then coordinator of the ICOM-CC Wood, Furniture, & Lacquer Working Group

Margaret has mentored and trained many students in frames conservation sharing her knowledge and PhD research methods which now reach globally. Margaret has also published widely and has shared her expertise with the conservation community both in Australia and overseas through contributing to conferences and workshops.

Margaret Sawicki accepting the AICCM medal