President's Report—December 2017

National News Categories: 
Publish date: 
7 Dec 2017
Author: 
Jennifer O'Connell

In the last month, two significant events have occurred. First, Australians voted in favour of equality in the form of the same sex marriage survey. Besides being an historical occasion, there is a lesson we can learn from this outcome. It shows that it is possible to engage the people in issues through the sharing of stories, which the Yes Campaign did very well. Second, the AICCM National Conference was held in the Blue Mountains, NSW, and was a resounding success. Similarly, stories and ideas were shared, progressing the dialogue about conservation and its relevance.

AICCM National Conference

Congratulations to Sheldon Teare and the NSW Division for the organisation of the National Conference. The theme ‘Collaborate Connect Conserve’ encouraged discussion around the core issues of conservation practice. The papers were engaging, as were the conversations and ideas brewing in the tea room. Some of the major areas of concern for AICCM membership are training opportunities, conservation of new materials and advocacy. The heritage listed Blue Mountains was a perfect place to convene and discuss these ideas.

The conference began with an inspirational talk by the keynote speaker, Tea Uglow, Creative Director, Google Creative Lab. When asked about conserving virtual reality experiences created by her team, Tea’s response was, “Sometimes I feel like I’m conserving an echo.” Tea shared the importance of access to art through the internet. She argued that although viewing an artwork in reality might be the ultimate experience, access is not available to everyone and the Google Art project shares artworks globally.

Education and training was a major issue that arose during the conference. Julian Bickersteth and Kim Morris both spoke about training, particularly hands on training, in conservation. This discussion progressed from the presented papers, to general conversation and resulted in a motion at the AGM to address this issue formally through a symposium. It is fantastic to see this outcome take place during the conference.

Another area of material conservation requiring research is that of managing plastics. Petronella Nel of the Grimwade Centre presented her paper on the ‘National framework for managing malignant plastics in museum collections,’ which responds to this issue and provides valuable funding for two PhDs.

Furthermore, Student Conservators at Melbourne (SC@M) is reaching out to conservators to participate in a mentoring program. The National Council is looking at supporting mentoring in the form of Professional Development points for Professional Members. A notice will be sent out regarding this idea that was presented at the AGM. Please contact SC@M directly to inquire about the program.

The Gedenkschrift, a tribute to Colin Pearson, took the delegates through a history of conservation in Australia explored through Colin’s extensive research and contribution to teaching. The Gedenkschrift concluded with Dr Jo Kirby Atkinson, Secretary General of IIC granting the IIC Lifetime Award to Colin Pearson posthumously.

Publishing

Congratulations to all presenters on the range and academic rigour of the papers and posters at the National Conference. To share your research with a wider audience, please submit your papers to the AICCM Bulletin, or share through an article in the National Newsletter. AICCM has also recently started uploading conference posters on the website. Please send a PDF of your poster to Michelle Berry to have it published online.

44th Annual General Meeting

The 44th Annual General Meeting was held during the conference on Friday 3 November 2017. The reports have been published online in the Annual Report, and a notice will be distributed when the AGM minutes are available. The new National Council members have also been updated on the website.

Thank you to those members of National Council who are stepping down — MaryJo Lelyveld, Robyn Hodgson, Bronwyn Cosgrove and Helen Privett. A special thank you to MaryJo for her leadership and vision for the AICCM. MaryJo has worked with the National Council to ensure that the organisation is financially viable, and has implemented a Strategic Plan for the AICCM to meet the needs of the profession, membership and public outreach. The National Council will continue to implement the current business plan in accordance with the goals and values outlined in the Strategic Plan (to be reconsidered in 2020). The viability of the institution is dependent on the responsible management of funds with financial planning a key priority. Services to membership through online activities and resources will also be an area of discussion at National Council level this year. An important discussion point raised at the conference was advocating for conservation, and we will be working with membership to increase industry profile over the next year.

I hope you enjoy this edition of the National Newsletter!