Newsletter Issue Number:
AICCM National Newsletter No 152 December 2020
Alice Cannon

Earlier this year we sent out our two-yearly membership survey.

The purpose of this survey is to gather demographic information about our membership, and to seek feedback on which services and issues are most important to members.

This year 169 people took our survey (thank you!). This article summarises the results. Note that not all respondents answered every question (it was possible to skip questions).


About our members

The majority of respondents (49 per cent) have been conservators for over 10 years. A further 10 per cent of respondents fell into each of these categories: 1–3 years’ practice, 4–6 years’ practice, and 7–10 years’ practice, with the remainder either retired or part of a related industry or profession.

The majority of respondents (55 per cent) have a graduate degree, and 19 per cent an undergraduate degree. Eight per cent of respondents have a PhD and 7 per cent trained on the job. The remaining 11 per cent answered ‘other’ or ‘not applicable’.

Fifty percent of respondents are employed by the public service, 20 per cent are self-employed and 13 per cent are in private practice. Six per cent answered that they were unemployed, 5 per cent as volunteers, and 9 per cent as ‘other’.

Sixty per cent are employed full time and 19 per cent part time. Seven per cent of respondents are employed on a casual basis, 9 per cent on a fixed-term contract, 8 per cent answered ‘ongoing’ and 12 per cent ‘other’.

Fifty-eight per cent of respondents reported that practical hands-on work makes up most of their daily work, and 36 per cent work primarily in conservation management. Research and heritage or preservation project management was the primary work of about 21 per cent of respondents (each), and collection management 20 per cent. Teaching represented the main work of 9 per cent and conservation science the rarest focus at 6 per cent.



Eighty per cent of respondents are current members (thank you!), 3 per cent non-members and 17 per cent lapsed members.

Of current members, 20 per cent have been members for up to three years, 18 per cent for 4–6 years, 10 per cent for 7–10 years, and 39 per cent for more than 10 years.

Collectively, we have a wide range of other memberships, with ICOM-CC most popular at 30 per cent. IIC is also popular, at 28 per cent, ICON, AIC and AMaGA all around 22 per cent, and 5–6 per cent each for NZCCM, ICCROM, and the Australian Society of Archivists. But 37 per cent answered ‘other’ (instead of or as well as other choices), so these organisations are only the tip of our iceberg of interests.

Seventy-one per cent of respondents would like to see AICCM strengthen its ties with AMaGA, 42 per cent with the International Specialised Skills Institute (ISS), 40 per cent with the Australasian Registrars Committee, 33 per cent with Blue Shield Australia, about 25 per cent each for the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and the Australian Decorative Fine Arts Society (ADFAS), and 22 per cent with the Australian Society of Archivists.


Volunteering with AICCM

Fifty-one respondents answered the question about time volunteered on AICCM affairs (about 30 per cent of respondents overall). Of those, 59 per cent had volunteered 1–10 hours on AICCM matters in the last year, 29 per cent 10–50 hours and 12 per cent are die-hards at more than 50 hours.

To the question ‘Have you ever served as a member of AICCM National Council or a committee?’, 166 answered the question and of these 42 per cent answered ‘yes’ and 58 per cent ‘no’.


How much do you like us?

This question asked ‘How likely is it that you would recommend AICCM to a friend or colleague?’ – 48 per cent probably would, 32 per cent might, and 20 per cent probably wouldn’t. This gives us a net promoter score of 28, but I confess I don’t know what this means and whether it is good or not. (To Google!)


AICCM services and member benefits

Publications: The majority of respondents ranked the AICCM Bulletin as either ‘very important’ (37 per cent) or ‘important’ (45 per cent). The AICCM eNews ranked as ‘very important’ for 21 per cent, ‘important’ for 50 per cent and ‘somewhat important’ for 25 per cent.

Communications: Not everyone is keen on social media, with about 20 per cent ranking our Facebook and Twitter feeds as not very important or not important – but 18 per cent rated them as very important, 33 per cent as important and 30 per cent as somewhat important, which seems to justify the resources we put towards these communication platforms. (These platforms also have a much broader reach than our membership base). The website ranked very well, with 49 per cent seeing it as very important, 36 per cent as important and 14 per cent valuing it ‘somewhat’. This is gratifying, as we’ve invested a lot in this resource – both as a member service and as a resource for the public.

Other membership benefits: Networking, event discounts and member emails all ranked well – 79 per cent valued networking as important or very important, 59 per cent for event discounts, and 72 per cent for our member emails. Even more gratifying was that 91 per cent feel they receive just the right number of emails (not too many or too few).


What would you like AICCM to prioritise next?

There were a number of questions where we asked you to rank various projects and resources in order of value.

Just over half of respondents would like us to focus more on developing shared resources such as the AICCM website wiki (51 per cent), with 31 per cent prioritising the support of student and emerging conservators, and 20 per cent professional membership.

Improving platforms for sharing research and experience were preferred to furthering connections to industry partners (77 to 24 per cent).

Increasing AICCM representation at community events was a preferred focus over grant auspicing (64 to 37 per cent).

We asked you what our priorities for advocacy should be: new and existing partnerships with other cultural organisations; government engagement on current issues such as climate action and First Nations heritage; or the development of a National Conservation Policy. All three areas were popular, but more people voted government engagement as number one priority (47 per cent) over the Conservation Policy (37 per cent) and partnerships (18 per cent).

Preferred avenues for fundraising were fairly evenly split, with 53 per cent preferring a focus on securing multiple streams of income to support AICCM activities, and about 48 per cent the development of a fundraising plan. (We really need to do both of these things anyway).

Just over 52 per cent would prefer a review of the Code of Ethics and Practice over a review of organisational structure (49 per cent).



SIG events continue to be very popular, with 39 per cent very important, 32 per cent important and 23 per cent somewhat important.

For State Division events, 25 per cent attend one or two events per year, 16 per cent three or four events, 4 per cent five or more and 14 per cent ‘whenever offered’. Forty-one per cent rarely or never attend State events. State events are still valued, however, with 21% ranking them as very important, 36 per cent as important and 28 per cent as somewhat important.

The majority of respondents (78 per cent) have attended a National Conference and a further 15 per cent would like to attend – which bodes well for our next National Conference in Darwin!


AICCM Awards

We need to do more to promote and increase the value of the AICCM Awards, with only 3 per cent ranking them as very important, 24 per cent as important, 32 per cent as somewhat important, 26 per cent as not very important and 14 per cent as not important. We’ve received feedback previously that the benefits of winning AICCM awards are small, in that we don’t do enough to promote the work of our winners. Please get in touch if you have ideas about how we could better use the awards to promote both conservation and the work of our members.

Many thanks for participating in the 2020 survey, and please feel free to provide feedback at any time of year!

NB: the 2016 survey results can be found at We’re working on putting the results of the 2018 survey together as well.