Newsletter Issue Number:
AICCM National Newsletter No 138 June 2017
Jennifer O'Connell

Last year, AICCM National Council invited members, lapsed members and non-members to participate in a Membership Survey. The purpose was to give membership a chance to voice their opinions on the direction of the AICCM. The information collected is being compared with the current Strategic and Business Plans to see how expectations align.



  • The survey had a good response of 173. 87% respondents were members, 10% were lapsed members, and the others were not members.
  • Most respondents were employed by public institutions.
  • 50% of respondents had been in the profession for 11+ years.
  • Age range – 41% were 35-49, 35% were 50-64, 21% 20-34 and only 3% were 65+
  • Nearly 50% of respondents have a graduate degree as their highest level of education
  • 60% are working in conservation on a full-time or casual basis in the public service
  • Practical bench work makes up 58% of respondent’s time

AICCM Involvement

  • 50% of the respondents had been involved in an AICCM committee at the State or National level.
  • Most were members or lapsed members
  • The survey did not seem to reach non-members, or they chose not to participate

What is your main reason for being an AICCM member?

  • Jobs and training
  • News
  • Networking
  • To support the profession
  • Connection
  • Community
  • To stay updated

Of those that have not renewed AICCM Membership:

  • 42% said it is too expensive
  • 11% limited value
  • 15% process issues

Highestrating memberships other than AICCM were:

  • ICOM-CC (International Council of Museums Committee for Conservation) 45%
  • IIC- International Institute for the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works 33%
  • AIC – American Institute for the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works 22%
  • Museums Australia

Respondents were asked a range of questions on a scale of 1 -5, 1 being not important at all, not very important, somewhat important, important and very important.

How important are the following?

Not important at all Not very important Somewhat important Important Very important
AICCM publications
AICCM Bulletin Important
AICCM Newsletter Somewhat important
AICCM communications
Bi-monthly email from AICCM Executive Somewhat important
AICCCM Social Media (Facebook, Twitter) Somewhat important
AICCM Website Very important
AICCM member benefits
Networking Very important
AICCM Event Discounts Important
AICCM Member Emails Important
AICCM Awards
AICCM Awards Somewhat important
SIG Events Very important
State Events Somewhat important Important
Themes developed as part of the AICCM 2016-2020 Strategic Plan
A sustainable organisation Important
Increase relevance in an evolving industry Important
Member services Important

SIG What would you like to learn about in the next continuing education event?

  • Management – Administrative skills, communication skills
  • Specialised skills – photographic conservation, working with Indigenous art
  • Overall skills – chemistry refreshers, analytical techniques
  • Technology – video, photography skills, database skills, collection management skills
  • Traditional trade skills – framing, mount making
  • Could other specialised skill organisation events could be included on website of AICCM?

How often do you attend AICCM State Division events?

A whole range of answers here from once per year, attendance at the AGM and Christmas party, to regular attendance, 5-6 events per year. Some obstacles to attendance came up:

  • Family commitments
  • Work deadlines
  • Work/life balance
  • Regional area
  • Not knowing about the events

Have you attended an AICCM National Conference?

80% of respondents had attended an AICCM National Conference. There were many suggestions for improvement also.

  • More lightning talks
  • Combine National Conference and SIGs so people can attend both
  • Pre-prints not just abstracts to encourage discussion
  • Make program available earlier
  • Webcast / record keynote speaker
  • Practical workshops for skill building
  • Consistent dates
  • Continue with sessions in streams / specialisation
  • Preventive conservation on its own as its applicable to all streams

What are the critical issues facing the preservation of Australia’s cultural material that AICCM could assist with? In order of priority:

  1. The preservation of new media (incl. born digital, installation, video art)
  2. Access to conservation information and services by regional and local institutions
  3. Access to conservation information and services by private collections
  4. Access to conservation information and services by state and national institutions
  5. Preservation of traditional media

What are the issues facing the profession as a whole that the AICCM could assist with? In order of priority:

  1. Reduced government funding for arts and culture (incl. institutions)
  2. Mentorship/intergenerational skills transfer
  3. Inadequate advocacy within industry and government
  4. Research and innovation in materials conservation
  5. Developing knowledge and skills for new media preservation
  6. Accessing conservation-grade materials (eg adhesives, infill media)
  7. Developing knowledge and skills for preservation of Indigenous cultural material
  8. Loss of bench skills or time spent at the bench

Which projects should the AICCM prioritise for fundraising? In order of priority:

  1. Advocacy – understanding and communicating national conservation needs
  2. Support emerging professionals and student members
  3. Plan for the conservation of our digital future
  4. Regional outreach projects
  5. Disaster preparedness and response assistance

Survey Outcomes

The answers and comments have given National Council a lot of information to refer to in terms of areas for improvement, as well as what is being done well.

Overall, the themes that appeared as a focus in the survey were:

  • Importance of advocacy for the profession
  • AICCM response to the cuts to funding in the conservation sector
  • The AICCM’s relevance in a changing industry
  • Hands on conservation skills
  • Networking
  • SIG Events
  • Job opportunities
  • Opportunities for graduates
  • Emerging Conservators network
  • Promoting of Professional Membership
  • Conservation and Indigenous Issues
  • Looking at aligning with another organisation in the future, eg Museums Australia
  • Take more pride in the awards – showcase awards

Thank you for participating in the survey. The results are used to ensure that AICCM National Council is aware of the range of views of its members, and that the AICCM Strategic Goals align with expectations.

The next survey will be in 2018 and then again in 2020 prior to the new Strategic Plan.