Zora Sanders

Recognising the exceptional professionalism, hard work and innovative practices of Australian conservators is one of AICCM’s most pleasurable duties. This year’s awards, bestowed in a special ceremony at the AICCM conference in Hobart, are testament to the wealth of talent and expertise evident in all levels of the profession. AICCM president MaryJo Lelyveld warmly thanked all those who submitted nominations, and congratulateS all the winners who have undertaken exceptional work over the previous two years.

Marcelle Scott and Tess Evans at the 2015 Awards CeremonyThe awards were a wonderful prelude to the main social function of the conference, the cocktail part at Hadley’s Orient Hotel held beneath a beautiful domed leadlight window, which gave delegates the chance to prove their skills on the dance floor are just as well-honed as their skills in the lab. It was an excellent chance for old colleagues to reconnect, new professionals to build relationships and students to gain an insight into the wide range of activities and interests undertaken by conservators on a day-to-day level.

The award for Conservator of the Year went to Tess Evans of Heights Heritage Conservation in recognition of her work on the Museum of Brisbane’s blockbuster Costumes from the Golden Age of Hollywood exhibition, which went on to win the ‘Best Temporary or travelling Exhibition’ award at the 2015 Museum and Galleries National Awards. The selection committee was especially impressed by Tess’s popular public outreach programs, which significantly raised the profile of conservation for visitors to the exhibition.

The winner of the award for Outstanding Contribution to the Conservation Profession was Marcelle Scott, whose extraordinary work was reflected in the large number of nominations AICCM received for Marcelle. She is recognised for, among many other things, her commitment to teaching and student engagement, her contributions to conservation research, her long service to AICCM and her outstanding organisational skill demonstrated during the 17th ICOM-CC conference held in Melbourne in 2014.

Like Meryl Streep at the Oscars, Marcelle Scott proved unbeatable at the 2015 AICCM awards, also taking out the award for Outstanding Research in the Field of Conservation. This award was bestowed in recognition of her paper ‘Normal and extraordinary conservation knowledge: Towards a post normal theory of cultural materials conservation’ published in volume 36.1 of the AICCM Bulletin.

The award for Outstanding Conservation Volunteer was awarded jointly to all the volunteers who worked on the John Herbert public conservation project at the National Gallery of Victoria which involved an in-gallery treatment of a large scale painting and frame, and to Rebecca Barnott-Clements who has been a volunteer at the Australian Museum for over three years, demonstrating her reliability, diligence and skill across a wide range of projects with the conservation team.

The award for Student of the Year at the University of Melbourne was awarded to Ainslee Meredith who has demonstrated exceptional dedication to the field through her work on a large number of volunteer projects, her engagement with community organisations and cultural institutions and her high academic achievement in the Masters of Cultural Material Conservation. The Student of the Year from Canberra University was Robyn Victory who has shown great initiative and commitment to both her studies and extra-curricular activities. Among many other projects and contributions, Robyn initiated a lunch-time seminar series that has given student the chance to meet professional conservators and develop their own public speaking and communication abilities.

Congratulations to all award winners in 2015 and a reminder to everyone to be on the look out for exceptional work by colleagues, volunteers and students so that they can be nominated and recognised in the next round of awards in 2017.