What brought you to conservation, Nick, and where are you currently working?
Conservation just made sense to me; it seemed to combine a number of my interests all at once. I began my working life in Adelaide as an apprentice plumber. From there I turned my attention to undergraduate studies, taking majors in chemistry, philosophy and European studies. Towards the end of my time at university, I enquired at Artlab wanting to know more about conservation. After about a month volunteering there, I was employed as an assistant conservator. I decided that a career in conservation was for me. Before long, I was studying the conservation course in Melbourne and spending my breaks in Adelaide working at Artlab. Once my studies were completed, I stayed on at Artlab for a few more years. I then journeyed to Canberra to work at the Australian War Memorial as part of the team that redeveloped the First World War galleries. After several years, I moved on to Sydney and joined International Conservation Services, working far-and-wide on projects across Australia and New Zealand. I’m currently working as an objects conservator at the Australian National Maritime Museum. I’ve been employed in conservation for over nine years now, and during that time I’ve been part of some remarkable projects and have met the most amazing people.
What attracted you to the AICCM and volunteering your time?
Throughout my conservation career I have volunteered with the AICCM. Moving from city to city like I have, I’ve found that working on AICCM committees was a great way to get involved with the profession and make new friends. AICCM is the heart and soul of the conservation community and it survives though the efforts of its volunteers.
Working with the AICCM provides opportunities that aren’t always there in your day-to-day job. The truth is that many junior conservation roles are fairly monotonous and offer a relatively low level of responsibility. The work I’ve done with the AICCM has allowed me to take on extra challenges, giving me the opportunity to develop both professionally and personally.
How long have you been National Secretary, what is your role and how much of your time has it taken up?
The National Secretary is responsible for administration of the National Council. The Council is the committee that oversees the operation and direction of the AICCM as a whole. As Secretary it’s my job to bring the Council together for meetings and help them to reach productive outcomes. There are usually six National Council meetings each year. Additionally, there are National Executive meetings and the Annual General Meeting. I work closely with our Secretariat, Michelle Berry, who takes care of the day-to-day operations of the AICCM. I’ve been in the National Secretary role for almost three years now, having been first elected in October 2016. It takes me a few hours a week (about a day a month) to keep on top of my responsibilities in the role.
You are retiring from the position this year at the AGM. Thank you, Nick, for all you have done as National Secretary. You have been an enthusiastic, energetic and key member of the team. What would you say to someone thinking about standing as the next National Council Secretary?
If you’re looking for an exciting opportunity within the AICCM you should seriously consider nominating for the National Secretary role ahead of this year’s AGM. The role is a fantastic chance to learn new things and to get to know your colleagues. Although your primary responsibility relates to the administration of the National Council it is also an opportunity to help shape the Australian conservation community for the better. If you’re curious about the role please feel free to contact me or anyone on the National Council.