Somehow, it’s nearly the end of 2021! And despite everything (ongoing global pandemics, etc.) it’s also been an amazingly productive year, with AICCM members organising and participating in a multitude of programs and events. Channelling some Christmas spirit, here are 12 of my favourites (partridges in pear trees and golden rings notwithstanding, and in no particular order).
1: Disaster Preparedness
In October, AICCM hosted multiple events centred around International Disaster Preparedness Day. These included the launch of the AICCM’s inaugural Disaster Preparedness Calendar, developed and delivered by our wonderful Disaster Preparedness Committee. This resource was generously sponsored by Blue Shield, Museums & Galleries Queensland, and AMaGA Vic and can be downloaded for free at https://aiccm.org.au/disaster/disaster-preparedness-calendar/ (pass it on!). In addition, the Agents of Change (AoC) committee held two related events: a workshop about decision-making during disasters hosted by Dr Dolapo Fakuade and their AoC October disaster-themed webinar.
2: Agents of Change
As I write this, the Agents of Change team is gearing up to deliver its final webinar of the series, ‘Masterclass’. This series has redefined what AICCM events can be and has garnered participation from all over the world. My sincere thanks and congratulations to Tegan Anthes (Preventive SIG Coordinator), the organising committee, and everyone who participated as a host, speaker, sponsor or viewer. AICCM SIG and Event Coordinator Lisa Mansfield deserves special mention for her work on this project. Lisa’s skills as a graphic designer, event organiser and communicator, as well as her willingness to coach others in the finer points of Zoom webinar hosting, went above and beyond and helped make this series such an amazing success.
3: Ask a Conservator
On 4 November, several AICCM members and Australian organisations participated in Ask a Conservator Day, an initiative started by the American Institute for Conservation to raise the profile of conservators and the work we do. Ask a Conservator Day is only a few years old and is starting to gain momentum—several participants reported an increase in their social media traffic and multiple questions from followers. Most of the action I heard about was on Twitter and Instagram, with many questions coming through as private messages on Instagram in response to posts. Many thanks to our Communications Officer Zora Sanders for coordinating AICCM’s involvement on the day. I hope we will have even more AICCM participants next year!
4: IIC COP26 edit-a-thon
Our colleagues at IIC organised a 24-hour global edit-a-thon of Wikipedia as part of their COP 26 programming, focusing on sustainability in conservation. Nicole Tse and Alison Wain organised student participation from their respective programs at the universities of Melbourne and Canberra, and MaryJo Lelyveld (Chair of AICCM’s Sustainability Committee) volunteered her extensive expertise to IIC to help develop its project framework. We even had some online training from an official Wikimedian! So it was a great skills development opportunity as well. Our student participants also updated sections of the AICCM website wiki, so make sure you take time to have a look: https://aiccm.org.au/wiki/aiccm-wiki/.
ADFAS has continued its generous support of AICCM and our activities in 2021, awarding THREE mid-career scholarships and providing financial awards for our two Students of the Year. I am so grateful to ADFAS and its Patricia Robertson Fund and the Armidale branch for this support. These scholarships are an amazing opportunity so put your thinking caps on for next year.
6: New Council members and other office bearers
Following the 2021 AGM we welcome Amanda Wild as National Secretary and Lucilla Ronai as Membership Services Officer to National Council. Many SIGs and State Divisions have also held elections, and we welcome new office-bearers Charlotte Walker as Victorian Division President, Jennifer O’Connor and Freya Harrington as Tasmanian President and State Representative, Ruby Awburn and Emily Kelleher as Queensland President and Secretary, Jessie Gray as NSW President, Bindy Wilson as WA Secretary, Genevieve Tobin as the Conservation Framing SIG convenor, and Annabelle Williams and Bella Lipson-Smith as Emerging Conservator SIG convenors. Volunteering for AICCM positions has many benefits but it is also work, unrecompensed and often out-of-hours. Thank you all (and to all our continuing committee members)—you make the world go round.
7: Retiring Council members and SIG convenors
This means of course many tireless AICCM members have stepped down this year too (actually I suspect they are all quite tired)—many thanks to Elizabeth McCartney (Vic. President), Rehan Scharenguivel (NSW President), Rachel Spano (Qld President), Cobus van Breda (Tas. President, though we still have you on National Council as Publications Officer, thank goodness!), Emily Vearing and Lisa Mansfield (Emerging Conservator SIG convenors), Louise Bradley (Conservation Framing SIG convenor), Bronwyn Dunn (Education and Training Committee chair), Katie Wood (Membership Services Officer) and Amy Bartlett (National Secretary). We all appreciate your work on our behalf.
8: Australian Made
I personally only attended the quiz night (and remain outraged that victory was snatched at the last minute by those smartypantses in the Jeffrey Smart team), but a number of people have told me how much they enjoyed this program—particularly members in private practice, who found a daily online event or seminar over a few weeks much easier to build into their work than a three-day conference intensive. Australian Made was another innovative example of what professional development can look like post-COVID-19 and huge congratulations to convenors Raye Collins and Raymonda Rajkowski for your dedication and innovation.
9: Our new Development Committee
This year we put together our first Development Committee, led by our Vice President, Grace Barrand. We’ve had several productive meetings already, and after each one I feel like I’ve been to a fundraising masterclass—our committee members have been so generous with their knowledge and expertise. I’m really looking forward to what will come out of this group.
10: Our AICCM contractors
It is no secret (I hope!) that without our paid contractors AICCM would fall into a hole and nothing would ever get done. Secretariat Michelle Berry, Website Editor Paul Coleman, Communications Officer Zora Sanders, Book-keeper Hilary Milsome and eNews copy editor Sue Bassett keep all the wheels turning. Without them we’d have no membership directory, no website, no event listings and registrations, no social media feeds and also no money, because no one would have time to send out our membership invoices and complete our BAS statements. We couldn’t do it without you.
11: State Divisions and SIGs
A lot of AICCM biz happens locally, and though COVID-19 continued to thwart our attempts to meet in-person I know a lot still happened—virtual trivia nights, webinars (gels!! hyperspectral imaging!!), and online and in-person tours and workshops. I tried not to be too jealous of our Tasmanian Division, who I think even managed to meet up in-person for drinks.
12: Our members
The year 2021 was another strange and difficult one and I’m so glad all of you have remained part of the AICCM community. Your membership has enabled all of the activities I’ve described above—and despite being a relatively small cohort, the breadth and quality of what we all achieve professionally is truly astonishing. Thank you for your support.
Wishing you all the very best for Christmas and New Year,