Newsletter Issue Number:
AICCM National Newsletter No 137 March 2017
MaryJo Lelyveld AICCM National President

In late February, the National Council held its Face-to-Face planning session at Museum Victoria. This meeting, held over a Friday and Saturday, is always a stimulating, enlightening, tiring and gratifying affair. Not only is it a chance to put a face to a voice (all other meetings throughout the year are held as teleconferences) but over the two days, we review how we’re tracking against the Strategic Plan and discuss key operational and strategic concerns of the organisation.

Every year, inevitably, the following questions are always raised in some shape or form:

  • Who do we serve? Are we for members? Cultural material? Or educators of the public and wider profession? The answer as you’ll see in our Strategic Plan is all three, something we share with many professional bodies.
  • Are we trying to do too much as a largely volunteer organisation? The answer is always ‘yes!’ (thankfully a little passion and time shared by many goes a very long way) and the face-to-face is the chance to review the ‘what we’re doing’ against the ‘what we should be doing’
  • What projects do we prioritise? Whilst there are many worthwhile activities and projects we can pursue, many of our greatest achievements have come about when member interests align with projects they care about. Those involved then make the time and effort to keep things moving and get things done (between day jobs, home lives and study)—from SIG events, to the publication of The Bulletin, local State Division meet-ups and the drafting of responses to government and industry papers.

Some of the key issues and concerns for the few years has been our sustainability as an organisation. Whilst financial sustainability has been something we’ve addressed, it’s the social and cultural sustainability that is the focus of the coming years, as we look at becoming much more proactive in mediating the intergenerational skills transfer between senior, mid and emerging conservators. As many senior conservation professionals working within the field find their professionals lives absorbed by the workplace, meeting the demands of increased workloads and outputs with reduced resourcing, whilst commonly caring for family (both children and parents), many of our emerging conservators need support, encouragement and opportunity to allow them to take on the responsibility of being a voice for cultural heritage preservation. Based on this, we are establishing and Emerging Conservators SIG and are benefitting from continued support from the Australian Decorative and Fine Arts Society. You can read more about these activities below.

In addition to supporting the next generation of professionals, we are looking at ways to capitalise on the hard work and past successes of the AICCM and translating them for the contemporary heritage context. This includes the ReCollections Upgrade project; The National Project and Sustainable Collections Committee. More on all these projects below.

Supporters and Partners

The Supporters page is now active on the website featuring our key partnerships and supporters over the past financial year. This includes regular supporters (e.g. ADFAS), project partners and event sponsors (e.g. from National Conference and SIG activities) and helps to clarify those organisations and companies that support our work.

Over the coming year, we will be looking to take a much more proactive approach in managing relationships with donors and supporters through the Development Committee. This will include developing a database of existing, previous and potential donors and supporters for on-going or targeted projects. This will ensure that the AICCM does not approach the same funding bodies, advertisers or donors for financial support multiple times over the course of the year (e.g. for advertising on the website, as sponsors to one or more SIG events).

Australian Decorative and Fine Arts Society

Following on from several years support for AICCM members via the Patricia Robertson ADFAS Scholarship, ADFAS have extended their support for a further 3 years of annual sponsorship towards:

  • 2 x $1000 ADFAS Scholarships to be granted to University of Canberra and University or Melbourne AICCM Student of the Year
  • 1 x $2000 ADFAS Mid-career Scholarship to be granted to mid-career professional at the discretion of the awards committee

All scholarships are to be used towards professional development activities or programs and will require an article written for both ADFAS and AICCM Newsletters outlining the project/s to which the funds were applied. Stay tuned for more information on the ADFAS Mid-career Scholarship in the coming months.

ReCollections upgrade

Progress continues on updating the on-line version of ReCollections, a partnership with the University of Melbourne. Some key changes or areas to be addressed as part of the project include:

  • Review of Work Health and Safety (WHS) to ensure compliance with most recent legislation
  • Inclusion of chapter on Risk Management
  • Inclusion of a chapter on Contemporary Art, New Media and Plastics and working with living artists
  • Inclusion of chapter on Indigenous Art and working with Indigenous communities

The AICCM contact for this project is Vicki Humphrey, who will be contacting SIGs, Committees and specialists as the project progresses.

The National Project

The National Project Committee are currently undertaking a literature review on the history and implementation of conservation and preservation programs within Australia. The literature review will act as a discussion paper, intended to broadly define where the current gaps in collections care services lie. Much of this information is contained in grey literature which has yet to be developed into government green or white papers for use by government.

In partnership with the University of Melbourne (GCCMC), and through its State Divisions, the AICCM is planning to undertake several community consultation forums to ascertain the nature of collection material, current resourcing allocated to its care (both financial and personnel), and its geographic location. The outcomes of these forums will allow for discussion and comparison against the current location of preservation services and existing resourcing opportunities, with an opportunity for further recommendations.

Sustainable Collections Committee (SCC)

The National Council is reviewing the structure of several aligned committees in order to increase their efficacy by coordinating the activities and outputs. These committees include Disaster Preparedness and Response, Environmental Standards Taskforce and Mould Remediation Working Group, which will now be coordinated by an over-arching Sustainable Collections Committee (SCC). The new SCC Convenor, Ren Gregoric comes to the role from having recently worked as Green Museums Project Manager at Museums Australia (Victoria). Ren will be working with current sub-committee, taskforce and working group convenors, to ensure that the aims and outcomes of the various sub-groups are aligned with other AICCM activities, especially in the area of outreach and communications. If you are interested in being involved with the SCC, please contact Ren or myself for additional information.

Amanda Pagliarino has also agreed to step back in to the role of Convenor of the Environmental Standards Taskforce to resolve the Interim status of the Environmental Standards Taskforce. Amanda has been successful in securing a place on the Getty developed ‘Managing Collection Environments: Preserving Collections in the Age of Sustainability’ program. This 8-month course will cover most recent developments in thinking, design for and practical implementation of collections care preservation and act as a focus for reconciling our Interim Standards status.

Development Committee

Unfortunately, the AICCM was not successful in securing status as a Registered Charity by the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC). The main concern was that the AICCM ‘predominantly provides benefits to (rather than) the general public.’ This outcome is a significant challenge to the intended direction of development planning, limiting the scope of grants and or agencies with which we are able to partner. For the AICCM it highlights our need to ensure that our activities and program are relevant to the broader profession and the public, many of whom are directly responsible for collections care. Projects such as the ReCollections Upgrade and activities of the Collections Care Committee are intended to help provide accessible, engaging and relevant content for a wider audience, and will place us in a much better position when next we apply.

MaryJo Lelyveld
AICCM National President