Carole Best

Welcome to the first National Newsletter eNews! It has been a long time in gestation, and as the last weeks have progressed somewhat slowly, an eternity in the birthing too. Being well past its due date, the eNews has swollen in size to that of a well-nourished neonate, and I apologise for delivering it so close to Christmas but, as with many first-borns, it has been somewhat reluctant to leave its mothership. 

Thanks must go to Chris Cotton and Beata Klepek of Yarn Digital for the template design, and to Jason Grant from Inkahoots for his part in the banner design. Also to Ian Batterham who, despite his retirement, continues on in the role of Newsletter editor.

The eNews is built on a responsive platform that means the display rearranges itself to suit each device without shrinking the content, so you can read the newsletter on trains, in queues, or as you peddle away on an exercise bike. Wherever your mobile can go, so too can the AICCM National Newsletter.

While we are on the topic of announcements and good news, we have appointed our first part-time paid web editor. Prior to, and during the National Conference, we interviewed five candidates. After much deliberation and a competitive field, we appointed Zora Sanders. National Council has been strategically working towards implementing the position for the last two years, so that the web content and social media can be managed on a day-to-day basis to amplify our advocacy for the protection of cultural heritage, and to further build public awareness about who we are and what we do. 

Zora comes to the position well equipped, experienced and keen. She spent her early career in publishing as editor of the Australian literary journal, Meanjin. She has an interest and experience in social media, digital publishing, writing and editing, and is currently a conservation student at Melbourne University. 

As well as working in visitor services with the NGV and studying part-time, Zora presents a regular ‘weird history’ segment the 3RRR show Hullaballoo and has an interest in maritime, military and women’s history. It was this broad immersion in the arts and cultural heritage, as well as in the cultural industry as a whole, which led us to appoint Zora. Her focus is outward and she has acute awareness of the different audience segments that AICCM needs to engage and partner with for a sustainable future.

As we welcome Zora to the seat which I have been occupying for far too long, we farewell Meg Ellis who worked casually for AICCM for the last year. Meg was particularly helpful during the last stage of the website redevelopment where she researched and wrote new content for the Things we conserve section of the website, and we will greatly miss her efficiency and web savvy. Meg has found full-time employment with the Public Records Office Victoria and everyone from National Council thanks her for her contribution and wishes her luck in her future.

The conference in Hobart proved a fruitful time for the web team. Several people offered to assist with our Facebook page that continues to go from strength to strength. Sourcing and posting interesting articles from e-journals, blogs and conservation news is key to developing better community-wide understanding of what conservators do and how we do it. So if you are not already a Twitter or a Facebook user, why not join up and see who’s active in various conservation conversations? For an organisation like AICCM social media is a gift: it’s free, allows us to build brand awareness, profile our own work, and direct people to our website. It’s a way of publicly supporting the institutions we work with and for by sharing and commenting on their content and in general by being more visible in cultural conversations—of which there are many, both interesting and diverse—to be found in the social media spectrum.

In addition, we now have a volunteer to look after the wiki! Adele Barbara, also a Melbourne-based conservation student has agreed to take on the project. In the new year, Adele will work with Zora and the SIG conveners to determine a framework of what information should be available on the wiki, how the topics should be grouped, as well as source and upload the content. The wiki is a membership benefit developed in response to requests by members, so now it has a manager, you will reap the benefits. Get those varnish recipes ready, designs for object supports and ergonomic working aids—anything that can be shared and is of use to other conservators can have a home on our wiki. And Helen Privett might finally be able to share her Oddy tests with us—something she’s been wanting to do for nearly three years. Access to the wiki is via the top menu once you are logged into the site.

From here on in, I will very much become a silent partner in AICCM digital communications though will continue working on some of the resources over the next year. It has been a delight to share AICCM’s digital journey thus far with the following people: Michelle Berry for her companionship and consideration, and for reminding me of the importance of the end game; Alice Cannon for the original web vision as well as strong content to work with; Cobus van Breda for his trust and good humour; MaryJo Lelyveld for her strategic brain and understanding of the digital communications landscape; and Anne Carter for her participatory, measured and helpful feedback. The whole of National Council has been calm under pressure, open to new ideas and suggestions, and a pleasure to work with. Thank you for accepting me into the fold. 

So to our new volunteers and to Zora, welcome. The throttle is your hands now, steer the AICCM Millennium Falcon well, and may the force be with you.

Carole Best

Outgoing web editor

Contact Zora for web-related questions and content

Contact Michelle for membership questions and all things administrative