Arts Tune-Up: Preservation Tips for Artists
(October 21-23, 2020)
Join us in conversation with professional art conservators from across the field as they share their knowledge about how to plan for the long-term care of your artwork in a variety of contexts. Over seven different sessions, presenters will cover both general and specific information and best practices that will help you mitigate risks while maintaining your original artistic intent.
LaStarsha McGarity will present about choosing materials, Shannon will present about the collaborative process between artists and conservators, and Nylah Byrd will present about proper storage, handling, and transporting artworks with Magdalena Solano.
Exploring the Conservation Ethics of Contested Monuments
(October 26, 2020)
The controversy surrounding Confederate statues and other contested monuments that celebrate slave
owners, imperialism, and white settler colonialism have been highlighted in recent months. Although
activists have advocated for the removal of these monuments for years, the racial unrest this summer
has brought these issues to the forefront of the cultural heritage sector and greater society as
community activists empower themselves to take down such monuments all over the world. This has
caused conflicted feelings in some conservators who want to support racial justice in public spaces, but
who have been traditionally taught to always prioritize the preservation of outdoor sculpture and
monuments. Conservators may also be conflicted if their employers task them with the care of
contested monuments, calling professional ethics into question. At the crux of the matter are questions
surrounding who is valued in our society and who gets to make decisions in regard to public spaces and
the interpretation of history. Competing values surrounding the removal of contested monuments will
be explored with panelists including artists, historians, and preservation professionals.
Sponsored by FAIC, the AIC Equity & Inclusion Committee, and Emerging Conservation Professionals Network
Dr. Renée Ater
Decolonizing Collections and Prioritizing Community Partnerships
Calls to decolonize collections have gained momentum in recent years. Decolonizing collections would mean transforming the way we view and interact with collections, de-centering white colonizer perspectives and addressing the traumatic histories that have led to our existing systems. The current racial justice movement has made the need to be inclusive and to partner equally with communities even more clear. What would it look like if we rejected a top-down approach and shared authority over collections with Indigenous communities and other communities of color? This session will explore the foundations of how we work as conservators and examine new, ethical ways for us to work.
Héctor J. Berdecía-Hernández
Conservation is Not Neutral: Emotion and Bias in our Work
Traditional models of conservation have taught us to attempt to maintain scientific objectivity at all times. However, in reality what has historically been called “objectivity” is actually just the continuation of the majority perspective, which was enshrined as ‘objective fact’ by scientific theories that went hand in hand with colonial subjugation of non-white people. As our job is to aid in the preservation of history, perhaps we should not try to eliminate feelings from our handling of emotionally significant artifacts, even when those artifacts do not emotionally
resonate with us personally. This session will explore the principle of neutrality in conservation and discuss how bias contributes to inequity in our field.
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