Not often can I attend a conference in my pajamas, so I thought I would take advantage of this opportunity to watch the live broadcast of the IIC‘s first Student & Emerging Conservator Conference, Conservation: Futures and Responsibilities. The system was executed so smoothly, with live speakers as well as those streamed in through Skype, and questions from the audience, Twitter, and the IIC newsblog.
Unfortunately, I missed the Friday session because I was in class, but I set my alarm for 5 o’clock this morning to catch the second session on planning a professional career. The speakers included Duygu Camurcuoglu (British Museum), Amber Kerr-Allison (Lunder Conservation Center), Bronwyn Ormsby (Tate), and Mikkel Scharff (Konservatorskolen). Bronwyn began with the story of how she was first introduced to conservation and subsequently followed that career path as a paper conservator in Australia, and later in London as a Conservation Scientist and lecturer. The panelists continued in that fashion, each discussing their unique career paths and how they believe conservation work is changing. Amber Kerr-Allison made a great point about our generation’s skill set being social media and other technologies; to volunteer these talents would likely be a welcome contribution to IIC, AIC, and even regional conservation guilds.
The third session was a lively one, made more lively by the fact that I was fully awake by this point. The topic of this session was conservation and the international perspective, and included just that–an international perspective: May Cassar (Centre for Sustainable Heritage), Max Marmor (Kress Foundation), Patrick McBride (Self-employed Paper Conservator), Jerry Podany (Getty Conservation Institute), and Alison Richmond (ICON). To have goals that are “focused, yet open” was the common theme of this session’s advice, so concisely summarized by Jerry Podany.
While international experiences were discussed in the form of education abroad, and travel for work, the panelists also covered many other topics on the minds of conservation students and emerging conservators, including volunteering, internships, and cvs. I’ll just note what I thought to be the highlights from each panelist (paraphrased):
May Cassar –
- Graduate programs should be providing you with an education, not just training.
- As emerging conservators, one thing you should be sure to do is build “an evidence base for the value of conservation,” to use for future advocacy work.
Max Marmor –
- Be open to unexpected opportunities.
Patrick McBride –
- Think of volunteering as relationship-building.
Jerry Podany –
- A graduate program provides you with an amazing community of support, but consider broadening that to an international community, even one that includes other, related professions.
- Be strategic; prepare yourself for the opportunities that you want to have in the chance that they will materialize.
- What I look for in an intern: creative and critical thinking, enthusiasm, commitment, an open mind, focus.
Allison Richmond –
- Tailor your cv to each position. Include experiences that make you stand out, no matter how directly related they are to conservation, and regardless of the amount of time spent in that position.
- Your questions and concerns related to the field are helpful to professional organizations such as ICON.