** This is reposted from AIC’s Blog, “Conservators Converse”
At the 2012 AIC Annual Meeting we hosted the first ever AIC Great Debate. By all accounts, it was a rousing success. While last year’s debate was good, this year we’re hoping to make it better.
The 2013 Great Debate will take place on Saturday, June 1 from 4:00 to 5:00 pm as the final session in the General Session. Now not only will everyone have the opportunity to attend, but you’ll have a good reason to stay to the very end of the Annual Meeting! And, as the ultimate way to promote dialogue, camaraderie, and, well, fun, we will have a cash bar in the room. Finally, I’m working on walk up music for the teams: hint all of the musicians were born in Indiana.
But, before I list this year’s debate topics and participants, I want to make a very important disclaimer: I created the AIC Great Debate as an intellectual exercise to demonstrate that conservators are clever enough to see a tough topic from both sides and discuss it openly.
With this in mind, in many cases I have personally invited participants to debate from a position that is contrary to their personal beliefs. This not only adds a fun twist it proves the point that the Debate is not meant to provide a forum so we can prove one side is right, but rather to engage in a public dialogue to surface all of this issues around difficult topics. And though I’m listing participant’s institutional affiliations (so you’ll get a chance to know them better), in no way am I suggesting that the participants are representing an institutional position in the Debate.
The greatest act of preservation for inherently fragile or fugitive cultural property is exhibition, even if the duration goes far beyond what is currently recommended.
While volunteers used on preservation projects often allow us to accomplish more work, they undermine our capacity to regularly employ conservation and collections care professionals.
Like last year, I’d like to ask you for help to make the AIC Great Debate successful. We need you! We need you in the audience to be lively, interested, engaged, and fun. And I don’t mean just to cheer on your favorite conservator or team; we need you to participate in the Great Debate at AIC!
There will be a significant amount of time in which the audience will get to ask each team questions to which they have to respond.
And, finally, we need you to decide who wins the debate. The winning team for each topic will be the one who sways the most opinions in the audience.
If you’re interested in reading about how the AIC Great Debate went last year, there are reviews on this blog of each debate topic.
2012 TOPIC #1: Publishing accurate and complete “how-to guides” for conservation and restoration treatments online is the best way for us to care for cultural heritage in the 21st century. Read the review here.
2012 TOPIC #2: Having conservators perform treatments in the gallery is the most successful way to generate funding for museums and raise awareness about the profession. Read the review here.
Having conservators perform treatments in the gallery is the most successful way to generate funding for museums and raise awareness about the profession.
This is the second statement being argued at the 2012 Great Debate at AIC. Come hear some of the best and brightest give an argument for and against it next week at the Annual Meeting. More info here.
“Publishing accurate and complete “how-to guides” for conservation and restoration treatments online is the best way for us to care for cultural heritage in the 21st century.”
This is the first statement being argued at the 2012 Great Debate at AIC. Come hear some of the best and brightest give an argument for and against it. More info here.
Here’s the text from my post over on AIC’s Blog:
The 2012 Great Debate at AIC
I’ve had countless great debates with conservators at AIC, but I think they’ve usually happened outside in the hallway, over coffee, dinner, or drinks.
This is year that all changes.
For the first time ever, at the 2012 Annual Meeting in Albuquerque I’ll will be moderating the Great Debate at AIC. This is a modified Oxford Style Debate that will feature two tough topics that will be debated by the best and brightest minds in the field of conversation today. (I got the idea from seeing it at the Annual Meeting for Museum Computer Network; you can watch one of those debates here.)
So, without further ado, here are the topics and the teams set to do battle:
First Statement: Publishing accurate and complete “how-to guides” for conservation and restoration treatments online is the best way for us to care for cultural heritage in the 21st century.
Second Statement: Having conservators perform treatments in the gallery is the most successful way to generate funding for museums and raise awareness about the profession.
To make the debate successful we’ll need lots of help from a highly engaged audience. And I don’t mean just to cheer on your favorite team, we need you to participate in the Great Debate at AIC!
There will be a significant amount of time in the debate in which members of the audience will get to ask each team questions that they have to respond to. Plus, the audience will decide who wins the debate.
The goal of the Great Debate is to create a new forum at the Annual Meeting that encourages meaningful discussions and provides conservators the opportunity to demonstrate their capacity to address challenging issues directly, openly, and in a fun way.
So be sure to come out on Friday the 11th from 2:00 to 3:30 pm to see your colleague do battle on stage in front of a lively audience. I know I’m bias, but this is going to be the most fun you’ll have at the Annual Meeting this year!
I’m looking forward to attending the AIC Annual Meeting next week in Philly—not only to hear some interesting talks, but to catch up with a lot of folks I only see at the meeting.
However, one of the things I’m not looking forward to is figuring out my schedule. The national conservation association is broken up into 10 “specialty groups,” each of which could have a talk in which I’m interested. Fortunately, a fellow objects conservator, Carolyn Riccardelli of the Met, made this handy chart to help figure out the schedule. Thanks, Carolyn!
Also note the hashtag for the meeting is #AIC2011. I’m still on the fence about the usefulness of people tweeting from conferences; out of anything it can be useful to coordinate meet ups or let others know when there’s a good talk. It takes considerable skill to break down someone’s 20 minute talk to a pithy 140 character statement. I’m sure many will give it a go.