Saturday, 16 January 2016

MAT sponsorship report from AICCM

 Banner used on the AICCM website and Facebook advertising conference before and during

Sponsoring contemporary practice in materials conservation

The Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Material (AICCM) is an active and vibrant professional community of Conservators dedicated to the preservation of Australia's cultural heritage.  Late last year (2015) the AICCM Tasmanian Division hosted the biennial AICCM National Conference in Hobart with the theme Illuminating the new: contemporary practice and issues in materials conservation, which was chosen to reflect the UNESCO International Year of Light. AICCM was very grateful to receive sponsorship from Museums Australia Tasmania.  This generous support, along with funding from other organisations contributed to the running of the conference which was an enormous success. It drew participants from Australia, New Zealand, America and Asia. For a full conference report see here.

Registration Desk - left to right -
Nikki King Smith (Tasmanian Division Treasurer), Amy Bartlett (Tasmanian Division President),
Stephanie McDonald (Tasmanian Division Secretary)

Prior to 2015, the last time the conference had been held in Tasmania was 1990. A lot has changed since then and delegates were able to enjoy attractions such as the Museum of Old and New Art in addition to the conference. A welcome reception was hosted by the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery where Director Janet Carding spoke about the collection while emphasising the importance of the conservation profession within a cultural institution. She described the Conservator as the enabler - those with the authority to make the inaccessible available for exhibit or research. 

Tasmanian Member Mar Gomez Lobon presenting
Throughout the conference, presentations were divided into a number of themes with digital technologies and new media being a focus. Keynote speaker Professor Sarah Kenderdine, Deputy Director of the National Institute for Experimental Arts at the University of New South Wales and Director of the iGLAM Lab (Laboratory for Innovation in Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) spoke about various types of interactive exhibitions that highlight cultural materials and provide access to closed historical sites, rare collections and fragile items. She spoke on the importance of the Conservator's role regarding documentation and conference delegates were captivated by her presentation.  

Contemporary conservation issues such as dealing with electrical components and time-based media, along with the use of new technologies such as 3D printing for conservation treatments were presented. Changing approaches to treatments, the maintenance of displays, risk management and broadening environmental parameters were communicated in addition to speciality sessions for objects, paper and paintings. These included taxidermy, sculptures, plastics, textiles, posters, painted photographs, paintings and gilded surfaces to name a few.

Field trips took place on the second day of the conference with site visits to the Shene Estate and Mawson's Hut Replica Museum. A group also went on a guided, scenic tour of Kunanyi/Mt Wellington. In addition, a number of AICCM Special Interest Groups used the conference as an opportunity to catch up. The Book Paper Group, Photon (photographic materials), Conservation Framing, Conservation Science, Electron (digital and audio-visual), Exhibitions' Objects, Paintings and Preventive Conservation all met to discuss future projects and symposiums.

I would like to thank Museums Australia Tasmania for their sponsorship. Overall, AICCM has received very positive feedback about the conference and it had the largest attendance rate for many years with 150 delegates including students. Not only was it a fantastic learning opportunity for all involved, but it provided a wonderful chance for networking and to promote Tasmanian arts internationally.

Amy Bartlett
President, AICCM Tasmanian Division
Senior Conservator, Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery

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