2020 has been a challenging year for cultural heritage conservation. Many of us were shut out of our workplaces by a global pandemic that exposed the financial vulnerability of our cultural institutions. At the same time, we witnessed tragic examples of the systemic racism endemic in 21st century life – inequities perpetuated by our own professional practices and within our own organizations. In the coming years, not only will we be forced to do more with less, but we are also morally obligated to address our biases and examine how identity and privilege sway our professional decision-making and interactions. Racism has shaped our discipline from its beginning, and we cannot shirk the work required to address it. Our commitment to practical and moral change must be manifest in the work we choose to do, in our research, and in our teaching. It is time to transform cultural heritage conservation.
With specialized knowledge that gives us a unique perspective on cultural heritage, we have the skills, abilities, and tools to explore alternatives to what was the norm in 2020 and develop a more engaged, critical, and just discipline. We can push ourselves and our colleagues toward more challenging work. These efforts will also allow our field to confront other critical issues more effectively, such as climate change, sustainability, and developing and implementing treatments and preservation practices that do more with less.
For the general sessions of our 2021 annual conference, we are seeking session and paper submissions that challenge “normal” and “normalizing.” How can we transform our field, and how can our work transform the world? Let’s imagine and share projects that incite and foster institutional change; create inclusive and welcoming environments in our museums and studios; and take on big challenges, whether they do so in ways that are large or small.
Joint Meeting with SPNHC
We are pleased to hold a joint annual meeting with the Society for Preservation of Natural History Collections (SPNHC)
. We welcome proposals that explore work with natural history collections and in natural history institutions.
Specialty Session Abstracts
In addition to our general sessions, the 2021 Annual Meeting will feature at least 10 Specialty Sessions
. These sessions may follow the conference theme, develop their own themes, or follow a no-theme “best of” format. We will add Specialty Session information to the call for papers as it becomes available.
We will carefully follow public health guidance to hold a safe and productive conference in 2021. When submitting a proposal, please be aware that while every effort will be made to hold an in-person meeting, including rescheduling the meeting for later in 2021, a fully virtual meeting might still be necessary. In addition, we will be adding a virtual meeting component to our in-person meeting. We might ask to record your talk, or ask you to present a second time either in a recording studio onsite at the meeting or at a separate date after the Annual Meeting.
If you are unsure if you will be able to attend an in-person meeting in Jacksonville, Fl, please go ahead and submit your abstract. Times are uncertain. AIC will be carefully tracking and following public health advice related to COVID-19, but please use the comments box on the abstract form below to let us know about other potential issues that might keep you from attending and presenting in-person (e.g. an institutional ban on travel or professional development spending).