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Specialty Sessions

The following Specialty Sessions accept abstracts on the theme Conservation: Reactive and Proactive. Specific calls are below.

  • Architecture
  • Architecture and Objects (Historic Houses)*
  • Book and Paper
  • Collections Care
  • Electronic Media
  • Objects
  • Paintings

*joint sessions
  • Photographic Materials
  • Research and Technical Studies
  • Research and Technical Studies and Collections Care (Materials)*
  • Research and Technical Studies and Contemporary Art*
  • Sustainability
  • Textiles
  • Textiles and Wooden Artifacts
  • Wooden Artifacts

Specific Calls

Architecture Session on New Research

We seek abstracts exploring topics framed within a research methodology, as opposed to a case-study approach. Research topics could include architectural conservation materials, techniques, or concepts, whether in the laboratory or in the field. We encourage both emerging and experienced professionals to submit topics.

Example topics include:

  • Investigations at a site or group of sites that focus on research into materials and treatment
  • Laboratory testing and materials characterization studies
  • Literature reviews or surveys on relevant subjects
  • Surveys or critiques of existing methods and techniques

Abstracts can conform to the main conference’s standard arrangement of no more than 2 speakers presenting in a 30 minute time slot, or shorter presentations are also welcome. Please indicate in your abstract text if you are proposing a shorter presentation.

Architecture  and Objects Joint Session on Historic Houses

The joint session will focus on the conservation, maintenance, and management of historic house museums. This session seeks to explore the intersection of architecture and objects conservation on a residential scale, and ideas that broaden the traditional idea of a house museum are encouraged. We welcome abstracts on all related topics, but we offer the following themes to spark ideas:

  • Conservation and the historic house “experience” – managing treatments, maintenance, and visual expectations in a residential setting. Can collections be cleaned as part of normal housekeeping? What role do conservators play in managing seasonal events and decorations?
  • Collections care and interpretation – what is relevant for house museums in the era of Instagram? The revival/rethinking of house museums has been widely discussed in recent years – what role can conservators play?
  • Conservation considerations when a small building does not have adequate environmental controls or infrastructure for public use. Are there conflicts between an object’s health and the building’s health?
  • Conservation and display of objects within a residential setting with or without protective barriers, including the conservation of everyday objects.

Abstracts shall conform to the main conference’s standard arrangement of no more than 2 speakers presenting in a 30 minute time slot.

Book and Paper Sessions

  • Abstracts for Book and Paper Session presentations may be related to the 2020 meeting theme, Conservation: Reactive and Proactive, or address other aspects of the conservation of art on paper, archival materials, bound volumes, manuscripts, or similar materials.
  • We encourage abstracts from anyone with an interest or role in conservation, including current Book and Paper Group members, other Specialty Group members, and related professionals.
  • We also are considering offering a group of talks on varnished paper, a compelling and often challenging topic, suggested by fellow Book and Paper Group members. Varnished paper may include technical or treatment based talks on subjects ranging from varnish on paper, fixatives on paper, coated paper, and transparent paper. The interpretation of the topic is intended to be expansive, and therefore we will consider other related subjects as well.
  • Presentations will be 15 or 25 minutes with additional time for questions. We will also consider panel discussions that address areas of broad interest to the Book and Paper Group membership. We hope a combination of differently timed talks both will enliven our program and allow for more time for discussion.



Collection Care Sessions

Abstracts for the Collection Care sessions may fall into any of the following three categories:

  • Topic ideas include, but are not limited to the overall 2019 AIC meeting theme, Conservation: Reactive and Proactive:
    • Case studies demonstrating the economy, efficiency and power of preventive care
    • Case studies demonstrating when preventive care perhaps was not enough to solve the challenge.
    • Collaborative efforts or partnerships that facilitate proactive collection care decisions
    • Tactics for increasing cross-disciplinary efforts and support for collection care within an institution
    • Utilization of new tools or techniques in collection care such as in condition documentation, registration methods, storage or exhibition material choices, or transport.  Submissions in this category may be slated for a short presentation as part of a collection care tips session.
  • Short, five-minute presentations relating to storage and rehousing that would be part of the STASH Flash tips session and will be uploaded to the www.stashc.com website. 
    • Tools or techniques useful to creating storage mounts or housings
    • Tactics to improve workflow in rehousing projects
    • Innovative storage solutions for individual artifacts or collection groups
  • Talks that would build on the themes highlighted by AIC’s new Material Selection & Specification Working Group (MWG) will be part of the joint session with RATS.

Electronic Media Session

We welcome presentations that explore this year theme on how the field of conservation is adapting, evolving, and grappling with changes and challenges. For example, the session may include presentations on:

  • Bringing concerns about sustainability into conservation decision-making
  • Adapting core practices amid changing technologies (e.g., evolving methods for condition assessment, employing new tools or software in documentation and treatment)
  • Developing strategies and solutions for caring for time-based media under challenging display conditions (e.g., interactivity, long-running exhibitions, unconventional display environments, or even the ways in which conventional display conditions are challenging for time-based media)
  • Deepening cross-institutional collaboration and expanding systems and infrastructure to store digital art collections
  • Broadening the impact and visibility of time-based media conservation (e.g., joint research projects, public education, technical art history)

We encourage submissions that address the meeting’s theme, but you may explore other relevant topics of interest to the Electronic Media Group.

Papers published in the Electronic Media Review are due over the summer following the meeting.

Contact Amy Brost (Program Chair, amybrost@gmail.com) and Alexandra Nichols (Assistant Program Chair, alexandralnichols@gmail.com) with any questions.

Research and Technical Studies Session

Submissions of original work related to the topics below are encouraged, although papers otherwise related to any aspect of research and technical studies of cultural heritage will be considered.

  • Joint Sessions of RATS/CCN and RATS/CAN! (see below)
  • Research relating to development or reevaluation of best practices for care and preservation of cultural heritage
  • Reevaluation of past analyses or past conversation treatment methodologies
  • Unique ways to engage the public about the intersection of science, history and art.

Please contact Gregory Bailey (RATS Program Chair, gbailey@thewalters.org) or Federica Pozzi (RATS Assistant Program Chair, Federica.pozzi@metmuseum.org) with any questions. 

Research and Technical Studies and Contemporary Art Joint Session

The Research and Technical Studies specialty group and the Contemporary Art Network (CAN!) invite papers related to the conference theme of Conservation: Reactive and Proactive in the context of the technical investigation of contemporary artists’ materials and techniques.  Submissions related to the topics below are encouraged, though others related to contemporary art will be considered.

  • Research on the material characteristics or ageing properties of 3-D printing media, modern synthetics, composites, etc.
  • Development or use of “green,” sustainable and bio-degradable polymers or other materials
  • Research on contemporary artists’ materials and techniques developed or used outside of North American and Europe
  • Collaborations among conservation scientists, conservators, and/or artists in fabricating or conserving contemporary art

Please contact Kate Moomaw (CAN! Program Chair, kmoomaw@denverartmuseum.org) or Gregory Bailey (RATS Program Chair, gbailey@thewalters.org) with any questions

Research and Technical Studies and Collection Care Joint Session on Materials

The Research and Technical Studies specialty group and the Collections Care Network Materials Working Group invite papers related to the conference theme of Conservation: Reactive and Proactive in the context of the technical investigation of materials used in the care and housing of tangible cultural heritage.  Submissions related to the topics below are encouraged, though others related to collections care will be considered. 

  • Research on or use of new materials that will expand the range of choices for storage, transport, exhibition, or display
  • Use of low or high-tech testing or instrumental analysis to examine new or commonly used materials for collection care
  • Development and/or use of specifications or standards to guide material selections for collection care projects
  • Innovative ways of gathering, sharing and disseminating materials information to constituent communities

Please contact Rachel Perkins Arenstein (CCN Program Chair, rachel@amartconservation.com) or Gregory Bailey (RATS Program Chair, gbailey@thewalters.org) with any questions. 

Sustainability Committee

The AIC Sustainability Committee is seeking abstracts for papers to be presented in the Sustainability Session at the upcoming AIC Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City, UT, May 19-23, 2020. This year's theme will be "Conservation: Reactive and Proactive." Submission of original research and work related to the theme are welcome, and any submissions related to sustainable conservation and preservation will be considered. 

Topic ideas include:

  • The impact of climate change on cultural heritage within or beyond with your institution or practice
  • Preventive strategies for adapting to a changing climate and more frequent weather-related disasters
  • Case studies on advocating for sustainable policies in your institution
  • The development of new tools or tactics to make your practice more sustainable
  • The implementation of sustainable practices on a small or large scale
  • The adoption of a zero-waste policy in your institution or conservation practice

Textile Specialty Session

Presentations addressing all topics of interest to textile conservators are welcome. This year's theme invites us to consider that changing priorities are affecting conservator’s roles and how we meet long-term preservation needs. These priorities include issues of sustainability, increased emphasis on preventative care, connecting with the public through educational materials and social media, etc.

Contact Ann Frisina, TSG Vice Chair, at ann.frisina@mnhs.org with any questions.

Textiles and Wooden Artifacts Joint Session on Historic Interiors

For a joint session we are seeking submissions addressing the conservation of historic interiors, upholstery and other areas at the boundary of textiles and wooden artifacts. This year's theme invites us to consider that changing priorities are affecting conservators’ roles and long-term preservation planning. These priorities include issues of sustainability, increased emphasis on preventative care, connecting with wide audiences through educational materials and social media, etc.

The joint session may include the following topics:

  •  Preventive care of historic textiles and reproduction textiles in historic house or period room settings
  • Successful protocols and decision making processes during the collaboration of textiles and wooden artifacts conservators, curators and scientists
  • Achievements and challenges of treatment implementation

Please contact TSG program chair Ann Frisina Ann.Frisina@mnhs.org or WAG program chair Carola Schueller cschueller@newportmansions.org should you have any questions.

Wooden Artifacts Session

  • We encourage abstracts on this year’s theme in relation to furniture, wooden objects, architectural woodwork, musical instruments, painted, gilded and varnished wood as well as lacquer work.
  • We also welcome abstracts focused on novel methods and practices, reviews of traditional conservation techniques and historical techniques, applied research and non-intrusive conservation techniques.
  • You can also submit abstracts about ongoing projects or material research.

Contact Christine Storti, Wooden Artifacts Chair, at cstorti@mfa.org or Carola Schueller, Wooden Artifacts Program Chair, at cschueller@newportmansions.org should you have any questions.