The Equity and Inclusion Working Group was formed in December of 2016 to formalize AIC's commitment to the issues of equity and inclusion within the organization and the field of conservation at large. You can learn more about the Working Group's work here. The AIC Board formed an Equity and Inclusion Committee in May of 2018.
AIC Statement on Equity and Inclusion
The American Institute for Conservation (AIC), is committed to the premise that the preservation of cultural heritage is inseparable from our belief that the creative achievements and histories of all peoples must be acknowledged and honored. Through our support of conservation and heritage professionals, we actively strive to create an inclusive and equitable environment in which all members of our community are valued and respected. The AIC supports efforts to increase diversity at all stages of education and professional development so that we are able to attain the highest levels of professional integrity. We believe that a diverse workforce provides the multi-faceted perspectives, skills, and knowledge necessary to achieve excellence in the conservation of our shared heritage. In our promotion of the preservation of cultural heritage, we commit to valuing diversity and promoting equity.
To pursue strategic avenues that will improve equity and inclusion in AIC membership and programs. This work is intended to support the AIC’s Core Value of Equity and Inclusion:
AIC is committed to the premise that the preservation of cultural heritage is inseparable from our belief that the creative achievements and histories of all peoples must be acknowledged and honored. Through our support of all conservation and heritage professionals, we actively strive to create an inclusive and equitable environment in which all members of our community are valued and respected.
Composition and Rotation:
The committee is composed of seven (7) members, with one member being an AIC Fellow and two to serve as liaisons to the Emerging Conservation Professionals Network (ECPN) and the Education and Training Committee (ETC). Members serve staggered three-year terms, with the option to renew for a second term. New members are solicited by the committee from the AIC membership.
The AIC board reviews and approves the committee’s recommendations for new members. The first chair of the new committee is a member of the Equity & Inclusion Working Group and is appointed by the AIC board for a three-year term. Thereafter, the committee chair is appointed by the committee, with AIC board approval, and serves for one three-year term.
The Equity & Inclusion Committee seeks to meet four targets, encompassing both short- and long-term goals, by working in concert with the AIC board and staff. The committee is guided by the AIC board-approved “Recommendations for Advancing Equity and Inclusion in the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works: A Report to the Board of Directors.” With the targets aimed principally at increasing racial and cultural diversity within the conservation field, the committee’s responsibilities are:
- To develop internal engagement and education processes or resources
- To increase advocacy and partnerships with allied and international professionals
- To enhance recruitment, growth, and retention practices for under-represented members
- To ensure sustainability of efforts
You can find the list of current members of the Equity and Inclusion Committee here.
Working Group Report
On May 8th, 2018, the AIC Board of Directors released and endorsed the report of the Equity and Inclusion Working Group. As a reflection of its endorsement of this report, the Board formally approved the appointment of an Equity and Inclusion Committee.
You can read the full text of the report, "Recommendations for Advancing Equity and Inclusion in the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works," and share and download it as a PDF.
Glossary of Terms
Through our research, we have found many definitions of these terms, but perhaps the best appear in the American Library Association’s Final Report of the ALA Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, and are as follows:
Equity is not the same as formal equality. Formal equality implies sameness. Equity, on the other hand, assumes difference and takes difference into account to ensure a fair process and, ultimately, a fair (or equitable) outcome. Equity recognizes that some groups were (and are) disadvantaged in accessing educational and employment opportunities and are, therefore, underrepresented or marginalized in many organizations and institutions. The effects of that exclusion often linger systemically within organizational policies, practices and procedures. Equity, therefore, means increasing diversity by ameliorating conditions of disadvantaged groups.
Diversity can be defined as the sum of the ways that people are both alike and different. Visible diversity is generally those attributes or characteristics that are external. However, diversity goes beyond the external to internal characteristics that we choose to define as ‘invisible’ diversity. Invisible diversity includes those characteristics and attributes that are not readily seen. When we recognize, value, and embrace diversity, we are recognizing, valuing, and embracing the uniqueness of each individual. The [ALA] Task Force has chosen to define “diversity” in all its complexity in order to recognize and honor the uniqueness of each ALA member, all members of our profession, and our very diverse communities.
Inclusion means an environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully; are valued for their distinctive skills, experiences, and perspectives; have equal access to resources and opportunities; and can contribute fully to the organization’s success.