News from the BPG Chair

by Jodie Utter | Dec 11, 2018

Membership Designation

Why does membership designation matter? I clearly have an opinion or I wouldn't be writing about it. I often ask people why they haven't applied for PA or Fellow status when they are very qualified to do so. The answer is frequently: "I don't have the time", so I thought I would devote this column to the topic. In interest of full disclosure, I am a Fellow in AIC. It is a point of pride that I can say that. There was something incredibly validating and vulnerable about being evaluated by my peers. People decide to apply for PA or Fellow status for a variety of reasons. For me, I couldn't wait to go for PA status, in part because I was in private practice and I wanted to be listed on the AIC website's "Find a Conservator" page. The process, once I started, didn't take as long as I thought it would and it was unexpectedly humbling to ask my sponsors for letters of recommendation. My sponsors gave me copies of what they wrote and it was very meaningful to have people I respected make a case for my skills. Willingly asking to be measured or judged wasn't easy. The conservator's head, or I should say my head, can tell me I don't know what I'm doing, I'm not very good, I could have done better, etc. So to get the sponsorship letter feedback was valuable. If you know me, you might think that I seem confident and self-assured. While it's true that most of the time I'm mentally pretty solid, I can go down the rabbit hole of why I don't measure up. Those letters of endorsement have gone into my "me file" that I read when I get down; it can be very powerful to read them. In addition, I think it's fundamentally important to the field to grow in my profession, and I see the AIC designations as a part of that responsibility. That said, I went online and timed myself as I filled out the application for PA status. Here's how it went. It took me one hour to fill out the contact information, professional background, upload three examples of my work (I included one full treatment with written and photo documentation, a survey I had written and used, and finally a blog I had written) and my CV. The 500-word essay took about an hour and a half. The essay question was general and dealt with AIC's purpose, the code of ethics, and how that all related to me and what I do professionally.

Please know that I do not expect anyone else to do something because I think it's a good idea; everyone has their own reasons for whether or not they apply. What I'd like to convey is that you are worth the time it takes, and it matters to our profession and, more importantly, to you. I hope you take a stab at the process, I think you'll find it well worth the time it takes. As always, please feel free to send your thoughts on this issue or anything else in BPG to me at bpg dot jodie dot utter at gmail dot com. The BPG executive committee and I are committed to serving the membership the best way we can and to do that we need your input.

FAIC Grants

Also, don't forget about these two FAIC grants. Both can be used to offset the cost of attending meetings, as well as workshops or other activities. The deadline for submission is February 1st each year.

  • Carolyn Horton Grant
    Eligible applicants: current members of AIC Book and Paper Group
    Purpose: Continuing education and research including attendance at meetings, seminars, workshops, or to conduct research or special project.
    Award amounts: $500 to $1,000
  • Christa Gaehde Grant
    Eligible applicants: current members of AIC.
    Purpose: Promote activities related to art on paper, including attendance at workshops, conferences, or other events, or other activities.
    Award amounts: from $500 to $1,000

2019 AIC Annual Meeting News

We received a competitive group of submissions, and have developed an exciting program for this year. The draft schedule is now available to view from the Annual Meeting page on the AIC website. Congratulations to our 2019 speakers!

The BPG reception will take place at the Mystic Seaport Museum, located just under 30 minutes from Mohegan Sun. Mystic Seaport is the largest maritime museum in the United States and is composed of a 19th century seafaring village, a historic shipyard, and exhibit galleries.

Committee Updates

Education and Programing Committee

Cher Schneider (EPC Chair) has been finding potential teachers and host sites and working on ways to make it easier for members to submit educational and programing ideas. In addition, EPC is working with FAIC on adding content to the AIC website regarding past FAIC workshops, videos and audio so that a wider audience can access the information beyond the workshop attendees. The EPC Chair is actively searching for another member at large to volunteer from paper specialty.


The most recent volumes of the Book and Paper Group Annual are now available to members through the BPG Online Community. To access these downloadable PDFs, point your web browser to From the "Communities" menu, select "My Communities" and click "Book and Paper Group". Then select the "Library" tab near the top of the page. Full volumes of the Annual are available inside the "Publications" folder. We have also refreshed the BPG Annual Online page on our website to improve access past issues of the Annual.


Now that all of the BPG Wiki pages have been reformatted and standardized, the priority for the Wiki will be to update the content. For many pages, this will be done through compiler groups, who will propose improved versions of the chapters or chapter sections for the BPG membership to comment on. At the 2019 AIC Annual Meeting, the coordinators will also work with conference attendees in an attempt to improve an entire Wiki page during a lunch session.

The coordinators are also focused on developing one of the greatest strengths that the Wiki has compared to other conservation publications: the ability to link to and host videos. The AIC YouTube Channel now has several playlists that are featured in the Wiki, on pages like BPG Materials, Equipment, and Tools. You will hear updates on all of these efforts in future months.

Ways to get Involved with BPG

Education and Programing Committee is actively searching for member-at-large to volunteer from paper specialty. If you are interested contact Cher Schneider at cherschneider at gmail dot com. Publications Committee is looking for a new Assistant Editor. Please submit names or self-select for the position. If you are interested contact Gwenanne Edwards at gwenannee at gmail dot com.

BPG Nominating Committee

The committee is seeking candidates for the elected offices:

  • Secretary/Treasurer
  • Assistant Program Chair

Elections will take place in February 2019 and the positions will start after the 2019 annual meeting. If you are interested in either of these positions or know someone who might be, please contact Whitney Baker, Nominating Committee Chair, at bpg dot whitneybaker at gmail dot com

For a description of position duties, please see