Conservation DistList Archives [Date] [Subject] [Author] [SEARCH]

Subject: Budget cutbacks at Indianapolis Museum of Art

Budget cutbacks at Indianapolis Museum of Art

From: Joyce H. Townsend <joyce.townsend<-at->
Date: Monday, June 10, 2013
Niccolo Caldararo <caldararo [at] aol__com> writes

>A curious comment appeared in an editorial written by Ms. Joyce H.
>Townsend in the current issue of Studies in Conservation.  The theme
>of the issue is preventive conservation, a topic that I wrote about
>in a recent post ((Conservation DistList Instance: 26:44 Sunday,
>April 7, 2013). This was in response to the recent closing of
>laboratories (e.g., at Indianapolis) and lack of jobs in
>conservation. My argument was that these were associated with a
>failure of the main journals in conservation to publish and promote
>conservation skills, especially treatments.  Ms. Townsend refers not
>to my comments but acknowledges that,
>
>   "We are aware that some have noted disparagingly that few papers
>    by practitioners are published within our pages--but this
>    reflects an absence of submissions, not a policy of rejecting
>    them on grounds of subject matter.  It is true that the maturity
>    of the conservation profession means that the innovative
>    treatments of previous decades are now part of the canon of
>    accepted and safe ways of working, but conservators will never
>    be without challenging new materials, and poorly-understood
>    older materials which have aged in (thus far) unpredictable
>    ways.  We welcome such papers and look forward to receiving them
>    in the coming years."

IIC's evolving role in an evolving world

The Conservation Distlist has led the way online for many
conservation publications.  Now IIC makes its publications available
online all the time 'Studies in Conservation', 'News in
Conservation', and the preprints biennial congresses are all now
available online, with transcripts of 'Dialogues for the New
purely paper based IIC publications of a few years back has meant
thinking not only about the practicalities but also the audience,
the content, where the relevance of each paper fits, and how we can
do it all even better in the future.  IIC's Council had
'communications' on the agenda just last month.  The 20 person
editorial team of 'Studies in Conservation' discusses all these
issues by email, and in person whenever some of them end up in the
same country at the same time.

Professional and membership bodies such as IIC provide a forum for
debate, as well as published material for future reference.
'Studies' aims to represent the current state of the art, to improve
it, and to document it through high quality yet accessible, peer
reviewed papers that also inform those outside the profession of its
achievements.  'Studies' has been transformed in the past 2 years
with the help of our new publishing partner, Maney Publishing.
'Reviews in Conservation' has been incorporated in 'Studies' to
enable the submissions to appear promptly, instead of being held
over to the next issue, for up to 11 months.  The Congress papers,
largely practical and peer reviewed, have also been incorporated
into 'Studies' online to ensure that these excellent contributions
are not limited to the book shelves of those people who attend each
congress.  The number of excellent papers now being submitted means
that this year 'Studies' is over 25% larger, with 6 issues per year
coming out from next January, 2014 (50% more pages than in 2012).
And all the past and future issues (including 'Reviews' and Congress
preprints) will be available online to a much wider audience by
early 2014.  Already they are all online back to 1980.  Both younger
conservators who take up contracts in new countries, and
conservation professionals who have retired from full time
employment to teach and undertake consultancy worldwide, tell us
that they need access to publications at any time, and from all
areas of the world, and not only in their libraries or bookshelves
back at home.

IIC now provides more than one international forum for advancing the
care of our heritage: the biennial Congresses have (since 1967, with
the most recent in 2012) led the field by focussing on specific
issues, such as 'An Unbroken History: Conserving East Asian Works of
Art and Heritage' to be held in 2014.  The 'Dialogues for a New
Century' (since 2008) address issues round conservation in a
changing world.  The webcast of 'Student and Emerging Conservator
Conferences', 'News in Conservation' and IIC news online, Facebook,
Twitter and IIC's new LinkedIn site for members are using social
media to improve communication within and outside the profession.
Look at

    <URL:https://www.iiconservation.org>

to convince yourself.

The conservation profession is becoming bolder about telling the
world of the important work it does.  When the profession can
demonstrate not only that it is useful, but that it is essential,
conservation departments and training courses will be protected and
expanded.  IIC gives individual conservators across the world
support, and platforms from peer reviewed papers through social
media to face to face debate.  How does IIC represent the
profession? 'News in Conservation' is evolving rapidly in online
formats for distribution to all who request it, both conservators
and the wider public.  Facebook and Twitter pages from IIC attract
an international 'followership' of over 8,000 a huge reach outside
the traditional scope of conservation membership.  How does IIC
contribute to the development of professional conservators
worldwide? Dedicated funds make IIC congress attendance by student
and emerging conservators possible.  The Opportunities Fund, created
by IIC members themselves, provides free membership to individuals
and institutions who cannot easily afford the annual subscription,
for up to 4 years.

Conservation continues to develop.  The technical publications in
the 1950s of Robert Feller on the once obscure Acryloid B 72 or
Garry Thomson on the colour temperature of lamps have morphed into
the basic knowledge on which current conservators build careers,
practical treatments and preventive strategies.  60 years later, we
need similar rigorous thinking about, reviews of, and novel
applications of current methods, in order to develop solutions to
the conservation challenges of today.  The profession needs both
practical papers and blue sky papers, to improve treatment methods
by both evolution and revolution.

Now I'll reply more directly to Dr Niccolo Caldararo's post
(Conservation DistList Instance: 26:51 Tuesday, May 28, 2013) within
the header 'Budget cutbacks at Indianapolis Museum of Art'.

'Studies' does not publish standard treatment reports describing
routine treatments.  By definition, such a paper must already have
been published somewhere else.  Hence treatment related papers in
'Studies' tend to include methods of evaluating or assessing the
efficacy and effects of new or existing treatments, and they often
include scientific analysis, some of it just being introduced to the
profession.  There may be some basic science used to propose or
justify new treatment approaches, or to advance understanding about
the parameters of existing treatment applications.  But treatment
related papers are in fact being published by IIC, both with and
without specific case studies detailing treatments applied in a
practical manner.  But, since most of us agree that conservation
includes more than treatment, 'Studies' also includes many papers
covering deterioration mechanisms, discussing preventive
conservation and collections care, and sharing technical studies on
a very wide range of materials types.  So while treatment studies
may appear less common from a glance at the paper titles, studies of
how and why objects deteriorate feed into the development of
effective treatment approaches and enable the prevention of further
deterioration, and preventive conservation makes interventive
treatments a less regular occurrence. Some might argue that
'Studies' has too many technical studies, but such papers reflect
the huge range of materials types that conservators are treating.
'Studies' does not accept purely scientific papers either, if they
are not clearly related to either development or assessment of
treatments, the identification of deterioration mechanisms, or
technical studies aimed at better understanding the materials and
techniques of artists or craftsmen.

Dr Joyce H. Townsend
IIC Director of Publications
Conservation Department
Tate Britain
Millbank
 London SW1P 4RG, UK
+44 207887 8072
Mobile: +44 07855 793 855

International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic
    Works (IIC)
3, Birdcage Walk
London SW1H 9JJ, UK
+44 20 7799 5500

Dr Joyce Townsend Director of Publications, IIC

    >: Budget cutbacks at Indianapolis Museum of Art
    >Budget cutbacks at Indianapolis Museum of Art
    >: Niccolo Caldararo <caldararo>
    >: Monday, May 27, 2013
    >A curious comment appeared in an editorial written by Ms. Joyce H.
    >Townsend in the current issue of Studies in Conservation.  The theme
    >of the issue is preventive conservation, a topic that I wrote about
    >in a recent post ((Conservation DistList Instance: 26:44 Sunday,
    >April 7, 2013). This was in response to the recent closing of
    >laboratories (e.g., at Indianapolis) and lack of jobs in
    >conservation. My argument was that these were associated with a
    >failure of the main journals in conservation to publish and promote
    >conservation skills, especially treatments.  Ms. Townsend refers not
    >to my comments but acknowledges that,
    >
    >   "We are aware that some have noted disparagingly that few papers
    >    by practitioners are published within our pages but this
    >    reflects an absence of submissions, not a policy of rejecting
    >    them on grounds of subject matter.  It is true that the maturity
    >    of the conservation profession means that the innovative
    >    treatments of previous decades are now part of the canon of
    >    accepted and safe ways of working, but conservators will never
    >    be without challenging new materials, and poorly understood
    >    older materials which have aged in (thus far) unpredictable
    >    ways.  We welcome such papers and look forward to receiving them
    >    in the coming years."
    >
    >This is an interesting statement as it puts forth the impression
    >that the policy of the IIC has a specific limitation in publication.
    >All of us who are practitioners must take note as it gives us a clue
    >to what the editors will accept.  Ms. Townsend asserts that "the
    >maturity of the conservation profession means" that all innovative
    >treatments have been achieved accept those that deal with new
    >materials or poorly understood older materials that have aged.  Is
    >this what the membership believe?  Do we know all we need to know
    >about treatments? Can we rest assured that there is nothing new to
    >learn in conservation treatments?  I am astounded!  There is no need
    >for research in treatments or sharing what we do!
    >
    >After the post I wrote appeared I received a number of emails and
    >phone calls from conservators expressing the general view that when
    >they received their copies of Studies or JAIC they looked through
    >them and just put them on their shelves.  They felt the journals
    >were not useful.  This is a shame, our publications should be means
    >by which practitioners speak to each other and show the work we are
    >doing.  There is also an issue of access.  It may be that our museum
    >research laboratories can refer to past treatments in their
    >laboratory libraries, but few private practitioners have these back
    >issues.  Also in my travels in meetings and in laboratories all over
    >the country and world I have heard from conservators in institutions
    >that they have no room for reference materials.  One assumes then
    >that all conservators need today is to go to the programs, get an MA
    >in conservation and they have learned all they need to know about
    >any treatment.
    >
    >I think this is a mistaken interpretation of what we should be doing
    >and how we should be viewing our careers as professionals. Heaven
    >help us if doctors and engineers or other professionals acted like
    >this.  I was hopeful that Reviews in Conservation would provide a
    >forum for understanding past treatments and evaluating new methods
    >in the context of old ones and materials.  Unfortunately this was
    >not the case and anyway the journal failed.  Perhaps I have
    >misunderstood Ms. Townsend, perhaps she and the publication
    >committees of Studies and JAIC have a wider role for the
    >publications than this editorial seems to express.  Let's then have
    >a dialog and let's hear from the membership about what they want in
    >their publications.
    >
    >Niccolo Caldararo, Ph.D.
    >Dept. of Anthropology
    >San Francisco State University
    >and
    >Director and Chief Conservator
    >Conservation Art Service


                                  ***
                  Conservation DistList Instance 27:2
                  Distributed: Thursday, June 13, 2013
                        Message Id: cdl-27-2-002
                                  ***
Received on Monday, 10 June, 2013

[Search all CoOL documents]


URL: http://
Timestamp:
Retrieved: