Resources for Emerging Conservators
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The Emerging Conservation Professionals Network (ECPN) works to create and maintain a forum and network for AIC members who are entering the field of conservation. This includes: undergraduate students, pre-program individuals, graduate students, and conservators with fewer than seven years experience including graduate school or other training. ECPN also encourages participation from established conservators and allied professionals. This page includes some of the resources developed for emerging conservation professionals.
To learn more about ECPN:
- The formal charge and structure of ECPN and list of current officers is found on the Network’s page on the AIC website, as well as our current ECPN flier.
- ”Building a Community of Emerging Conservators” poster presented by ECPN at ICOM-CC 2014 explains the projects and demographics of the Network.
- ”Building a Community: AIC's Emerging Conservation Professionals Network Regional Liaisons” poster presented by ECPN at the joint 44th AIC Annual Meeting & 42nd CAC Annual Conference (Montreal, Canada, 2016) highlights ECPN's rapidly growing membership and the work of our Regional Liaisons throughout the country.
- Blog posts written by ECPN can be found on the AIC blog by entering “ECPN” in the search box or by clicking this link.
- For more information on how to get involved with ECPN, visit the Emerging page in Careers in Conservation on the AIC website.
- 1 Getting Started in Your Career
- 2 Sharing Your Work
- 3 Connecting with Conservators
- 4 Getting out on Your Own
Getting Started in Your Career
Conservation Education and Training
- AIC's Guide to Conservation Education and Training describes options for training to become a conservator with a focus on the North American graduate programs and post-graduate opportunities.
- Association of North American Graduate Programs in the Conservation of Cultural Property
- Recording of ECPN Webinar Beyond the Prerequisites: Preparing for Graduate Education in Art Conservation with Margaret Holben Ellis, James Hamm, Rosaleen Hill, Debra Hess Norris, and Ellen Pearlstein; July 16, 2014
- Application Process for Conservation Graduate Programs - The following are tips for aspects of typical graduate school applications.
- Personal Statement: Your personal statement is your chance to introduce yourself to the schools beyond listing your resume, GPA, GRE, etc. It should be autobiographical by highlighting your major experiences that have prepared you for school, and just as importantly, it should explain how that particular program would be a good fit for you. Each program is different and requires a tailored personal statement (and application). How are you prepared for graduate school and a professional career in art conservation? Ask people to proofread your statement! Remember, this is your opportunity to impress the review committee; you don’t want typos letting you down.
- Writing Sample: Some programs may require a writing sample. The writing sample proves that you can concisely and effectively articulate your point. These are important skills to have when writing condition and treatment reports. There is no minimum or maximum length, since reviewers most likely will skim them to get a feel for your writing style.
- Recommendations: For conservation recommendations, choose someone whom you feel witnessed your hand skills and work ethic, and got to know your personality. For academic recommendations, choose someone whom you feel is familiar with your work and knows about your goals of becoming a professional conservator. Choose people that you feel comfortable asking. If you’re unsure about someone, approach her by asking if she thinks that you’re ready to apply. **Be sure to give your recommenders plenty of time to write, keeping in mind that the holiday season is right before the North American graduate school applications are due. The Education and Training Committee (ETC) compiled guides for requesting and writing letters of reference. The guides can be found on the ETC page of the AIC website.
- Artwork (photographed examples): Your artwork should reflect your developed dexterity and can range from oil paintings and hand-bound books, to sculpture and cross-stitch. Be sure that drawings and paintings are representational and/or precise, not gestural abstract designs, so you can demonstrate your hand skills. If you can’t take photographs at your pre-program site, just do your best to take professional-looking photographs at home. Improvise!
- Additional Materials: Although tempting to send one more recommendation or some portfolio pages, only submit the required documents and information. There is not enough time for schools to read extras; they won’t, and it will have been a complete waste of your time. Spend that time proofreading your documents or beginning your portfolio.
- Portfolio: Portfolios are not usually required alongside the application and instead are presented during the in-person interview. Your portfolio is a reflection of your work and as such it changes as you progress in your career. See the Portfolio section below for information on your evolving portfolio.
Internships and Fellowships
- Tips for finding internships, fellowships, and jobs
- Making the most of your pre-program internship
- Recording of ECPN Webinar How to Make the Most of Your Pre-program Internship with Emily Williams, Thomas Edmonson, Ayesha Fuentes, and Leanne Gordon; September 24, 2013
- Job, Internship, and Fellowship Postings on the AIC Website
- Job and Internship Postings on the University of Delaware Website
- Education and Training Committee Resource on Requesting Letters of Recommendation
- Education and Training Committee Resource on Writing Letters of Recommendation
- Tips for Interviewing
Choosing a Specialty
Because conservation is a multi-disciplinary field, it is beneficial to gain as much experience as possible during the emerging years. Specializing before graduate education is not necessary and most North American training programs provide experience in the different specialties. To learn more about the various aspects of conservation, visit other conservation labs, talk to conservators, conservation scientists, preventive conservators, collection managers, etc., about their work. There are also reading materials available that discuss different specialties and special ethical considerations for each. Education and Training Committee Recommended Reading Lists Wiki page on Materials and Treatment.
- ECPN hosted the webinar Pathways into Conservation Science to learn more about the different ways one can train to become a conservation scientist. The program featured three speakers: Dr. Tom Learner, Head of Science at the Getty Conservation Institute; Dr. Gregory Smith, the Otto N. Frenzel III Senior Conservation Scientist at the Indianapolis Museum of Art; and Dr. Robyn Hodgkins, the Charles E. Culpeper Fellow in the Scientific Research Department at the National Gallery of Art. The presenters shared their own diverse training experiences, touching on the history of education in conservation science and the current pathways into the field. ECPN hopes that the webinar will provide guidance to individuals considering careers in conservation science, current students and post-doctorates entering the field, as well as inform emerging conservators. (April 22, 2016)
Sharing Your Work
Resume and Curriculum Vitae (CV)
- Resume vs. C.V. and when to use: Resumes are shorter, generally one to two pages, while C.V.s can be longer and list experiences more thoroughly, generally up to four pages. Usually an application site will specify which type they would like to receive and one should comply to the guidelines. If no specifications are listed, the longer version is acceptable to send in the conservation field, especially at the emerging stage of one's career.
- Formatting: Effective resumes and CVs have easy-to-read formats with a natural flow and clearly defined sections. There are no standard formats or fonts, which allows the resume or CV to be another chance for people to show individual design capabilities. It is helpful to include page numbers (especially in the format of "Page __ of __") and last name on each page. Any papers or presentations should follow the JAIC Style Guide, which can be found on the AIC website or at the end of JAIC articles. Suggested sections and ordering include:
- Experiences in chronological order. Each work experience should clearly list supervisor(s) and length of time in the position, as well as highlight responsibilities and skills acquired. Museum work and other conservation-related experiences can also be included.
- Presentations; workshops; educational travel, etc.
- Additional skills (computer, photography, etc.)
- References. Ask supervisors if they are comfortable being included as a reference.
- Evolution: Resumes are living documents that should evolve with an emerging conservator as he or she transitions from pre-program to graduate student to post-graduate, emphasizing growth and highlighting new accomplishments.
- Pre-Program - If you are pre-program level, show your resume and/or CV to a supervisor or other conservator for help with formatting, choosing pertinent content, and determining how much to include.
- Graduate Students - Most likely graduate-level conservators have formatting and content determined (although it is always prudent to look for continuity and easy comprehension), but will need to tailor experiences to be pertinent to the internships and jobs they seek. Some pre-program information and other types of job experiences unrelated to their career goals may be excluded.
- Post-Graduates - Post-graduate resumes/C.V.s should continue to be tailored for specific fellowships and jobs. As a conservator moves through his/her career, certain sections will be developed, such as awards (like travel grants to conferences), presentations (including posters, talks, papers, newsletters), workshops, and research projects. It is good to update resumes and CVs simultaneously to be prepared for different application requirements, i.e. turn a four page C.V. into a two page resume. A resume/C.V. will also need to be changed depending on the type of job. For example, applying for government jobs will require a different resume than one for potential private clients.
Much like a resume and CV change during the course of a conservation career, so does the portfolio evolve to reflect experiences and future goals.
- Pre-program - At this stage in a career, the portfolio should clearly reflect academic identity, interests, and potential to succeed as student and professional. It is good to begin and maintain a portfolio early on during pre-program experiences so that it will be easier to assemble one for an internship or graduate school interview. A portfolio is a representation of one's identity as a conservator and scholar, so be constructive and discriminating when assembling and presenting. it is temping to include all experiences in a pre-program portfolio, but it is often more effective to be selective in presentation. Consider what is best for a review committee to notice, and which experiences are most important to highlight. Portfolios are as personal as a personal statements, so they can vary widely. There are basic things that each portfolio should include, but do not be afraid to find a way to personalize it.
- Portfolios can include: Table of Contents, C.V. or Resume, Condition and Treatment Reports (treatments that represent your best work, as broad as possible), and Related Information (experiences that relate to conservation, like condition surveys, archaeological digs, curated exhibitions, etc.).
- When applying to a graduate program, the admissions committee will be concerned with academic ability in addition to pre-program conservation experience. Therefore consider including other experiences such as research projects in conservation or in a related field like art history or archaeology. The committee will also be looking to see if an applicant's research and career interests are a good fit for their specific program; a portfolio should demonstrate this.
- Graduate School - In graduate school, a portfolio begins to reflect ones vision for a future career. Once a student chooses a specialty, the graduate experience may be designed with future goals in mind. For example, choosing classes and internships that relate to the desired career path, and adapting a portfolio that reflects those experiences. Established conservators can offer advice on what experiences and skills they value and what they would want a prospective employee to feature in a portfolio.
- Post-graduate School- The post-graduate portfolio used during fellowship and job applications should especially reflect the full range of experience and not focus on treatment or technical studies alone. Treatment is only one small piece of what most professional conservators do on a daily basis, and technical research is an even smaller component. Preventive conservation knowledge is very important, as is the ability to assess condition, prioritize work, and manage projects. The same is true for communication skills and working with students and volunteers. Experience with outreach and education activities is also good. The fellowship or job descriptions will reveal ways to use a portfolio to highlight the skills and experience that the employer seeks.
During the Interview
When presenting a portfolio in an interview, pre-select the projects to discuss and practice discussing the work. If it will be reviewed in advance of the interview, indicate the projects reviewers should first examine. The portfolio should be well-organized, with a table of contents and tabs that will make different sections easy to find. Consider including short project summaries to give readers a quick overview of each experience. Too much information can be overwhelming, so think about removing projects that are not relevant and do not contribute to the overall message (such as how experiences fit the particular job). Many prospective employers will expect a presentation in addition to or in place of the portfolio, so spend some time thinking about how to translate the experience captured in a portfolio into an engaging talk.
Although portfolios can be effective illustrations of ability, focus on portfolio should not lead to the neglect of other application components. An interview and portfolio review is usually the very last step in a selection process. Without a well-crafted curriculum vitae and cover letter or personal statement, no one is ever likely to see the portfolio.
Digital Portfolios More schools and institutions are allowing or requiring digital portfolios, but some do not. When the time comes to prepare for your interview, check which version the school prefers to review. There are many platforms to choose from when building an online portfolio or website. Consult with other conservators who have an online presence for tips and advice. ECPN is currently working on providing more resources for online portfolios, in addition to the following poster: ECPN Poster: The Digital Portfolio in the Conservation Field
Presenting Talks and Posters
- Recording of ECPN Webinar Presenting Talks and Posters with Katie Sanderson and Ariel O'Connor; March 11, 2015.
In this Webinar, Katie Sanderson (Assistant Conservator of Photographs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art) advises on how to draft an abstract, a presentation, or poster, and tips for public speaking. Ariel O’Connor (Objects Conservator at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum) then shares her tricks for creating visually engaging and effective PowerPoints. Their presentations are summarized below.
Writing an Abstract Think of your abstract as a mission statement, which you can refer back to as you prepare your talk. An abstract should not be a summary of your paper, and should have a clear structure with an introduction to the question or problem; contextual information; project objectives; and a summary of results to be discussed (these may not be available at the time of writing).
Brevity is key; Sanderson recommends aiming for 300 words. Be sure to check the word limit for conference submissions and whether you will have an opportunity to edit before it is published.
Preparing Your Presentation First organize your thoughts in an outline; this can be developed into a full script later. Next, think about your audience and how to engage them: are they conservators, or the general public? If your talk is directed to fellow specialists, consider what they already know and what they may need a refresher on.
If you are including graphs or table, you will need to orient your audience to your selected format. Only include the most relevant data to support your point; this may be only a small selection of your collected data. Rather than presenting tables of numbers, which can be difficult for an audience to digest and recognize trends, consider visual ways to show your data. Sanderson recommends testing out several different ways to display data (pie chart, bar graph, line graph, etc.) before selecting a final format.
Creating an Effective PowerPoint In the second half of the Webinar, O’Connor takes participants step-by-step through several tools and tricks for making your PowerPoint presentation stand out, including: managing and formatting images, embedding videos and using video screenshots, quick ways to create diagrams, and useful toolbars in PowerPoint. This portion of the Webinar begins at the 33 minute mark.
The ECPN Handout PowerPoint Presentation Checklist, prepared by O’Connor, adapted from notes by Dan Kushel and Jiuan Jiuan Chen, adds to the checklist provided in the Webinar of what to bring to the conference venue. ECPN Handout: PowerPoint Presentation Checklist prepared by Ariel O'Connor, adapted from notes by Dan Kushel and Jiuan Jiuan Chen, SUNY Buffalo
Presenting Practice, practice, practice! Read your paper aloud numerous times until it flows naturally, adjusting the language each time to reflect how you would normally speak. Presentations shouldn't be identical to your written papers; the sing-song cadence of reading a formal written paper be distracting. Present to friends or colleagues. You may even consider recording yourself (but Sanderson warns: don’t listen to the recording in the days immediately preceding your presentation!)
Structure is key to keeping your audience engaged. Think of your talk as a story; establish a cohesive narrative that flows well, rather than sticking to a strict chronology. Sanderson also recommends avoiding repetitive structure — that is, outlining what you are going to discuss, discussing it, and then summarizing what you just discussed.
Edit yourself. You should dig deep into your research to know your topic inside and out, but not all of this work will end up in your talk. Your talk should be just the tip of the iceberg; you want to encourage questions and leave some information for discussion the Q&A. It is good to think about possible questions in advance, but keep in mind that it is acceptable to say “I don't know…” and follow up with a reference or way to find the answer.
Sanderson has a lot of great, quick tips for conveying confidence and professionalism when you present; be sure to check out the Webinar at the 24:50 mark for this.
Designing a Poster As with presentation slides, less is more — especially when it comes to text. Only the most essential information should be included in text blocks. If possible, use photographs to illustrate a point rather than text. A good poster includes nice images, a clear structure with section headings, and your contact information (you may consider including a photo of yourself).
Format the poster in a program you have worked in before, such as PowerPoint or a design software. Pay attention to formatting requirements for the conference, and be sure the size of your slide (in Powerpoint) or canvas (in Adobe) is set to the same size as your actual poster.
You may want to create a handout (e.g. a bookmark or pamphlet) with your contact information, or details from your poster people will want to take home with them.These can be held in a transparent sleeve hung below your poster if there isn’t a table at the venue.
Research and Publishing
- Recording of ECPN Webinar Demystifying the Publication Process in Conservation with Sanchita Balachandran, Michele Derrick, and Carolyn Riccardelli; November 5, 2015. The program featured three speakers who will share insights from their own publishing experiences: Curator/Conservator Sanchita Balachandran has published in a variety of venues; Research Scientist Michele Derrick served as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Institute for Conservation (JAIC); and Conservator Carolyn Riccardelli is AIC’s Director of Communications. The presenters discussed a range of topics including publishing platforms, the process of writing a peer-reviewed article, collaborative writing, and funding.
- PDFs of slides from the webinar "Demystifying the Publication Process in Conservation"
- Sanchita Balachandran's overview on publication
- Michele Derrick on the JAIC publication process
- Typical article sections in a peer-reviewed publication, such as JAIC, include: title, abstract, introduction, body, illustrations, discussion, conclusion, references, and suppliers. Many projects in the conservation field are collaborative, but it can be difficult to decide which contributors are considered authors (and in what order), and which should be listed in acknowledgements. In her May 2000 AIC News article "What Constitutes Authorship" , Judith Bischoff discusses authorship guidelines within AIC and allied fields.
- Carolyn Riccardelli on venues for publication
Connecting with Conservators
- Tips for Attending Conferences: Attending conferences, meetings, and symposia are important ways for conservators at any stage of their careers to stay current on issues facing the field, learn about new research, and connect with colleagues. Attending conferences, however, can be daunting. Below are some tips assembled by ECPN to help emerging professionals maximize their conference experience.
- Before You Go
- Familiarize yourself with the program: Read through the program list and highlight the events you are interested in attending. Some events may be scheduled at the same time as others. Take some time to create a schedule for yourself and decide which events you would like to attend and which presenters you would like to listen to or meet.
- Update your resume or C.V.: Make sure your resume or C.V. are updated with all of your current activities. Have a few copies with you in case you meet a potential employer and want to pass it out.
- Update your social media accounts: In addition to your resume and C.V., make sure your social media accounts are also updated with your current information. This includes a LinkedIn profile and a Twitter or Facebook account. If you are passing out business cards, people may go on to check out your LinkedIn profile while you’re at the conference and you want it to be up to date! Your Twitter and Facebook accounts will also be helpful in keeping up with conference information. If you have a Twitter or Facebook account, tweet or post if you’re meeting up with a group from the conference for lunch or coffee. Maybe others can join you and you can meet expand your network that way.
- Bring business cards: If you have business cards, be sure to bring them with you and distribute them as much as you can. You will also be receiving a lot of business cards. Make sure you keep them all in a safe place that you will remember once you are home. Don’t have business cards printed out? Make a digital business card! Simply fill out the information that you want on your business card and download the QR code to your phone (or print it out on a slip of paper). When you meet someone else with a smartphone, they can scan your QR code and automatically save your information to their phone. This ensures that they won’t lose your contact information and saves you the time and money of printing business cards.
- During the Conference
- Network with people: Though this may go without saying, meetings and conferences are great places to meet new people. Instead of staying with the same group of people you know, network and make new contacts. Take the opportunity to ask others what they think about the conference, what they are hoping to learn there, and why they decided to attend this year. When receiving a business card , jot down some keywords about the person on the back of their card. Once you get home and are looking through the stack of business cards you have collected, you will remember exactly who they are and how you met them.
- Take notes: Be sure to take notes during the sessions. Conferences pass quickly and are packed with new information. It can be easy to forget the details.
- Volunteer: Talks and poster presentation are not the only ways to participate in a conference. During the AIC Annual Meeting, bloggers are always needed to summarize talks for those unable to attend. Similarly, some specialty groups and networks host discussion panels and seek volunteers to take notes on these sessions. These can be a great ways to engage more deeply with a presentation and connect with a speakers and program organizers.
- Ask questions: The conference is a great opportunity to talk to other conservators and learn more about various aspects of the field. Asking questions during or after a talk is a great way to learn more about a topic and network with the presenter.
- Attend workshops and special activities: Often workshops and special activities (e.g. Angel's Projects) are organized immediately preceding or following a conference. The number of attendees is usually smaller and the environment more interactive than a general session, making it easier to connect with other participants.
- Other Aspects of Conference Attendance
- Attire: The conference attire is business casual, including the evening events. Our friends at the Emerging Museum Professionals had a great post about how to dress for conferences – check it out! Also, dress in layers and always have a sweater handy for overly air-conditioned hotel meeting rooms.
- First time attending a conference?: If you’re nervous about meeting new people at such a large event, check out Lisa Petrelli’s Introvert’s Guide to Attending a Conference.
- ECPN Handout Tips for Attending the AIC Annual Meeting
Outreach and Advocacy
- Download current ECPN flier to share at your regional events!
- ECPN Poster Creative Endeavors and Expressive Ideas: Emerging Conservators Engaging through Outreach and Public Scholarship: Outreach and Public Scholarship Poster
- Recording of ECPN Webinar Get Involved! Education, Outreach, and Advocacy with Theresa Myers, Richard McCoy, and Sarah Barack; April 23, 2014
In this webinar, panelists share their personal experiences reaching out to various audiences to advocate for the field of art conservation.
Ruth Seyler, AIC’s Membership and Meetings Director, begins the webinar with an overview of AIC’s outreach and advocacy initiatives and ways in which members can get involved. AIC provides support and coordination for member’s outreach activities including various brochures, a customizable PowerPoint presentation, and grants.
Theresa Myers, a conservator with a private practice in Maine, recounts her rewarding experience participating in the American Alliance of Museums’ (AAM) Museums Advocacy Day, a two-day event in which advocates participate in issue briefings followed by meetings on Capitol Hill.
Conservation and Preservation Consultant Richard McCoy discusses the importance of community engagement and shares the online resources he has developed. Projects such as the Public Art Archive, Conservation Reel, WikiProject Public Art, and WikiProject Collection Care aim to improve public awareness and stewardship of works of art and encourage community involvement.
Sarah Barack, Conservator and Adjunct Faculty Member at the Conservation Center, Institute of Fine Art, NYU, describes her activities as the co-chair of AIC’s K-12 Outreach Working Group. She offers valuable advice for reaching students and teachers locally as well as through national organizations.
- Allied Fields and Professional Organizations
- Social Media
The internet is a useful public interface to connect to the wider networks, advocate for the field, and promote your own interests and projects. With the wide variety of platforms that are available, there are many tools to help make your content accessible. If you’re just getting started, take a look at this blog post on web-based media platforms.
By participating with these platforms, it can open conversations with people who may be interested in the field, your work, or even who you would be interested to make professional connections to. In contributing to an online professional presence, it tells the story of the conservation field and our engagement to the wider world.
ECPN Interview Series: Creative Endeavors and Expressive Ideas: Emerging Conservators Engaging through Outreach and Public Scholarship
For thoughts about blogging:
- Picture/video-sharing: Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr…
- Video: YouTube, Vine…
- Formal and informal networks: LinkdIn, Facebook, Google+...
In any platform, please make sure to consider the copyrights and permissions for material you would like to post.
Getting out on Your Own
- Recording of ECPN Webinar Beyond the Portfolio: Your Conservation Career with Suzanne Davis; October 16, 2014. Conservator Suzanne Davis offered advice on applying for fellowships and jobs, developing your career after graduate school, and negotiating salary.
- Recording of Q&A from ECPN Webinar Considering Your Future Career Path: Working in Private Practice with Paul Messier, Rosa Lowinger, and Julia Brennan; November 30, 2012
Starting a private practice can be daunting, but there are steps you can take to approach the endeavor with less anxiety and more appreciation for the rewards of working in the private sector. The following information regarding business structures and setting up shop is drawn from a presentation given by objects conservator Lara Kaplan during a Starting a Private Practice Seminar held at WUDPAC Spring 2016. Additional resources can be found in Practices for Conservators wiki page, up a Conservation Lab wiki page, and the Conservators in Private Practice (CIPP) specialty group homepage.
Begin your adventure by drawing up a business plan. This will help you organize your major goals and business decisions about your practice. You will also want to assemble a team of professional advisors including an accountant, attorney, and insurance representative to help you set up your small business and begin a relationship for future consultation.
Consider various business structures for tax and legal purposes. Three of the most popular business structures for conservators are sole proprietorships, limited liability companies (LLC), and corporations (Inc.). It’s important to note that these are controlled by state law and you may wish to consult with your lawyer or accountant about these options.
- Sole proprietorship is the simplest and least expensive option (the default option if you are self-employed and have not selected another structure). This could be a good starting place and you can always upgrade to another structure in the future as your business progresses. The one disadvantage to sole proprietorships, is they do not offer any liability protection, and your personal assets may be at risk in case of debt recovery or lawsuit. This may be less of an issue when you’re just starting out and have few assets, and though lawsuits do occur, they are not very common, and there are other steps you can take to make them less likely to happen.
- A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a hybrid of sole proprietorship and corporation. This structure requires submission of articles of organization and a filing fee (specific paperwork and yearly maintenance fees vary according to state). The IRS does not recognize a LLC as a taxable entity so you must specify whether to federally tax your practice as a sole proprietorship (default) or as a corporation (requires additional paperwork). Filing the LLC as a sole proprietor means that the business is separate from the owner but is federally taxed as though it is not. LLCs do offer liability protection, and so can keep your personal assets safe from litigation, but this should not be seen as a substitution for proper insurance coverage.
- Corporation (Inc.) is the most complex structure and can take the forms of a C or S corporation (S corporations are more common among conservators). These structures require additional incorporation paperwork, filling fee, and other actions include electing a board of directors, shareholder meetings, and keeping corporate minutes. Taxes also become more convoluted and will be difficult to do without an accountant. Corporation offers limited liability, but it is no more than you would get with an LLC. As a conservator just starting a private practice this may not be the most straightforward option.
- Choosing a work space is another important decision. Options can include:
- Home studio: often cost-saving and convenient, but spaces are often not ideal and you may run into difficulties separating your personal life from work
- Rented studio: will cost a bit more, but may offer more space, a more professional setting, and a will get you out of your house
- Studio sharing: dividing up a rented space with other conservators will help to decrease the cost and provide you with colleague interaction
When gathering supplies for your new practice, especially on a budget, be sure to pace yourself, but be prepared. Focus on getting materials that are absolutely necessary and consider keeping pricier or more specialized items on a wishlist or purchase them on an as-needed basis. As tempting as it may be, you do not need to have a fully stocked studio before beginning your first treatment. Be sure to have proper personal protective equipment and know how to properly dispose of chemical waste in your location. For further reading, see the article by the Sustainability Committee in the March 2013 AIC News vol. 38 no. 2.
- Emerging private practice conservators may find supplies and equipment at discounted prices through several ways:
- Find generic or lower grade versions of certain supplies like solvents, UV lights, vacuums, and microscopes
- Repurpose tools or supplies around your house
- Purchase items that come in large quantities or have high shipping costs with other conservators
- Look for student, alumni or educator (if you decide to teach a class) discounts or access to research databases. Sometimes just taking a single class can qualify you as a student.
- Inquire companies for freebies. Sometimes sample sizes last quite a while.
- Conference Attendance and Participation
Attending conferences as an emerging conservator or pre-program student considering entering the field is a great way to learn more about conservation and ongoing topics of research. Conferences provide important opportunities for networking and sharing new information. There are many resources to support conference attendance, particularly for current students, though there are many options for professionals entering the field after graduate school. These resources can be divided up by eligibility requirements, and will be partially outlined below. Check the AIC links below for the most up-to-date information.
AIC maintains two pages that show funding opportunities, the first lists FAIC's grants and the second lists alternate sources of funding. Since FAIC funds are limited, conservators should consider seeking funding from outside organizations with specific links to your work whenever possible.
Carolyn Horton Scholarships: established to support continuing education for book/paper conservators who are members of the AIC Book and Paper specialty group.
Christa Gaehde Scholarships are for continuing education in paper conservation and can be used to support conference attendance or other projects.
For all specialty groups:
Tru Vue-FAIC scholarships help members of AIC (any speciality) attend international professional development events, such as workshops, conferences, and symposia.
FAIC/Samuel H. Kress Foundation International Travel Grant for Speakers supports international conservators attending the AIC annual meeting.
FAIC/Tru Vue AIC Annual Meeting International Scholarships help individuals from outside North America (United States & Canada) to defray costs for attending the AIC Annual Meeting.
The FAIC George Stout Grant supports students those who have graduated in the past two years who are members of AIC to attend professional meetings.
- FAIC Workshops
FAIC has several specific grants to promote attendance at FAIC Workshops. See the FAIC scholarships and grants page above for details.
- Projects and Research
Debbie Hess Norris provides many tips for how to find collaborators and support for research in her webinar for ECPN in 2012. Recording of ECPN Webinar Self Advocacy and Fundraising for Independent Research with Debra Hess Norris; July 26, 2012
Of note, there is a special grant from FAIC to encourage small, innovative research projects: the "Take a Chance” grant in honor of Carolyn Rose.
- Tips for Applying
Most of the FAIC applications require a statement of purpose and recommendations from supervisors who can speak to the value of the project or meeting for the participant. In your statement of purpose, be sure to be clear about the specifics of what you hope to learn at the meeting, why the meeting is important to your career development and education, and how you will use and/or disseminate what you learn. The applications are very straightforward and the application deadlines are posted well in advance. If recommendations are required, ask your supervisors or professors early for a recommendation. In your initial email, be sure to note the application deadline and offer to send your other application materials (project description, C.V. , personal statement) along for their review. Make sure you have a back-up plan in case one of the people you ask is unable to write for you, and make sure to give them plenty of time. As always, be sure to thank them for taking the time to write on your behalf.
- Alternate sources of Funding:
Suggestions from FAIC are found here. If you are submitting a paper or poster to a conference, ask the organizers whether there is any support available for presenters (there is sometimes support especially geared to help students attend).
- Archaeological fieldwork and work abroad
This can be a particularly tricky area for finding funding but there are some resources available to support conservation on digs. Some resources to consider: American School of Oriental Research grants
Etruscan Society fellowships for work on Etruscan sites.