Category:Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility

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Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Accessibility[edit | edit source]

The Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Accessibility wiki pages are created and monitored by the members of the Equity & Inclusion Committee of the American Institute for Conservation.

The committee is actively working to upload useful content for the conservation community.

About the Committee[edit | edit source]

The Equity & Inclusion Committee (EIC) was created to formalize our commitment to the issues of equity and inclusion within the AIC and the field of conservation at large. It pursues strategic avenues that support AIC’s Core Value of Equity and Inclusion and improve equity and inclusion in our membership and programs.

Before the committee was formed, the AIC Board created the Equity & Inclusion Working Group (EIWG). In 2017, the EIWG published the report Recommendations for Advancing Equity and Inclusion in the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. The recommendations consisted of targets meant to increase racial and cultural diversity within the conservation profession, metrics for improvement, and opportunities for change. Upon closer scrutiny, however, it is clear that many of the Report’s goals, in fact, rely upon non-existent relationships within the organization or are beyond the jurisdiction of the EIC.

In response to this, the EIC created a Strategic Plan for 2020-2025, published in May 2020. To guide the work of the committee, we have developed a strategic plan that focuses on actionable items that we hope to achieve over the next five years. The goals of this plan are to lay out partnerships within AIC, and then objectively examine the structural and systemic barriers to their implementation. The EIC Strategic Plan also serves to outline broad areas of need, which will help to define and prioritize action items for the Committee. By and large, our efforts will focus on changing the AIC culture and building a strong foundation that will ensure that future diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) efforts are not only successful, but also sustainable.

The goals of the strategic plan fall into four main areas:

  • Foster an inclusive and welcoming organizational culture
  • Increase DEIA training and resources for AIC members
  • Improve sustainability of DEIA funding sources
  • Integrate DEIA into all AIC programs

Read the full Strategic Plan here.

The Committee would like to sincerely thank AIC and the Winterthur University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation for making an in-person, facilitated retreat possible for the committee.

Current Initiatives and Upcoming Events

  • AIC Accessibility Survey of Continuing Education in the Field of Cultural Heritage Conservation- recently closed with results forthcoming
  • Social Justice and Conservation Series Final workshop will be held on March 11, 2021.
Watch the recordings.
  • 2021 Annual Meeting events
  • Affinity Groups


EIC is committed to transparency and keeping AIC members updated on our work. Find out more:

  • Read our regular update in the Association News Section of AIC News
  • Register for our regular Open Meeting. The most recent one was held on January 13th, 2021 at 4:00-5:30 EST

Questions and Concerns

Getting Started[edit | edit source]

The following information and resources provide general information about diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) in cultural heritage. This is not meant to be comprehensive, but rather a short introduction that will hopefully lead you down your own path of education and exploration.

The most basic terms to know :

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Accessibility means that everyone has an ability to access (i.e., use, obtain, examine, engage, or retrieve) services, products, and events, with or without a disability. The emphasis is placed on proactive designs rather than reactive “fixes.”
Alistair Duggin explain the basics of accessibility issues in a series of blog posts.
The definitions for diversity, equity, and inclusion come from the Final Report of the American Library Association Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
The definition for accessibility is provided with thanks to Hilary Kaplan for her input.

For more definitions, check out our glossary of terms to better understand the language around DEIA.

Familiarize yourself with the issues[edit | edit source]

For actual inclusion, it is important to create a sense of belonging. Instead of focusing on whether a new hire will fit into the culture, this is about creating a culture where everyone feels like they belong and can be their authentic self.

When confronting and looking for solutions in DEIA work, it becomes clear that we need to look at both individuals and systems. The major systems in the US are dominated by white people, including the field of conservation. Dr. Robin DiAngelo is a sociologist who studies whiteness, and her work is one place to start when trying to understand these issues.

  • New Yorker article - the main concepts of DiAngelo’s book, White Fragility, are outlined and relayed.
  • In this article, DiAngelo unpacks systemic racism and white discomfort around issues of race.

Intersectionality refers to the complex, cumulative way in which multiple forms of discrimination combine, overlap, or intersect. This term was coined by Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw, and she explains this concept in her TED talk, The Urgency of Intersectionality.

Accessibility means that everyone has an ability to access (i.e., use, obtain, examine, engage, or retrieve) services, products, and events, with or without a disability. The emphasis is placed on proactive designs rather than reactive “fixes.” (Definition provided with thanks to Hilary Kaplan for her input.)

Alistair Duggin’s series of blog posts explain the basics of accessibility issues.

If you’d like to learn more, this reading list from Art Equity covers a variety of topics.

Be aware of your language[edit | edit source]

The language we use to talk to and about others is crucial to our interactions.

Studies on DEIA in the cultural heritage sector[edit | edit source]

Books and Scholarly Papers[edit | edit source]

  • Mary Caldera and Kathryn M. Neal (eds). Through the Archival Looking Glass: A Reader on Diversity and Inclusion. Chicago, IL: Society of American Archivists. 2014.
  • Johnnetta Betch Cole and Laura Lott (eds). Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion in Museums. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers / American Alliance Of Museums. 2019.
  • Liam Sweeney, Roger C. Schonfeld, Interrogating Institutional Practices in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: Lessons and Recommendations from Case Studies in Eight Art Museums. 2018:
  • Suzanne L. Davis (2019) Understanding and improving gender equity in conservation, Journal of the American Institute for Conservation, 58:4, 202-216, DOI:

Resources from allied organizations[edit | edit source]

compiled by: The Society of Black Archaeologists, The Theoretical Archaeology Group (North America), and The Columbia Center for Archaeology
  • Museum As Site For Social Action is working to align museum practice with more equitable and inclusive values. They provide tools to gauge the readiness of an institution to do more equity work as well as a toolkit on how to move forward.
  • Guidance for Practice on Colonial Statues and Memorial Sites written by the members of the (Re)conciliation Working Group of the Canadian Association for the Conservation of Cultural Property/Groupe de travail sur la (re)conciliation de l'Association canadienne pour la conservation et la restauration des biens culturels provides some guidance to conservators and other cultural heritage professionals who may be asked to intervene on objects and in situations that are related to recent events.

Building Skills for Individuals[edit | edit source]

As individuals, there are a number of steps we can take to make change and build a more inclusive and equitable field and world. This includes understanding implicit bias and microaggressions and learning to interrupt and address them in ourselves and others.

included in this section are the following topics:

  • Understanding implicit bias and microaggressions
  • Advocating for change
    • Racial Justice Resources
  • Bystander Interventions

Learn more about building your skills.

Compensation and Hiring[edit | edit source]

Examining and reimagining our pay and hiring practices is one way to address inequity and increase diversity in our field. In order to lift up our profession, we must address low or no pay and broaden our scope when looking for new staff. The following guidelines are a place to start.

Learn more about Compensation and Hiring

Accessibility Issues in Conservation[edit | edit source]

The EIC is working to better understand the barriers to entry to the field as well as difficulties experienced by members of the AIC community.

Accessibility means that everyone has an ability to access (i.e., use, obtain, examine, engage, or retrieve) services, products, and events, with or without a disability. The emphasis is placed on proactive designs rather than reactive “fixes.” (Definition provided with thanks to Hilary Kaplan for her input.)

Alistair Duggin's series of blog posts explain the basics of accessibility issues.

Learn more about accessibility issues and how to make your presentations, events, and lab more accessible.

Land Acknowledgements[edit | edit source]

What is a land acknowledgement?

A land acknowledgement is a statement meant to respectfully recognize the original Indigenous people who inhabited and cared for a specific area before colonization or displacement. They are often given at the start of an event or presentation. The EIC wrote more about land acknowledgements on page 11 of the AIC News.

To learn more about the land you are on, check out this Native Land map.

Read more about land acknowledgements and rationales for their use.

Pages in category "Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility"

The following 6 pages are in this category, out of 6 total.