The American Institute of Conservation’s 49th Annual conference AIC & FAIC Learning 2021 Conference Home
2020 was a challenging year for cultural heritage conservation. Many of us were shut out of our workplaces by a global pandemic that exposed the financial vulnerability of our cultural institutions. At the same time, we witnessed tragic examples of the systemic racism endemic in 21st-century life — inequities perpetuated by our own professional practices and within our own organizations. In the coming years, not only will we be forced to do more with less, but we are also morally obligated to address our biases and examine how identity and privilege sway our professional decision-making and interactions. Racism has shaped our discipline from its beginning, and we cannot shirk the work required to address it. Our commitment to practical and moral change must be manifest in the work we choose to do, in our research, and in our teaching. It is time to transform cultural heritage conservation.
With specialized knowledge that gives us a unique perspective on cultural heritage, we have the skills, abilities, and tools to explore alternatives to what was the norm in 2020 and develop a more engaged, critical, and just discipline. We can push ourselves and our colleagues toward more challenging work. These efforts will also allow our field to confront other critical issues more effectively, such as climate change, sustainability, and developing and implementing treatments and preservation practices that do more with less.
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