Conference 2012 (Brighton)

Conference 2012 (Brighton) Progression, Innovation and NewLandscapes.

Delegates Feedback - The best thing about the conference?

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  • Papers (varied, inspiring, relevant chance to learn and reflect)

  • Networking (lots of comments about friendliness and atmosphere)

  • Sharing experiences

  • All excellent

  • Meeting new colleagues

  • Variety

  • Hotel

  • Organisation

  • Dinner

                        

Brighton 2012: Ilona Miller gives a conservator's point of view.

Brighton - the bustling city with its tranquil areas and breathtaking sea views - was literally a new landscape to me when I went there to attend the ARA Annual Conference. I felt so excited, happy and most of all grateful, to the ARA whose generosity in providing a bursary for overseas members allowed me to take part in this professional meeting. Thus it happened: step by step, to approach this new landscape with its major aspects - progression and innovation.

Three busy days from 29 to 31 August, packed with presentations prepared by high quality speakers taking into account a wide range of problems, providing a lot of ideas and thoughts. The Grand Hotel interiors completed the splendour of this important meeting.

The opportunity to meet in a circle of enthusiastic professionals is always very fruitful and broadens minds. Sometimes it gives the necessary reassurance that ways of dealing with problems are correct; sometimes it casts entirely new light upon the daily routine and helps to cope with unsolved tasks. Most of all the conference gives an irreplaceable chance to talk face to face, exchange views and experiences and simply chat informally about anything, thus building and strengthening bonds: and so it happened during the ARA conference this year.

As a conservator I could compare diff erent methods of hands-on treatments with those we apply to objects and see many similarities, as well as differences, which was very constructive.

I was glad to hear a lot about long term preservation including environmental conditions of collection storage and digitisation which is my special interest. The problem of proper conditions was given a wide scientifi c, theoretical and practical approach reminding me how important and complex it is; especially thatthe diversity and fragility of stored traditional archive and library materials has recently been extended by even more diverse and fragile audio formats. My awareness of the need for special storage was refreshed and a very useful synthesis of the materials was given. Modern technologies give the possibility to prolong the life of the historical objects but on the other hand the number of materials to take care of has increased and become a separate problem for conservators. Another aspect of digitisation taken up at the conference was risk assessment before the process and a presentation showed that appropriate management of any project always guarantees the utmost care for the objects involved.

I was also impressed by how important a role in huge conservation undertakings volunteers play, thanks to the thorough training and encouragement they receive from professionals. This is not very common in Poland but seems very helpful, although not easy to carry out.

It was priceless to hear the latest news from the Leather Conservation Centre in Northampton about a new formula the Centre is about to prepare. This could solve the problem of acidifi ed leathers we come across in many collections. It will efficiently prolong the life of leather artefacts that are condemned to degradation.

The presentations at the conference were complemented by the information marketplace with the possibilities to see progression and innovations gathered in one spacious interior of the Grand Hotel. Once again it was possible to notice how contemporary conservation and preservation is strictly and inseparably related to modern technologies.

For me it was an unforgettable, fascinating and informative time. The new landscapes I visited provided a lot for ideas of progression and innovation in the fi eld of conservation, and let me experience the hospitality and kindness of the people I met there. I cannot find enough proper words to express my gratitude to all thatenabled me to be there.

Ilona Miller
Preservation and Restoration Department, Nicolaus Copernicus
University Library, Toruń, Poland