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  1. Great to listen to your podcast. Some guidance on working with human remains advise against giving names to remains. Yet it seems that we all want to do just that as a coping strategy. did you ever consider it potentially disrespectful to give HR a ‘false ‘ name?

  2. Jenny

    Hi Jane! Absolutely, and it does carry some problems with it: I am not using their proper name and that’s the unfortunate truth. At the same time curatorial neglect and looting are sometimes the reasons we don’t know their original names and there is no way around that. Namelessness is clinical but it’s a natural human way of actually conveying respect to give something a name — even if it is just a nickname. I’d encourage people to use kind and thoughtful names (which Bob may not be!) if no name is known, but only if this is helpful as a way of connecting with the dead person to them personally. Respect is not a set concept and is always fluid and personal: do what is right for you and what you think is right for them. That’s all anyone can do.

  3. Hello from sunny California!

    First, some context to go with your demographic analysis: My wife and I operate an independent practice in San Jose, CA. This is her third career. She has an undergrad degree in graphic design, was trained for paintings conservation in Florence, and is highly creative with top-notch hand skills. She is, however, not white and has no learning disabilities. (I’m white with some disabilities, but I don’t really touch the artwork so it doesn’t count)

    Demographics in the US are curious. While women arppear to be dominant in practice (at least among conservators who attend the AIC conference) the “royalty” in the field tend to be predominantly male.

    Another characteristic that’s interesting is that it seems to be difficult to convince the seasoned professionals to retire or at least shift to mentoring the new graduates etc. to make room for new blood. I swear these folks are going to die with a spatula in one hand and a swab in the other…

    The institutional jobs are generally impossible to get without an advanced degree, and there aren’t many postgrad programs in the country, particularly on the west coast.

    There is a definite bias among professionals for those who came out of these programs, to the extent that periodic efforts to establish credentialing standards automatically assume that institutional education will be a requirement without any regard for experience, especially expertise in independent practice.

    At the same time, institutions are frequently turning to contract conservation instead of full-time staff. This all creates a system that makes it nearly impossible to enter the field. (Much wailing and gnashing of teeth about this on LinkedIn.) And this is also why no one is starting new postgraduate programs in the US; with a glut of stymied emerging conservators, who wants to train more?

    A side note on disabilities: I thought it was interesting that you hinted that certain disabilities might actually be beneficial to the conservation practice. Our practice is centered in Silicon Valley, where those on the less-severe end of the autism spectrum can thrive and in fact become darlings in technological fields. There is clearly a link between autism and technical hyper-proficiency.

  4. dleigh527

    Thanks for a great canter thru the practicalities of attending and organising conferences. Three additional tips for organisers are:
    1 Make sure that name badges are printed in really large type, visible across a crowded room. No need/no room for affiliation etc.; that can follow from the conversation.
    2. Allocate 20 minutes maximum to presentations, maybe include some at 10 or 15 minutes. That’s enough time to say anything important. And be even more rigorous with time-keeping.
    3. Do allow enough time for questions. There’s little more maddening than the chair saying we’ll keep questions for the end and then they don’t happen. Put question time into the programme and stick to it.

  5. Hi ladies, thank you for your podcast about gloves! I just wanted to follow up with you about the glove recycling part. I enrolled the University of Amsterdam in the KIMTECH RightCycle Program and have been working on promoting the program around the world. Through Kimberly Clark, you can only recycle KIMTECH gloves, but it is not limited to only pharma/biotech or universities- any business or conservation studio/private lab/museum etc. are also eligible. Another company, TerraCycle, also offers a recycling scheme for all types and brands of nitrile gloves, but this is currently only available in North America.
    More information about these programs and other ways to be more sustainable can be found on the SiC website: https://www.sustainabilityinconservation.com.
    I would be happy to answer any other questions you had regarding these recycling programs or anything else related to sustainability!
    Thank you again for all your engaging discussions!

    All the best,

    Caitlin Southwick
    Founder
    Sustainability in Conservation
    sustainabilityinconservation@gmail.com
    https://www.sustainabilityinconservation.com
    https://facebook.com/SiConservation

  6. RUTH DEL FRESNO-GUILLEM

    So happy that you did this on Contemporary Art Conservation! It is really great to listen all the people you have interviewed. I was at the Maastricht event with Anthi and it was a really, amazing pleasure to see that the Conservation world it’s save with such amazing smart young generations. I hope you do more on Contemporary Art in next chapters.

  7. evelynfidler

    Maybe you can explore on a future podcast the unpaid side hustles that emerging conservators and museum professionals are forced to take on to gain experience in the field. Tis would include volunteering and unpaid internships.

  8. Oh my word! WFH and also doing data cleaning (blasted photo records) and listening back through your massive archive. in your 2019 Christmas special you predicted people fighting over food, because of Brexit. well, people were sort of fighting over food, but because of the pandemic! how weird!

  9. I hope you don;t mind a critical comment, but you no longer need to coat samples to carry out scanning electron microscopy. Almost all samples can be imaged or analysed with no sample preparation at all. Provided the sample is dry and vacuum stable you should be able to put it into the microscope (assuming that it will actually fit!).
    Enjoying the podcast thanks to a link from the NHSF newlsetter.