President’s Newsletter - Spring 2023
Accreditation audits have been implemented for the CAPC, as part of a recommendation initially promoted in the 1998 discussion paper submitted by the CAC ad hoc Committee on Accreditation. Furthermore, accountability is as an important goal for our association to meet: we want our professionally-accredited conservators to live up to the Code of Ethics and deliver the best conservation treatments possible. We want our colleagues to admire us, and our clients to trust us.
Our last accreditation audit was done in 2006. Since then, the CAPC has accredited 44 new members. However, due to retirements over the same period, our overall accredited numbers remain slightly lower than in 2006.
Accreditation audits are typically done very 5 to 10 years, or with every increase of 10 new members. Having said the above, an accreditation audit is way overdue. Heidi Sobol former CAPC President graciously agreed to oversee this task. The board agreed that Spiegel & Associates carry out this audit. It will likely start in the early months of this summer. As an aside, the above company did the last audit in 2006, which was organized by Janice Passafiume and Anne Maheux.
The termination of the position of the Director of Conservation and Technical Research at the National Gallery of Canada sparked much debate amongst CAPC and CAC members. In order to highlight the importance of conservation in preserving our nation’s collections, a joint CAPC - CAC letter was sent to the Minister of Heritage and the board of directors of the National Gallery of Canada. As a result of this CAPC-CAC initiative, we received an invitation to participate in a virtual roundtable discussion on the renewal of Canada’s Museum Policy.
Jessica Lafrance-Hwang, Accreditation Director attended the meeting as the CAPC representative. In the meeting, both CAPC and CAC expressed similar expectations for the widening of access to funding to include supporting preservation activities. Specifically, CAPC advocated for the following changes to the present museum policy: that the age restriction for YCW should be increased (currently anyone over 30 is not eligible), and that training programs within the museum sector should accommodate greater diversity (greater availability of internships, fellowships, and access to distance learning).
1. Emerging Conservator Grant is awarded to Emma Griffiths to attend a course at West Dean College in the Conservation of Transport and Industrial Collections.
2. Programming Grant Winner is awarded to Tiffany Eng Moore for developing online workshops related to bookbinding (historic structures) and book conservation.
3. Award of Distinction is awarded to Miriam Clavir. Miriam was nominated by Diana Komejan and Fiona Graham. More about her career and achievements will be posted on our website in the coming months.
Board Members Activities
Bethany Jo Mikelait, secretary, continues preparing monthly minutes and agendas along with advocating for CAPC. To that end, she presented the accreditation process at Queen’s, the ROM and the AGO over the winter months, and will present at NGC shortly. She is not alone in these outreach efforts. Jacqueline Riddle, CAPC Liaison Director, presented at Fleming College in the fall and Jessica Lafrance-Hwang, Accreditation Director is preparing a series of webinars to help conservators prepare their accreditation portfolios. All of the board members, actively involved in outreach, are hopeful that their efforts will translate into membership growth.
Stephanie Porto, Vice-President continues her duties of following up on members’ CPDs and mentorship applications. She has also offered to create templates to define board duties for each executive position. It is hoped that templates in a future Transition Manual will outline board members’ tasks more clearly for incoming board members.
Jane Dosman is thanked for her work as treasurer. She keeps our accounts well organized and offers her opinions on financial matters and other topics of discussion during board meetings.
A Compensation Survey Working Group (CAC - CAPC collaboration, Jacqueline Riddle responsible for organizing CAPC input in this survey) contracted the survey preparation to Bramm Research in December 2022. This type of survey has never been done for conservators working in Canada. We expect that the survey will provide information on the state of the profession in Canada regarding the wages conservators make in different regions of the country taking into account a number of factors such as the type of training, years of experience, job description, etc. We hope that the survey will provide wage transparency for conservators and their employers in determining fair compensation rates. We expect that the survey will be ready by early summer.
The Digitization Project is a Special Projects Initiative under the care of Marie-Lou Beauchamp with the much appreciated input of Greg Hill. A scanner and hard drive were purchased to store the scanned information. Marie-Lou and Greg have started by scanning the founding documents. There are no plans to scan any confidential documents such as those related to CAPC applications. The hope is to have the public information accessible for members.
As far as our financial position goes, it is not on solid footing. In 2022, our expenses were higher than our revenues, which can be explained in part, by rising costs, and in part by our outreach initiatives. If our membership numbers were to grow substantially, our annual fees of membership could remain the same. However, that is not a workable solution in the long run. Most costs rise with time, and the CAPC has been reluctant to increase annual membership fees regularly. The board was unanimous in its decision that the members consider and accept a fee rise of $25 for 2024: from $100 to $125 for regular membership renewal, and from $125 to $150 for members who fail to pay by February 28th of next year. We will be presenting this at our upcoming AGM on May 5th 2023.
Outgoing Board Members
I want to extend my thanks to the outgoing board member Marie-Lou Beauchamp for her work coordinating and proposing Special Projects. Over the last year, she helped coordinate the interview of last year’s Award of Distinction winner (Barbara Ramsay) prepared and given by last year’s Emerging Conservator Grant recipient (Melissa Allen). She also organized changing the CAPC’s website search engine to search for accreditation speciality and location instead of keywords and location. Keywords remain searchable as well. She was also involved in the Digitization Project as mentioned above as well as other initiatives. She also provided a useful Evaluation Grid for evaluating grant applications’ merits. It has helped to make the evaluation task less subjective. She is also thanked for her translation work when time is of the essence.
Although Heidi Sobol was not a board member per se, she sat on the board as Past President of the CAPC. Having a Past President on the board was useful for information transfer from one President to another, but also because she took on some tasks that no one else could. We all thank Heidi for her assistance over the last year.
To those members who feel that the CAPC doesn’t offer them enough, I would welcome your input as to how we can make this a more relevant organization. Organizations operated by volunteers never have enough volunteers or time to do all that is required to make an organization meaningful to all of its members. So, please feel free to make suggestions as to how we can improve our association.
Thanks to the Unnamed Volunteers
If you have helped out in the CAPC’s work and are not mentioned above, I am very sorry. I thank you for your work! To that end, I do know that Vincent Dion has helped out with translating documents from English to French. Thanks are extended once again to Vincent.
April 26, 2023