Conference IADA event Online

SHOW IT AND SAVE IT – before, during and after Covid 19: Exploring the Compromises between Exhibition and Preservation

14th February 2022 — 18th February 2022

The International Association of Book and Paper Conservators (IADA) welcomes abstracts for the 2022 Symposium, to be held online in February 2022.

The topic of the next IADA symposium was chosen shortly before the start of the pandemic and this call for papers was first written when there was still hope for a quick return to normal. Since then, the situation in every country has constantly changed and there is still a lot of uncertainty for the near future. The topic of the symposium was therefore updated by making it more actual and addressing the challenges of exhibition and preservation not only in a regular context, before the pandemic, but also during and after Covid-19. 

In this context, the IADA symposium will explore the challenges related to exhibiting art on paper, archive and library materials, bound and unbound, manuscripts or printed, parchment, leather and paper-based materials including photographs, and other traditional and nontraditional objects. Two of the fundamental missions of cultural heritage institutions are the preservation of collections and the exhibition of objects for the purposes of education, research and enjoyment. Displaying collections to the public is an essential part of enhancing global understanding and initiating critical dialogues about the past and future, as well as addressing present-day conflicts. 

The inherent dilemma is that the display of any object increases the risk of deterioration and damage. Every exhibition requires compromise, as well as thoughtful discussion about the challenges of planning and collection care. Since the beginning of the pandemic and the associated restrictions in heritage institutions, virtual exhibitions have become the new normal. We would like to hear if new ways and methods were developed, innovative apps, displays and virtual tours were created and what challenges came with that. 

By bringing together actors from across the cultural sector—including conservators, collection managers, registrars, curators, installers, scientists, and artists—this symposium will initiate discussions around the related challenges and compromises, and hopefully lead to a series of best practices. 

List of Topics

IADA welcomes proposals that cover the following or similar topics:

  • Temporary, long-term or virtual exhibitions: different issues, same solutions?
  • Private or institutional conservators: how much of the workload is dedicated to exhibitions, and how has this affected conservation practices? 
  • In recent years, has there been a shift in the conservation profession towards more exhibition-led projects and missions? Has the style of exhibition or new audiences changed the way that conservation is practised or perceived?
  • Exchanges between professions: how do different professions communicate? What is the role and influence of the conservator in the decision to display artefacts?
  • Exhibitions in the time of Covid-19: how the pandemic and its associated restrictions have influenced the display and loans, and impacted their preservation in this context?
  • Loans: transport, condition reporting, environmental conditions, installation and display: who is doing what, and is it really an interdisciplinary collaboration?
  • Loans during Covid-19: Objects and couriers lost in transit? Did they travel back or stay, and what measures were taken to ensure the safety of both?
  • How do inclusion and accessibility affect the display and preservation of objects?
  • Concerns about sustainability and environment: are materials and display equipment recycled or responsibly sourced? Are they environmentally friendly? Are materials reused from one event to another? 
  • Research, scientific experimentation and analyses on new materials and equipment: results, innovations and solutions for display, and new conservation issues related to exhibitions.

IADA also invites presentations on recent research, ongoing projects and ideas for the future. IADA also invites ideas for workshops, debates or interactive events. 

Presenters are typically given 15 minutes with additional time for questions. Please note that the conference will be held in English only.

Presenters are encouraged to publish their paper in a future issue of the Journal of Paper Conservation